I have mentioned before that Alton Brown is my favorite Food Network personality. He always makes the recipes interesting by explaining the history and science behind the ingredients and methods. This recipe was on an episode a couple of months ago and it looked so rich and decadent. I am not a big fan of boxed devil’s food cake mixes so I was a little hesitant, but I still had to give it a try and I was not disappointed!
The cake is rich and moist and the frosting is just light enough that it balances out the cake perfectly. I do have one little note about this recipe. Mr. Brown’s calls for Dutch processed cocoa which I did not have and couldn’t find in my local grocery stores so I substituted normal baking cocoa. Since the pH is very different between the two, I added about 1/2 tsp of baking powder to even it out a little. I have since ordered Dutch processed from Penzey’s Spices so I will be trying this again to see if it makes a difference. Also, please remember that Mr. Brown does his measurements by weight, not volume, so break out that kitchen scale. These are pretty long recipes, so I am going to list the complete recipes and then add the photos at the bottom.
For the Cake:
1 cup boiling water
4 ounces Dutch process cocoa
10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 ounces sour cream, room temperature
2 large whole eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch metal pan with nonstick spray.
Whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whisk the oil, sour
cream, eggs, and egg yolks in a large pourable vessel. Add the oil mixture to the cocoa and water mixture and slowly whisk to combine.
With the mixer on low speed, add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture over 30 seconds. Continue to beat on low speed for another 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on low speed until the batter is smooth, 10 to 15 seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when pressed and reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 1 hour and then frost.
For the frosting:
5 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce mayonnaise
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
8 ounces powdered sugar
Pinch kosher salt
Beat the butter and mayonnaise in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly add the melted chocolate. Continue mixing on low speed until all of the chocolate is incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Turn off the mixer and add one-third of the sugar. Mix on low to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat until all of the sugar has been incorporated. Add the salt and continue to beat until the frosting is smooth and lightens slightly in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 hours or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before using chilled frosting.