Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fun with Devil's Food Cake: Guest post by Eva Gates

My mystery and chocolate worlds collide again! Today I welcome Eva Gates aka Vicki Delany. Eva Gates is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library series from Penguin Obsidian, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first in the series is By Book or By Crook; Booked for Trouble to be released September 2015. Eva is the pen name of Vicki Delany, one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Eva can be found at and Vicki at Facebook at evagatesauthor and twitter: @evagatesauthor 

Eva Gates:
Fun with Devil’s Food Cake

At the moment, I have five writing projects on the go, under the name of Eva Gates as well as Vicki Delany. Every one of those five projects are waiting for someone to get back to me – edits, acceptance, critique, proofing.

So I’m enjoying a rare real ‘vacation’. Fortuitously, it’s summer so I can spend the days relaxing around the house, working in the garden or reading (and reading and more reading) by the pool.

I like to bake. My three children are adults now and have moved away so I rarely get the opportunity to bake any more. They gave me a Kitchenaid for Christmas last year, and considering that I do about 95% of my yearly baking in December (while awaiting the hordes to descend for Christmas) it hasn’t got a lot of use.

Recently, while relaxing and reading, I had an overwhelming urge to bake a cake. I found a recipe for Devil’s Food Cake on Martha Stewart some time ago that I’ve been wanting to try. The weather here in Southern Ontario hasn’t been very hot, so turning the oven on was no problem.

I made a cake.

It turned out just beautiful.

I iced it and admired it, and then realized that I really shouldn’t eat an entire two-layer chocolate cake all by myself.

I cut the cake into pieces, put the pieces into containers, and handed them out around the neighbourhood.

What a win-win!

I used my new mixer, I ate cake, and my neighbours think I’m a nice person.

Here’s the recipe I used.

Eva Gates’ Devil’s Food Cake 

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment; dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa with hot water until smooth. Whisk in sour cream; let cool. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each; scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined.

Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth. Bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

(Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Re-invert cakes; let cool completely, top sides up.

I prefer a white icing for a dark cake, because I love the contrast. This is the basic one I used.

White Icing

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tbsp milk

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add milk, slowly. Be careful as too much milk will make the icing too runny.

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart (

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