Jennie's Master Recipe for Devil's Food Cake

makes 36 cupcakes or two 9-inch cake layers

Yes, this recipe makes a LOT of cupcakes, so it’s a good thing they store well in the freezer, tightly wrapped in saran and tucked into a ziplock bag. If you’re making cake layers, then leftovers will not be a problem! Oh, and why am calling this a “master recipe”. After my week of testing, it’s hands down the best tasting and easiest to prepare chocolate cake recipe you’ll ever need. And you’ll notice the directions are ordered differently than usual. Most cake recipes have you mix the dry ingredients and then cream the butter and sugar. I’m always looking for ways to save a few minutes, so prefer to get the creaming process started and use that time to gather the dry ingredients. Just makes more sense, don’t you think so too?

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for coating pans

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup brewed coffee

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and well combined (take a look at the pic above again).

Meanwhile whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the milk, coffee and vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

Line cupcake tins with recycled paper muffin cups or grease two 9-inch cake pans. Place parchment circle in bottom of cake tins and dust sides of pan with additional cocoa powder.

Add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture, and beat until light and fluffy. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter-egg combo, and mix on low speed until just combined, about 15 seconds (this may take longer is using a hand mixer). Pour in half the milk mixture and mix on low speed again until just combined, about another 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Scrape down bowl well, and beat on medium-high speed for 15 seconds more.

Fill cupcakes 2/3 full or evenly divide batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes and cakes for 35 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin or invert cakes, leaving parchment circle intact and let them finish cooling completely on the rack. This is also a good time to get started on the frosting.

Rich Chocolate Frosting

makes enough to frost one 2-layer cake or 36 cupcakes

Before we get to the heart of this recipe, I must thank Alice for opening my eyes to the fact that ganache can be used as a frosting once it’s cooled and thickened. Frankly, I want to kiss her because that tip was all I needed to replicate the frosting on the cupcakes at The Chocolate Room, which have prompted a few 9pm strolls to fulfill a craving.

8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl. Combine cream  and sugar in a small pot and heat until very hot, just before it reaches the boiling point. Pour over chocolate. Add corn syrup and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Let cool for another minute or two to use as a glaze —simply dip the cupcake tops in and decorate as I did with sprinkles, or let cool completely, stirring occasionally to use as a thick frosting, which is better for filling and frosting layer cakes, but is divine on cupcakes too as you can see below.