Devil's Food Cake with Almond Dacquoise
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Devil’s Food cake, Chocolate Whipped Cream, Almond Dacquoise, and Buttercream create a celebration cake. The buttercream was divided into 3 portions for the ombre effect with leaf-green food coloring along with Easter egg decorations.

This cake has several components and I recommend making the Almond Dacquoise, Cake, and Chocolate Whipped Cream the day before to have ready to assemble the following day.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake | Chocolate | Meringue
Almond Dacquoise:
  • 6 ounces (about 11/8 cups) whole blanched almonds
  • 1¼ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
Cake Batter:
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
Chocolate Whipped Cream:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Classic French Buttercream (Makes about 6 cups):
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2½ cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring (optional)
Almond Dacquoise:
  1. Make the day before final cake assembly. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw one 9-inch circle onto each paper; turn the paper over so the ink or pencil marks won’t touch the meringue; the circles should be visible through the paper.
  2. In a small food grinder or food processor, process the blanched almonds until the almonds are finely ground. Pour almonds into a mixing bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar, and stir until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-low to medium speed until the whites look frothy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium or medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar one tablespoon at a time or in a slow steady stream; continue beating until almost stiff peaks form. The egg whites should look smooth, white, and shiny, not dry. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  4. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the ground almond mixture into the egg whites. The almonds should be added in 3 to 4 additions.
  5. Place the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip. Pipe the meringue following the inside perimeter of each circle. Then fill in the circle by piping in a spiral. Use a small offset spatula to gently smooth any peaks.
  6. Bake: Bake meringues for 3 hours. At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and leave the meringue discs in the oven for 6 to 8 hours or overnight to cool and finish drying out.
  7. When completely cooled, remove meringues by gently peeling them off the parchment paper or by sliding a thin metal spatula underneath to loosen them from the paper.
Cake Batter:
  1. I recommend making the day before final cake assembly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour. Tip: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Wrap the outside of the pan with a cake strip to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is about 2 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water. Stir until smooth, and then blend in the cold water. Add vanilla; stir until thoroughly blended and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the granulated sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, then add the brown sugar, taking an additional 3 to 4 minutes, beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugars, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the cocoa mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and cocoa mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  7. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Chocolate Whipped Cream:
  1. Make the day before final cake assembly. Finely chop the chocolate into ¼-inch pieces and place in a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar just to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, and then stir slowly in a circular motion with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Let sit until cooled to room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Once the whipped cream has chilled and ready to assemble cake, transfer to a large bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until thick and stiff, 2 to 4 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to assemble cake.
Classic French Buttercream:
  1. Strain the egg yolks plus yolk from the whole eggs through a fine mesh strainer. Using a rubber spatula, strain and press the yolk through the strainer to separate any attached egg white fibers.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine the separated egg whites and strained egg yolks. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 8 minutes until the eggs become thick and lemon colored and drop in ribbons when the beater is lifted. Tip: continue beating the eggs until the sugar syrup is cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium size heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan.
  4. When the syrup looks clear, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 238 degrees F, a soft-ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Optional: As soon as the syrup reaches 238 degrees F. immediately remove from the heat and pour the syrup into a glass measuring cup to stop the cooking. Be Careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
  5. Quickly, as soon at the sugar syrup is done cooking, stop the mixer, pour a small amount of syrup into the beaten egg yolks, immediately turn the mixer on to high speed and beat for 5 to 10 seconds still using the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer off again, pour a little larger amount of syrup in the eggs, and immediately turn the mixer on to high speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. Tip: You want to work quickly as the sugar starts to harden and thicken pretty quickly. Don’t allow any syrup to pour onto the whisk as it will spin the syrup around the sides of the bowl.
  6. Once all the sugar has been added to the eggs, continue beating the mixture at high speed, about 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture is cool. Tip: Touch the mixture and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
  7. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk and attach the paddle. With the mixer on medium speed add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. The Buttercream may look curdled after the butter is added, but it will become smooth as you continue to beat it. Add the vanilla and continue beating on medium-high speed until the Buttercream is thick and smooth, about another 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Buttercream should be used immediately, or refrigerate until needed.
  9. Assembly: Using a long serrated kitchen knife, split each cake into 2 horizontal layers.
  10. Place one of the cake layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread about one-fourth of the chocolate whipped cream on the layer. Place one of the almond Dacquoise rounds on top, and spread another one-fourth of the chocolate whipped cream on top of the Dacquoise, and then place another cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of the buttercream over the cake layer, and then repeat with another layer of cake, whipped cream, Dacquoise, whipped cream, and then place the last cake layer on top.
  11. When the layers are completed, use a long sharp serrated kitchen knife to trim off the edge of the layers to make the sides straight. Reserve any Dacquoise shavings to garnish the top of the cake.
  12. Crumb coat the cake by covering the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Refrigerate the cake until the crumb coat is dried to the touch, about 20-30 minutes. Tip: the crumb coat is a thin layer. Don’t worry if the cake shows through in places, it will be covered again with the final layer of frosting.
  13. When the crumb coat is set, cover the sides and top of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Tip: for the ombre effect, I divided the remaining buttercream into 3 portions. Using leaf-green food coloring I tinted one portion a pale leaf green for the bottom side color, the second portion an even paler leaf green for the middle side color, and left the third portion with no added food coloring for the top side and top of cake color. I used some Dacquoise shavings to garnish the top of the cake.
  14. Refrigerate cake at least 1 hour before serving to firm up the chocolate whipped cream layers. Refrigerate leftovers.
Adapted From: Larousse on Pastry, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, 2012; Teubner, Christian, Cakes & Pastries, Hearst Books, New York, 1983; Daley, Regan, In the Sweet Kitchen, Artisan, New York, 2001
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two 9" Round Layers, Two Baking Sheets Pan Prep: Greased and Parchment Lined Oven Temp: 350° and 225° Storage: Covere and refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Blanching Almonds, Making Meringue

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