Devils Food Cake

This has been for decades the favorite family cake.  Everyone requests mom make it for their birthday.   It’s topped with SeaFoam icing- a brown sugar, egg white mixture.  I cannot even PRETEND I can make it as well as mom.  Back in the day, we had to walk softly, so the cake would rise properly.  It was a big deal when this cake was in the oven.  It was always a special occassion.  It’s chocolately and moist and delicious in a way a box cake will never match.

Using room temperature ingredients is one secret I have discovered..   Beat the shortening and sugar until smooth.  Add  vanilla and eggs one at a time and blend thoroughly.   Sift flour and measure- then sift flour, cocoa, salt and soda through a wire strainer to be sure no little lumps.  Add flour mixture a half cup at a time to the creamed shortening mixture.  Beat 2 minutes on medium speed.  Pour into 2 prepared round cake pans.  Prepared means cover with margarine and then flour and shake out any excess flour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  Touch lightly with your finger and if cake bounces back- it’s done.  If you see your imprint- give a few more minutes.  You can also try a toothpick down the center.  If it comes out clean- your cake is done.   Cook in pan on racks so bottom isn’t resting on a surface.   Select the plate you want to use to serve your cake and invert the flattest of the 2 layers onto that plate.  Add a cup of seafoam icing once the cake is cool.  Use a spatula to spread almost to the edges, then place the second later rounded side UP.  Insert 4 toothpicks or broken pieces of spaghetti  down through the cake to avoid “sliding”.  (Family tradition is to give the chore of dishes to whoever gets the toothpick- but like most families, everyone laughs and mom still does the dishes.)  Frost the entire cake now.  Use a damp clean cloth to clean any icing that hits the plate.   I think Jon and Heather have a birthday in their family coming up next- Jonathan will be 16.    I’ll take a photo of that cake for my blog please!

  • 2 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1 7/8 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shortening (crisco or margarine)
  • 1 1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk  (add a tablespoon white vinegar to milk to make sour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 toothpicks
  • sea foam icing 

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