I’ve always been curious about devil’s food cake so today I’m making Devils’ Food from a recipe submitted by Mrs. C. Rittershous. There are three very different recipes for this cake in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This recipe uses brown sugar.
I creamed the butter and brown sugar and then added the melted chocolate. I used one square of Bakers semi sweet chocolate. I made sour milk by adding 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to the 1/2 cup of 2% milk. I slowly added the milk to the mixture and then added the hot water. Next I mixed the soda and flour together and stirred it into the sugar mix. Finally I beat the two medium eggs and mixed them into the rest of the cake batter. I spooned the batter into two greased round cake pans and baked them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Mrs. Rittershous seems to be invisible. I can’t find anyone with that surname in the 1901 or 1911 census or on the Waterloo Generations website. There are surnames like Rittenhouse and Rittenhaus. I suspect that Mrs. C. Rittershous is actually Mrs. Charles A. Rittenhaus (Catherine). Mr. Rittenhaus was a hotel keeper. In the 1901 census Catherine (42) and Charles (41) had one son Oskar (11 years old) and they are listed as German Lutheran. Since they have the hotel there are many domestics and lodgers listed with them in the census.
While the cake baked I made the filling. I put the brown sugar, butter, milk and vanilla in a saucepan on medium heat. I let it cook for at least 10 minutes. I’m not sure if I cooked it long enough. I removed it from the heat when the mixture “sheeted” on the spoon just like jelly. I used it to fill and ice the cake.
It was hard to wait until the cake was cooler to taste. It is quite good. It doesn’t have a strong chocolate taste but the caramel filling/icing adds a wonderful quality to the cake. I drizzled a bit of the left over filling on my slice of cake. The cake is light textured. I will make this one again and perhaps try two semi sweet squares in case the size in 1906 was different. I will also try it with unsweetened as perhaps that will heighten the chocolate flavour. However, it is quite possible that I made it accurately as many chocolate baked goods from this era are not as intensely flavoured as what we encounter today in 2012.
2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup sour milk, 3 scant cups flour, 1 teaspoon soda, 2 eggs, 1 cake of sweet chocolate. Beat the sugar and butter to a cream, melt the chocolate and stir in then the sour milk a little at a time, then hot water, sift the soda with the flour and stir in then the beaten eggs. Bake in 2 layers.
Filling – 2 cups of brown sugar 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of sweet milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla. cook All together until it gets like jelly, put on cake before it gets cold.