This cake is virtually fool proof, responds well to an apparent infinite number of variations, stays moist for over a week if not entirely consumed sooner and is super easy to make. The secret is the sour milk (1 tbsp of vinegar in a cup then fill it up with milk and leave in a warm place til it starts looking like runny yoghurt) and I suspect this is responsible for the slightly reddish tone of the dark chocolate and the amazing, unique smell when you stir in a cup of hot water right at the end.
The cake is so moist it is delicious without being iced/frosted: just a sprinkle of icing/confectioners sugar makes it look elegant. And a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla icecream on the side for extra indulgence. However, any good chocolate icing turns this into a special occasion cake.
Extra-sinful variations I have tried and enjoyed have included:
- stirring cherries into the batter at the end
- replacing vanilla with brandy
- making in a bundt (tube) pan, or as cupcakes, and then hollowing out the middle and filling with chocolate mousse (there are still people who remember that version fondly from some 20 years ago!)
Grandma Ada Ruth's Devil's Food Cake
3 cups plain flour
2 cups white sugar*
6 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup sour milk
1 cup cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla
Sift the dry ingredients into a big bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients together.
Stir wet into dry until completely combined.
Stir in 1 cup of hot water.
Bake at 190/375 degrees until the top springs back (about one hour).
*I use half a cup less which stops the top of the cake from cracking, and is still sweet enough for my taste.
This portrait of Ada Ruth Taylor was sent to Jess when he was in France. At the same time portraits of ther first two babies ,Ruth Jean and Martha Taylor, and her Mother-in- law were taken and they were combined on a single card , small enough to fit in a breast pocket. I seem to remember the card said, ' Greetings from Home'