Oxford's Companion to Food states that the term "devil" in food names (such as devil food cake):
Devil--a culinary term which . . . first appeared as a noun in the 18th century, and then in the early 19th century as a verb meaning to cook something with fiery hot spices or condiments. . . . The term was presumably adopted because of the connection between the devil and the excessive heat in Hell. . . . Boswell, Dr Johnson's biographer, frequently refers to partaking of a dish of "deviled bones" for supper, which suggests an earlier use. . . Deviled dishes were very popular throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries, especially for seafood preparations and some appetizers.
The first recipe of Devil's food cake came about in 1902 in a cookbook called Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book.
These cupcakes turned out pretty well--but I'm not convinced they're the best. It could be because of my frosting. I didn't have any of the ingredients to make frosting from scratch, so I resorted to using ready-made frosting. I also only had vanilla, so I added cocoa powder to the vanilla.
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. In a bowl, stir baking soda into the boiling water; stir this mixture into chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until the mixture is light and pale yellow in color. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add flour and buttermilk, alternating between small amounts of each, and blend well.
- Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the batter, and stir well. Pour the batter into the paper cups, and bake until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake, about 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven, and allow them to cool briefly in the muffin tin before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Ice, and serve.