I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Reichl around 2009, when she spoke during a gourmet meal in an upscale Kansas City, MO restaurant (which has since closed). Her massive Gourmet Today cookbook had recently published, as the beloved Gourmet magazine-where she was editor for a decade-prepared to shut down after nearly 70 years of operation.
As I sought recipes for this year's chocolate blog, I found Reichl's Devil's Food Cake with Marshmallow Frosting, inside Gourmet Today. Full of butter and brown sugar, this dense cake topped the edge of the 8" x 8" pan in which I baked it.
Although I've long known that bringing eggs to room temperature before using them in a recipe is good practice, I appreciated Reichl specifically noting these eggs should stand out for a full half hour. I also appreciated her note that the recipe should not incorporate Dutch-process cocoa powder, especially after I recently completed a story on cocoa powder differences, for The Chocolate Professor (stay tuned for the specific story URL).
I baked the cake just over 45 minutes and the top cracked open a bit, so I would definitely watch the baking process closely, from about 35 minutes.
But when it came time to make the frosting, I diverged from Reichl's recipe. Not a fan of corn syrup, I didn't want to purchase a bottle of this stuff that I otherwise never use. Instead, I bought some mini marshmallows whose leftovers my toddler grandsons will appreciate.
I greased a spatula, and a small bowl that would serve as my double boiler, threw in several cups of marshmallows and several tablespoons of water and watched the melting process. I turned off the heat and then drizzled this mixture across the top and sides of the cooled cake. But with plenty of mixture remaining, I eventually covered the entire top surface while leaving the side drizzles in place.
This wasn't anything close to a whipped frosting. Would I have preferred Reichl's recipe? Perhaps. But, in the meantime, we're thoroughly enjoying the flavors of this decadent dessert.
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I love crafting stories about fantastic food & beverages, must-visit destinations & eco-friendly topics. I wrote a 350+ page book about Kansas. And I've worked with dozens of additional clients - from Fodors.com & AAA magazines to USA Today 10Best & WanderWithWonder.
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