Devil’s Food Cake from RHC Came Out Dry (I think)...
Posted: 11 January 2012 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2011-07-19

Hi Everyone,

I appreciate any advice you can offer…I made the Devil’s Food Cake for RHC last evening: 1.5X batter amount, no change in baking soda, 7” round pans w/cake circles (3 pans with some left over batter).  When they were “almost done”, I left it in for 5 minutes more, but when I went to take them out they were pulled away from the sides by about 1/8”.  Of course the domes flattened out on cooling and the cake shrunk by about 1/4-3/8” around.  After cooling a little piece fell off and I tried it…it seemed fairly dry…“like give me a glass of milk” dry.  I followed the directions to a T (have the updated version), covered the chocolate, etc…

Is this normal?  Did I overbake by a lot?  Will the flavor be balanced out with the cherries and ganache?  Should I start all over or try a different recipe (if so, which would you recommend)?  This is my first paying order and I don’t want to mess it up.

Thank you so much for any advice you can offer!

Posted: 11 January 2012 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  1440
Joined  2008-09-27

Any piece that fell off is likely to be among the drier parts of the cake, so it may not mean anything.  I would suspect that after sitting a while, the moisture inside the cake would tend to equalize.  Still, an all-butter cake is likely to seem a bit drier than one that contains oil.  If you’re worried about it, you might consider applying a small amount of sugar syrup to the cake.


If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Posted: 11 January 2012 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  1910
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, allie!

I assume that when you said no change in baking soda, you mean that you made no PROPORTIONATE change—but you did use 1.5x baking soda just like 1.5x batter, correct? 

I used to always do 5 minutes when mine were “almost done,” but my husband (who knows all/sees all) advised do 3, and it’s worked better.  It’s amazing how much baking can get done in just a few minutes!! Sometimes I peek after 2 through the glass, just in case.

I find the DFC a bit tender, but I wouldn’t call it dry.  That said, my fave choco cakes are Perfect All American Chocolate Butter Cake and Perfect All American Chocolate Torte—less “fluffy” than the DFC, but less tender, also, yet it doesn’t verge on being fudgy (like the Domingo, for example).

I think the cake should be fine.  Seal it well with frosting and let it sit in the fridge a couple of days (you can even freeze it and then thaw in the fridge) and it will be even nicer.  Somehow, to me, it makes a cake much more moist—like it balances somehow—maybe it pulls moisture from the frosting. 

You can also syrup it if you’re really paranoid.  Or, if you want to add just a little moisture, sprinkle it with some of the cherry brandy.  Syrup is not my forte, though, so someone else might have better advice there.

Good luck!


Posted: 11 January 2012 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  4698
Joined  2008-04-16

Ideally, it shouldn’t shrink from the sides until after you take it out of the oven, but it doesn’t sound like you went overboard.

If you’re going to bake professionally, you might consider taking the internal temp as a matter of course when you take it out of the oven.  That way, you’ll know for sure if the cake is under/overbaked.  If it doesn’t read at least 190F, put it back in the oven asap before it falls and finish baking.  If it is over 195F, consider taking it out a couple of minutes earlier next time.  If over 200F, you’ll be wanting to syrup it to be sure it’s moist.

The Devil’s food cake is paricularly tender, it may have come across as dry.  There is a correction to the recipe over on the blog, to make it hold together better, don’t know if you saw that. 

I agree with the others, if you’re worried about the cake, feel free to syrup it, brushing the sides and top/bottom.  You don’t need that much and it isn’t too noticeable in the finished cake.  If you want the syrup to be the same sweetness level as the cake, make it about 24% sugar by weight. 

It’s a lovely cake, your post makes me want to make it again.  If you get a chance, post a pic, we’d love to see it! smile

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