October 2, 2011

Jiffy Experiment Two: Black and White Cake

I came home from work the other day quite late and feeling rather sorry for myself. I was too tired to make a proper dinner or to make the molasses chew cookies I'd been thinking about for days, but I really wanted something decadent and easy to make. I wandered into the kitchen and stood a bit hopelessly in the middle of the room looking around at my options. And there it was. My enormous store of jiffy box mixes!

I decided to try out a black and white cake, using the devil's food mix and the white cake mix. "Devil's Food," in case you're wondering, turns out not to be a particularly meaningful chocolate cake label. Wikipedia describes it as a "moist, airy, chocolate layer cake." So at least the name distinguishes from a flourless chocolate cake or a denser pound cake. Wikipedia also notes that it

sometimes has more baking soda than other cakes, giving it a darker color. Rose Levy Beranbaum describes her Triple Layer Devil's Food Cake as "a moist, fine-textured, intensely chocolate cake." So there you have it. It is chocolate layer cake.

On to the main event. In my first Jiffy experiment, I learned that the mixes are extremely sweet. I also learned that the portions are relatively small. So I decided to increase the portion side and cut the sweetness of both mixes by adding extra flour and some plain yogurt. And, because why not, some dark chocolate chips.

I briefly considered making my own frosting, but ditched that plan when I realized I had four boxes of the fudge frosting mix I would eventually need to go through. I added a bit of maple syrup to the frosting. I figured there was no saving it from being too sweet, I might as well add a little nuance to the sweetness.

The result was really quite good. Both cake boxes direct beating the batter for several minutes with a hand mixer, so the texture of the cake is almost like angel food cake. The cake was sweet, but not disgustingly so. The chocolate bits mostly fell to the bottom in both cakes, and I stacked then chocolate-bits sides together, so there was a nice texture dark chocolate layer between the two cakes. I probably won't make it again, but only because I only had one box of the devil's food mix, and I've never seen it at a super market on the east coast.

- Franklin

Jiffy Black and White Cake
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Sweetness Factor: 9; Difficulty Factor: 1; Indulgence Factor: 8; Chance I'll Make it Again: 4.

One Box White Cake Mix
One Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
Two Eggs
1 cup of water (divided in half)
1/2 cup flour (divided in half)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (divided in half)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (divided in half)

One Box Fudge Frosting Mix
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease to 9" round cake pans (you can also use 8" rounds, but you will need to increase the baking time by about 5 minutes).

Empty each mix into a separate bowl. Add the half of the next four ingredients (eggs, water, flour, yogurt) to each bowl. Stir to combine. Then, using a hand mixer, beat contents of each bowl (separately) for about three minutes. You could also use a whisk or the whisk attachment to the kitchenaid. Add half the chocolate bits to each bowl. Empty batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 20 minutes until cake starts to pull away from the sides and the top bounces back when pressed lightly.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. In the meantime, empty the fudge mix, water, and syrup into a bowl and beat with hand mixer until smooth. You can add extra water into if you want to thin it out. Jiffy recommends using two boxes of mix to frost this amount of cake, but I found one was sufficient if you spread it thinly. Sprinkle with your favorite decorative sugar, and enjoy!

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