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Devil’s Food Layer cake

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Happy National Chocolate Cake Day! The secret behind this moist, rich chocolate cake is mixing the cocoa powder—use natural, not Dutch process—with boiling water, which allows the chocolate flavor to blossom and adds extra moisture to the crumb. This time-honored favorite, layered with velvety chocolate frosting, makes the ultimate birthday cake.

Devil’s Food Layer Cake

For the cake:
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) boiling water
3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:
3 3/4 cups (15 oz./470 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (3 oz./90 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
About 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

To make the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa until smooth. Let cool completely. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and the cooled cocoa mixture. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed, beating until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the cakes until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of each pan to release the cake. Invert the pans onto the racks, lift off the pans, and peel off the parchment paper. Turn each cake right side up and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Using the mixer on low speed, mix in the butter until it is crumbly. Mix in the vanilla, and then gradually mix in enough of the cream to make a spreadable frosting.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, spread the top of the layer with a generous 1/2 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer, top side down, on top of the first layer. Frost the top, then the sides, with the remaining frosting. Slice the cake into thick wedges and serve. Serves 10.

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Best of the Web: Halloween Treats

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No matter how you’re celebrating Halloween this year, you’ll need a bite of something sweet — and scary! Here are some of the cutest, spookiest and party-worthy treats we’ve seen around the web. Trick or treat!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider CookiesChocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies by A Spicy Perspective
These creepy crawly cookies combine chewy peanut butter cookies and chocolate truffles into one delectable bite.
Halloween BarkHalloween Bark by Sweet C’s Designs
It only takes five minutes to make this sweet-salty mix of chocolate, pretzels and colorful candy corn. It’s perfect for party snacks!
Frankenstein Rice Krispie TreatsFrankenstein Rice Krispie Treats by Clean & Scentsible
Here’s a creative treat kids will love: green-tinted Rice Krispie treats decorated to look like everyone’s favorite monster.
Brownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost CupsBrownie Brittle Peanut Butter Cookie Ghost Cups by Food Faith Fitness
These little cookie cups are filled with cream cheese frosting piped into a spooky ghost shape, then topped off with chocolate chip faces.
Devil's Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch FrostingDevil’s Food Cake with Pumpkin Butterscotch Frosting by Sugar Hero
Halloween treats can be glamorous, too! This rich chocolate cake has layers of pumpkin-butterscotch frosting for a contrast of black and orange hues, plus plenty of sparkly decorations.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle MummiesPumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies by Creme de la Crumb
These no-bake truffles are super simple to make. Just mix and chill the filling, then dip in melted white chocolate and drizzle on a festive final layer for the mummy effect.
Bittersweet Chocolate Skeleton CookiesBittersweet Chocolate Skeleton Cookies by Mom Foodie
Put those holiday cookie cutters to good use in October! When used to bake chocolate cookies and piped with a skeleton design, they make adorable Halloween treats.
Vampire FloatsVampire Floats by Shaken Together
A classic ice cream float gets a creepy makeover in this crimson concoction. Don’t forget glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth for garnish!
Graveyard CupcakesGraveyard Cupcakes by Cupcake Diaries
Cookies in the shape of graveyard headstones add the finishing touch to these cupcakes, sprinkled with a layer of cookie “dirt.”
Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeCandy Corn Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake by Life, Love & Sugar
Everyone loves a moist, chewy chocolate cookie — and this one’s a giant! It’s filled with chocolate chunks and candy corn and made fo