I have a really fun recipe for you today! A moist, decadent devil’s food cake layered between a slightly tart strawberry buttercream, topped with dark chocolate buttercream and finished with a white chocolate ganache drip (and sprinkles…always sprinkles). Because it’s Valentine’s Day I decorated her with themed sprinkles and gave her a girly name. But you can make this recipe any time of year with or without a different look!
This recipe calls for a special ingredient that you might recognize if you’ve been following me for a while: dark chocolate balsamic vinegar. I bought mine at a specialty store in Charlotte called Pour Olive. Look for a similar store that’s local for you, or find it on Amazon. You can also leave this ingredient out, but I love the way it enhances the chocolate flavor!
My favorite part about this recipe is the strawberry buttercream frosting. It’s slightly tart and not too sweet, and in my opinion a perfect balance to the sweetness of the chocolate. I got the idea for adding freeze-dried strawberries from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Crush them into a fine powder using a food processor or a coffee grinder. (The coffee grinder worked better for me.) I used an entire 28g bag of freeze-dried strawberries.
Two tablespoons of seedless strawberry jam takes the frosting to another level. But make sure it’s seedless!
You’d never know from looking at the outside of this cake that there is strawberry buttercream beneath the dark chocolate. But it’s there!
Finding the right consistency for the white chocolate ganache was not easy. Luckily, one of my friends told me a little secret: Nestle white chocolate chips do NOT work well. Use Ghiradelli white chocolate chips for the perfect drip consistency. (However, Nestle milk chocolate chips work just fine for a chocolate drip.) Once I switched to Ghiradelli I had no trouble with my drip!
The baking and decorating steps are explained in the recipe below. But here are a few tips and tricks:
* Before adding the drip, use a non-patterned paper towel to smooth the sides of the cake. Don’t do this until the final layer of frosting has chilled in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Wrap the paper towel around the cake and gently smooth the sides.
* One of my favorite tricks for easily filling a piping bag with frosting is to put the bag in a plastic cup. That makes it easier to spoon the frosting into the bag. I also like to double bag. I use one bag for the tip, and then place another bag with the frosting inside the bag with the tip. That makes it easier to switch tips!
* I’ve mentioned this before, but don’t try adding sprinkles to your drip until it’s set for about 5 minutes. Otherwise the sprinkles will drag the drip farther down the cake. The same goes for piping frosting on top of the ganache. Let it set first! Speaking of the drip, I prefer using a squeeze bottle (like this one) to pipe it around the edges.
*Use any colors you want, but if you like mine, try Americolor Fuchsia for the drip, and Americolor Black for the dark chocolate frosting. The heart sprinkles are Wilton brand, and the assorted sprinkles on top come from Sweetapolita. If you’re gluten intolerant, make sure you check the label of any sprinkles you buy. Not all of them are gluten free! (Speaking of gluten free, this is my favorite gluten free flour.)
Cake decorating is a time-consuming process, but it’s well worth the effort! Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try this devil’s food cake recipe and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Feel free to ask if you have questions.
The Devil('s Food Cake) Wears Prada
- 2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour or substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cake
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 4 oz baker's chocolate melted and slightly cooled
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup hot water
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup Crisco
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 28 g freeze-dried strawberries crushed into a fine powder
- 2 tbsp seedless strawberry jam
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup Crisco
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- black food coloring
White Chocolate Ganache Drip
- 3/4 cup Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- fuschia food coloring substitute if you want a different color
- assorted sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and grease four 6-inch round cake pans. (See the recipe notes.)
- Melt the baker's chocolate in the microwave, following the instructions on the package. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder.
- In a large bowl lightly beat the eggs. Then mix in the sugar and vegetable oil until smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the melted chocolate and buttermilk until incorporated, and stir in the vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar.
- On low speed, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the hot water, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining hot water and the remaining flour. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. You can use a food scale to make sure each pan contains the same amount.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack. (See the recipe notes.)
- Let the cakes cool completely. Then tightly wrap them in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Place them in the freezer. I recommend doing this overnight.
Decorating the Cake
- Start by making the strawberry buttercream. Cream the butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Add in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and the strawberry powder. Mix on low speed until incorporated and then beat on high speed until creamy. Add in the rest of the powdered sugar, the strawberry jam, the vanilla extract and the milk and heavy cream. Mix on low speed until incorporated, and then beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy.
- Remove the cakes from the freezer and unwrap them. Use a serrated knife to level out the cakes so that they're as flat as possible. Begin assembling the cake. Put one layer of cake on a cake board and spread 1/2 cup of frosting on top. Don't worry if the frosting hangs over the edges of the cake. Add another cake layer and another 1/2 cup of frosting. Continue with the remaining two layers and then frost the top and sides with a crumb coat. (See the recipe notes.) Freeze the cake for 20-30 minutes.
- While the cake is chilling prepare the dark chocolate buttercream. Cream the butter and Crisco until light and fluffy. Add in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder. Mix on low speed until incorporated and then beat on high speed until creamy. Add in the rest of the powdered sugar, the vanilla extract, the milk and heavy cream, and a couple drops of black food coloring. Mix on low speed until incorporated, and then beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy. Add more food coloring if needed, but only a few drops at a time. Keep in mind that the color will deepen as the frosting rests.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and add a second layer of frosting to the sides and top of the cake. Spread it on using an offset spatula and use the spatula or a scraper to smooth the edges. Wipe the blade clean frequently to achieve a smoother finish. Place the cake back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and add a layer of dark chocolate frosting to the sides and top of the cake. Spread it on using an offset spatula and use the spatula or a scraper to smooth the edges. Wipe the blade clean frequently to achieve a smoother finish. Put the cake in the refrigerator (not the freezer).
- Prepare the white chocolate ganache for the drip. Pour the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a separate heatproof container, heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, until boiling. (Watch to be sure it doesn't boil over.) Pour the cream over the chips and let it rest for 2 minutes. Then whisk until smooth. If the chips don't completely melt within 10 to 15 seconds of whisking, place the ganache back in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds on medium power. Stir in the food coloring (a few drops at a time, until it's the color you want) and pour the chocolate into a plastic squeeze bottle or ziplock bag.
- Take the cake out of the refrigerator. Hold the bottle/bag (if using a bag, snip the corner) at a 45-degree angle along the top edge of the cake and gently squeeze. Apply varying levels of pressure on the bottle/bag as you pipe around the entire top of the cake. Varying levels of pressure makes for varying drip lengths. Let the drip stand for 5 minutes and then carefully add sprinkles to the end of each drip.
- Smooth the remaining ganache on the top of the cake. You may get a few more drips but don't worry about that! Let that stand for 5 minutes before using the remaining chocolate frosting to pipe rosettes around the top perimeter of the cake. You can also pipe rosettes around the bottom edge. Use Wilton tip #1M. Top with sprinkles, and you're done! Store in the refrigerator, either tightly wrapped or in a cake container. Best enjoyed at room temperature.