Moist and Tender Devils Food Cake
Makes two 9-inch cakes
Regular, or natural, cocoa like Hershey's can be used with good results, though the cakes will bake up a bit drier, redder, and with slightly less chocolate flavor.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate , chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups water (boiling)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened, plus extra for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs , room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting (Below)
Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, to decorate
1. Adjust oven rack to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and line bottom of each pan with parchment paper round. Combine chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl; pour boiling water over and whisk until smooth. Sift together flours, baking soda, and salt onto large sheet parchment or waxed paper; set aside.
2. Place butter in bowl of standing mixer and beat at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and add eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Reduce speed to medium; add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined, about 10 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. With mixer on low, add about one third of flour mixture, followed by about one half of chocolate mixture. Repeat, ending with flour mixture; beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. Do not overbeat. Remove bowl from mixer; scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix gently to thoroughly combine.
3. Divide batter evenly among cake pans, smooth batter to edges of pan with rubber spatula. If baking three 8-inch cakes, place two pans on lower-middle rack and one on upper-middle rack. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes for 8-inch cakes. Cool on wire rack 15 to 20 minutes. Run knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert cakes onto large plate; peel off parchment, and reinvert onto lightly greased rack. Cool completely before icing.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth.