Devil's Food Cake with Flame Tuiles
A ring of fire dances around a dense chocolate cake so decadent it was named for the devil himself. The two-tiered confection is covered in whorls of equally enticing frosting. Scarlet flames -- tuile cookies tinted red -- eerily evoke the underworld.
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
For the Frosting
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- Generous pinch of coarse salt
- 1 pound semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Flame Tuiles, for decorating
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Melt butter and sugar in saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and transfer to a mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.
Make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Beat butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce to medium-low speed; slowly add melted chocolate and cocoa-powder mixture, and beat until combined. If frosting is not set, let stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, and coat tops and sides with remaining frosting, spreading it in a swirling motion. Cake can be refrigerated overnight. Before serving, decorate the cake. Place the tuile flames upright against the frosting (be sure the cake is room temperature), overlapping slightly.