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Devil's Food Cake with Pinot Noir Chocolate Frosting
Devil's Food Cake with Pinot Noir Chocolate Frosting Photo courtesy of Salt & Straw

Pastry chef Carla Burns has made her devil’s food cake at nearly every restaurant in which she’s worked. But when she started baking sweets for Portland, Oregon’s Salt & Straw, she knew she needed to update her recipe to satisfy customers of the extremely innovative artisanal scoop shop. So she added a splash of Pinot Noir to the chocolate icing to suit the shop’s whimsical style and enhance the cake’s deep flavor. Enjoy a slice of the cake on its own or add a scoop of the shop’s rocky-road ice cream for a truly over-the-top treat.

Makes one 9-inch cake (8 to 10 servings)

Devil’s Food Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1¾ cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

1½ cups buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

⅔ cup peeled and finely grated raw red beets (from about 1 medium beet)


Pinot Noir Chocolate Frosting

¾ cup Pinot Noir

1¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

Kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350˚. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder; whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar with the eggs and mix at medium speed until combined. Add the buttermilk and sour cream, and mix until smooth. Add the beets and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl in two additions, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake, rotating the cake halfway through, until a tester stick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool to room temperature in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan.

5. Make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

6. Sift the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the butter with the confectioners’ sugar and blend at medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa mixture and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the reduced wine and vanilla, and mix until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

7. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into three equally thick rounds. Frost each layer of the cake, then stack the layers on a serving plate or cake stand. Frost the sides of the cake, cut into slices and serve.

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