Sheet cakes are a classic party menu item. They're great for feeding a crowd and easy to decorate (no fussing with making sure your layers are flat!). This devil's food cake uses espresso to enhance the chocolate flavor, plus oil to keep it extra moist. The sea foam frosting tops it off for an elegant finish!
This recipe is printed with permission from The Vintage Baker, by Jessie Sheehan, as published by Chronicle Books.
For the Devil's Food Cake
- 1 3/ 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/ 4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/ 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/ 2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
For the Sea Foam Frosting
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/ 2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- dash table salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Blue and green sanding sugar, for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter, line with parchment paper, and grease again.
Make the cake: Add the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed until well combined.
In a small bowl, add the egg, egg yolks, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk and whisk until combined. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Beat until incorporated, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and espresso powder and add to the batter in the mixer bowl. Mix again on medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. The batter will be quite thin.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for 25 to 28 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a moist crumb or two. Let cool completely in the pan. The cake can be made 1 day ahead and kept tightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter.
Make the frosting: Place a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water over medium-high heat. Do not allow the bottom of the pan to touch the water. Add the egg whites, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, salt, and 5 tablespoons water. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg white mixture on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan of hot water, add the vanilla, and continue beating for another 2 minutes.
Generously frost the cake and sprinkle the top with sanding sugar. The frosted cake is best served within a few hours. The frosting dries and loses its "foamy" fluffiness pretty quickly but the cake be kept, lightly covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days.