Devilishly Good Food

by Mark R. Vogel

            Not that I need an excuse to be naughty or indulgent, but with Halloween right around the corner I thought some wicked recipes would be apropos.  To “devil” food means to impart it with hot and spicy seasoning, inevitably from some form of hot pepper.  However, as we shall see with devil’s food cake, it can also refer to dishes that are inordinately rich and decadent.  Either way, sometimes it’s good to be bad!

DEVILED EGGS

            A deviled egg is simply a stuffed egg with the addition of hot spices.  There are innumerable recipes for stuffed eggs and they have been eaten since the Roman Empire.

6 hard cooked eggs.
2 ½  tablespoons mayonnaise
1 ½  tablespoons mustard
1 shallot, minced
Salt, (or celery salt), and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper or paprika, as needed
Minced chives, as needed

            Boil the eggs, allow them to cool, and then cut them in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks and mash with the mayo, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper.  Place a scoop of the mixture in each of the twelve egg white halves.  Sprinkle with chives and a generous amount of cayenne, or if you’re not a little devil, use paprika instead.

DEVILS ON HORSEBACK

            Devils on horseback is a spicy version of angels on horseback, which are oysters wrapped in bacon and broiled.  When oysters cook their edges curl, supposedly resembling angels’ wings, hence the name. 

12 oysters
2 oz. dry white wine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of bacon
12 buttered toast points (optional)

            Preheat the broiler.  Shuck the oysters and reserve the juice and half the shells.  Mix the juice with the wine, garlic, Tabasco, salt and pepper and then marinate the oysters in this for ten minutes.  Cut the bacon strips in half and wrap each oyster with half a bacon slice and secure with a toothpick.  Broil on a baking sheet or in their shells, turning once, until the bacon is crisp and the edges of the oysters have curled.  They can be served on buttered toast points, (triangle shaped pieces of toast), or in their shells.

BELGIUM ALE DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

Devil’s food refers to a dark, dense, chocolate concoction that is usually baked.  It is so named because since it is so rich and delicious it must be “sinful.”  Devil’s food usually has a greater proportion of chocolate than regular chocolate cake. 

8 oz unsalted butter plus extra for greasing pans
3 oz. unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder plus some for dusting pan
11 oz. dark Belgium ale (or amber ale or dark beer)
12 oz. unbleached flour, sifted
1 tsp. salt
1 and a quarter tsp. baking soda
16 oz. sugar
2 eggs
6 oz. buttermilk

            Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8-inch cake pans with butter. Cut two circles of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans.  Grease the parchment with butter and dust the pans with cocoa powder.  Place the ale in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa, stirring until it dissolves and becomes smooth and creamy. Let cool to room temperature.  Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda, and set aside.  Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.  Add the ale/cocoa mixture and blend well.  Alternately, blend in the flour mixture and buttermilk, (start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture in 3 additions).  Pour into prepared pans and bake until cake tester comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool the cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert on racks and cool completely. Frost with ale frosting.

Ale Chocolate Frosting

6 oz. dark Belgium ale
1 oz Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
24 oz. confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate shavings from a dark chocolate candy bar for garnish

            In a saucepan bring the ale to a boil, remove from the heat and add cocoa powder, stirring until dissolved. Cool completely in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.  With the whisk attachment on your electric mixer whip the butter until light and creamy. Add the cooled ale mixture and blend well.  Add vanilla.  Start adding confectioners sugar a little at a time whipping completely after each addition. Whip until a spreadable consistency is achieved.  To assemble, turn one of the cake layers on a cake plate.  Frost the top with some of the frosting.  Place the second layer on top. Frost the top of that layer and the sides of the cake.  Make chocolate shavings by running a vegetable peeler over the candy bar. Garnish the top of cake with the shavings.

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