#44, Devil’s Food Cake with Seven-Minute Icing and Coconut

This is the same recipe Allysa’s family has made for every birthday since the beginning of time, and the same cake we served at the bakery—but a different icing and the coconut garnish give it a whole new taste.


I promised to bake a birthday cake for three of my students whose birthday’s are in November. I told them to choose any Magnolia Bakery recipe that I had not yet cooked and that I would make it for them. They chose Devil’s Food Cake. I chose the version in the book with the seven-minute icing and coconut.

Helas! This is all that is left


of this


But, it started like this..


and then turned into this

camoji (1)

which folded into this…..


then lastly to this (see below)

camoji (2)

MY CUP OVERFLOWETHED: The recipe called for three 9 x 2 inch cake pans. As I poured the batter in, I thought that the pans were too full and that a fourth pan could have been used. I was right. The cakes rose and poured over the sides of the pans – not disastrously. When a cake overflows the pan, the cake is actually pulled back down and flattened a bit. I was worried that the cake would not cook correctly throughout and there was a fear that the edges would burn. These fears did not come true. I just trimmed the droopy edges off and all was fine.

CONFETTI COCONUT: Dried, sweetened coconut is not available in Doha; at least I have never found it. Family Foods has freshly shredded coconut available sometimes. (Request at the vegetable weigh stations.) I recently found frozen, unsweetened coconut at Mega Mart. I toasted the shredded coconut in the oven (5 minutes under low broil). I didn’t try to sweeten it because the icing was already SO sweet. I had FUN throwing the coconut onto the iced cake. It turned out rather well.

#36-Red Velvet Cake with #37-Creamy Vanilla Frosting and #38-Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake with #39 Buttercream Icing

A tale of two cakes, two potential disasters, and a double birthday party!

Red Velvet Recipe    Creamy Vanilla Frosting Recipe

“This was one of our most popular cakes at the bakery.” (p. 113)

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake Recipe     Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe

“We think this is the ideal chocolate layer cake.”(p. 112)

All’s well that ends well. So goes the saying and so went a long night of baking.


Verify! That’s the word to remember here. I verified everything for making this red cake, except the red food coloring.

I knew I had some and I was right. But the recipe called for six tablespoons and I had about 1/2 teaspoon worth.

OK. Now what?

“Honey, I’ll go get some red food coloring for you.”
La bête saved by la belle.

La belle did find some food coloring, but it was in a powder form that neither she nor la bête had seen before. And now they know they never want to see it again. As it turned out, the powdery food coloring was actually yellow (not red) and was 96% salt, 4% color. But that was only discovered after making the batter, seeing it turn burnt orange and taste salty. THEN “you-know-who”, the “one who cannot be named” read the label on the can.

Back to square one. Throw the three cake pans of cake into the garbage an begin again.

Yep. You got it.

Honey. I’ll go to a different store and try again to get you some red food coloring for the cake.

Uh huh.

Belle found the right stuff for Bête.
And the right stuff happened.


This is the story about a pan on a shelf in a house in the desert.


The pan was a tall pan, a cake pan, a tall cake pan, said Sam. Sam liked tall things, and didn’t like seeing tall things stuck on short shelves. So Sam had an idea…

Why not USE the tall thing on the short shelf?

And so it happened. Sam took the tall pan, the tall cake pan, from the short shelf, and filled it with all the cake batter he could find. Sam was good at finding cake batter. Sam was so excited when he put the tall cake pan with all the cake batter he could find into the not-so-tall oven, that he forgot to look at the clock or set the timer. So, after a whiling-away time for quite a while, Sam was wondering. “How long has that tall cake pan been in the not-so-tall oven?” Well, said Sam to himself, there’s no real telling. So let’s take a look.” And look he did. And what did he find?

Sam found a very funny thing but it didn’t make him laugh. The tall cake pan in the oven that was not-so-tall had no cake at all. Inside the tall cake pan was a tall amount of liquid with a very firm hat on top. “What to do?”, thought Sam. “I know”, he said out loud, “I’ll lower the temp on the tall cake pan. Lower means slower”, he said feeling proud.

And so he waited, and he waited, and he waited. And then he looked again. And, what did he find?

He found that it all worked out just fine.

Then Sam put the very tall cake pan back on the very short shelf and went to bed.