I’m pretty sure this is what Marie Antoinette was talking about

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This recipe has been haunting me since I bought Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, from my home to yours.  You see, it graces the book’s cover.  And so, every time I pull out the volume, there is it, daring me to find an excuse to make it.  And so, I did, and I did.

Not really one of those cakes you can throw together on a whim, what this recipe calls for in patience makes up for in specialness.  Chocolate-studded devil’s food cake surrounded in layers of pillowy, sticky marshmallow fluff.

Sold yet?

How about now?

I have to admit, that’s all you are going to get in the photo department.  I made this cake the week of Thanksgiving for company and because of all the other plates I happened to be spinning at the time, made the cake late one night and then the frosting the next night.  And we all know about my kitchen in lighting.

But, you’ll have to trust me when I tell you how much fun the frosting is to make and what a delight it was to work with in decorating.  One piece of advice: read through the entire recipe a couple of times before diving in.  It took me a couple of passes to actually conceptualize where Ms. Greenspan was going with the recipe.

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake

adapted ever so slightly from Baking from my kitchen to yours, Dorie Greenspan

Cake Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 (10 TBS) unsalted, room temp butter
  • 1/2 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 C buttermilk at room temp
  • 1/2 C boiling water
  • 4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, chopped or 2/3 C mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2, 8X2 inch round cake pans (use regular flour or cocoa).  Line each with parchment, place pans on baking sheet.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Using a stand mixer with paddle or a hand mixer, beat butter until soft and creamy.  Add sugars and beat an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Add-in eggs one-at-a-time, beating 1 minute in between.  Beat-in vanilla.
  5. Reduce speed and add-in cooled chocolate.
  6. Alternating with the buttermilk, add-in dry ingredients in 3-parts, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  7. Working on low-speed, mix-in the water.  Scrape-down the bowl and fold in the chocolate.  Divide the batter evenly into pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes rotating pans halfway through until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.
  9. Cool on racks for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the perimeter of pans and unmold.  Cakes can be stored if wrapped-airtight in the freezer up to 2 months.


  • 1/2 C eggs whites (about 4 large)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 C water
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract


  1. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring mixture to boil over medium high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.  Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
  3. While the syrup is cooking, place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl.  Begin beating when the syrup reaches 235 degrees on the thermometer using the whisk attachment.  If the egg whites form peaks before the syrup gets to 242 degrees, reduce speed to low.
  4. With the mixer at medium speed, stand back and carefully pour in the hot syrup.  It is likely to spatter, don’t try to scrape them into the whites.
  5. Add-in vanilla and continue beating until mixture reaches room temp, about 5-7 minutes.  The result is a smooth, shiny frosting.
  6. To assemble, place first layer on plate or stand.  Slip parchment under the edges to keep the plate clean.
  7. Using an off-set spatula, cover the bottom layer of cake with a thick layer of frosting–about equal to the height of the cake.  Add the second layer and then working with a generous amount of frosting, frost the entire cake.  Decorate as desired.
  8. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Because of how soft this frosting is, left-over cake (as if) should be stored in the fridge.

5 thoughts on “I’m pretty sure this is what Marie Antoinette was talking about”

  1. That looks beautiful and delicious! I may have to try it one day. It reminds me of a chocolate cake I made for my hubby years ago when we were dating for Valentine’s Day. I got the recipe out of a Victoria magazine and being in my 20’s and with very little baking experience, I didn’t know what I was getting into. The cake took me two days to make! But it was lovely and yummy and my love for baking was born.

  2. You MADE your own marshmallow fluff??? This is seriously impressive. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the baking wherewithal to achieve this, but you’ve inspired me to make a much simpler chocolate layer cake for Christmas tomorrow. I’m going to divide the batter by weight, just like you suggested. Happy holidays!

  3. Ann–making the marshmallow was much easier than I thought it would be. To be honest, the standing mixer did all of the work.

  4. Sara–Isn’t it funny how experiences like the one you had with the cake can either douse or ignite enthusiasm?!

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