“So that’s 10 minutes on the bicycle, 10 minutes on the treadmill, a full set of legs and 30 minutes on the elliptical – that should allow me two hunks of cheese and two beers later.”
I’m not the only one calculating calories burned into what I can indulge in later, am I???
I bring up this small neurosis because this cake is totally worth conserving and calculating calories for! Of course you can always throw caution to the wind and dive right in – I have a sneaking suspicion that calories might be like germs, designed to scare us and suck all the fun out of living, but don’t really exist. (Kidding!)
Divine and hellish, this cake is decadent and completely over the top. I saw this in Savuer a while back and loved the concept – angel food and devil’s food, together in one beautiful marriage of sugar. As if the cakes on their own weren’t awesome enough, the peanut butter mouse and ganache send it into the stratosphere.
Don’t be intimidated by its size or the construction, the cake itself is pretty straightforward. I didn’t adjust the recipe, as it was my first time and I wanted to see how it would come out, “as is.” If I made it again I’d track down a different angel food and devil’s food cake recipe, they were great but I’m sure I could maximize their awesomeness.
The chilling and freezing time in the directions are crucial. The peanut butter mousse is happiest when it’s cold, so don’t upset it. I cut around the outside of the cake after freezing and before frosting to make it even, as the devil’s food layer is larger than the angel food, but that’s just me being anal.
Make sure the knife you’re using is super sharp. I ran it under hot water before each cut and used a sawing motion so as not to tear at the big guy.
This cake is truly a showstopper, but be warned, a little slice goes a long way.
Heaven and Hell Cake
FOR THE GANACHE:
2 pounds milk chocolate, such as Valrhona, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
FOR THE ANGEL FOOD CAKE:
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
FOR THE DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coffee
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; pour cream over the chocolate and let sit to melt for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, combine the chocolate and cream. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let rest for 4 hours.
Make the angel food cake: Heat oven to 325°. Line bottom of a 10″ round cake pan with ungreased parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour; set flour mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a handheld mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase mixer speed to medium, sprinkle in sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle half of the confectioners’ sugar–flour mixture over egg whites; using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.
Make the devil’s food cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10″ round cake pan with shortening and dust with flour to coat; shake out excess flour and set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder; set flour mixture aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth; set coffee mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture to the bowl in 3 stages, beating to combine after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 30–35 minutes; transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Make the peanut butter mousse: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture; set mousse aside in the refrigerator.
Assemble the cake: Using a serrated-blade knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer of the devil’s food cake on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse over the top with a butter knife. Top mousse with a layer of the angel food cake and spread with half of the remaining mousse. Repeat with the remaining devil’s food cake, mousse, and angel food cake. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. Stir ganache until smooth and spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake with a butter knife. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing.