Isn’t it amazing that you can do things over and over again without a problem, but the minute you are asked to do something that you want to be extra special, everything turns to chaos. Our social media portrays a eutopian existence, with beautiful children playing on perfect white beaches, tables laid to precision and bedecked with the ultimate greenery display, and of course cakes that do not have a crumb out of place. But we all know that none of this is actually true, its just a ploy to make the next person envious of our “perfect” lives.
But quite truthfully none of us really want to see the chaos of other’s real lives, we want to be inspired by beautiful things, dream of how our lives can be better, fuller, greener, and happier. I am a perfectionist, and am dissatisfied with anything less than 100%, so when I was asked awhile back to make a cake for a special lady who turned 90, I wanted it to be the best cake I had made, and I had great plans, so I practised it beforehand with a mini cake which turned out perfectly.
But we know that the best laid plans are not always going to happen. The day before her birthday I started preparing to bake the perfect cake…..the first cake never rose and came out like a soggy mess, so I abandoned it and set about redoing it. Checking the baking powder, the expiry date of the flour, and anything else that could have caused it, I started again. Second cake, same as the first, and by now I was tired and frustrated. I threw the cakes into the garbage, cleaned all the pans and bowls and started again with a recipe I knew would never fail me. It turns out that my thermostat and motherboard were once again broken, so the oven was not heating to the correct temperature and hence the cakes not rising. This is the second time this has happened to me in the last six months….. fancy ovens may not be the answer. But what I am getting at, is that without knowing exactly what was wrong with my oven, I decided to bake my old faithful Devil Food Cake recipe which despite all the problems, still managed to turn out perfectly, although I did have to cook it for a longer period.
This double layer cake is dense, moist and every chocolate lovers dream. I used a lovely soft chocolate buttercream and decorated it with a few stunning flowers for a great result.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
Heat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF.
Grease and line with paper 2 x 8in baking pans. Use pans which have solid bottoms preferably as this is a very thin mixture and it can leak out of loose bottom pans.
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and add to the dry ingredients
Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Stir in boiling water. (Please note the batter is very thin.)
Pour into prepared baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack.
Decorate with either a chocolate ganache icing or soft buttercream icing
- 250 g butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sift icing sugar and cocoa to remove any lumps.
Soften the butter in a mixer, and add the icing sugar and cocoa mix. Add the vanilla extract.
If the mixture is too stiff, add a teaspoon or two of milk to soften.