After reading Alexis Stewart’s post on making this Heaven and Hell Cake from Saveur.com, I wanted to give it a whirl, too. Since then, I’ve whirled at least three times to get it right. Today, I can finally share something.
The reason why it’s called Heaven and Hell Cake is because the cake layers are alternating Angel Food Cake and Devil’s Food Cake. The filling is a light peanut butter mousse, and the whole thing is finished off with chocolate ganache. First of all, whatever you do, do not follow the Saveur.com recipe blindly, especially on the peanut butter mousse. I learned the hard way that my KichenAid isn’t even big enough to handle all the ingredients.
Anyway, long story short, I re-made it and re-made it again. I got the peanut butter mousse after toying with some recipes I found online, and finally got the Angel Food Cake, too, thanks to a handy-dandy book of mine.
The recipe yields enough for a 6″ cake, and the whole process will take a lot of work because of the different layers that go into the final product…this isn’t meant to be an everyday cake, but a fancy once-in-a-while thing.
Angel Food Cake
- 3 oz. egg whites (I buy cartons of egg whites rather than ending up with a bunch of yolks)
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 oz. sugar, divided into 2 equal portions
- 1 oz. cake and pastry flour
Devil Food Cake
- 5 oz. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 oz. softened unsalted butter
- 4.5 oz. brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 oz. melted unsweetened choclate
- 2/3 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Mousse
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
- 2 oz. (1/4 package) cream cheese
- 2.25 oz. icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- For the Angel Food Cake, set the oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Line the cake pan with parchment paper everywhere – the edges and the bottom. Angel Food Cake tends to do better with parchment than the regular old butter-and-flour set-up. Sift the flour and 3 oz. of the sugar together. Set aside. Whip the egg whites in an electric mixer on medium speed with a wire whisk, until bubbly. Add in the salt and cream of tartar, and continue whipping on medium speed until the volume starts to double and the mixture is turning white. Drizzle in 3 oz. of the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form. The worst thing to do with Angel Food Cake is to over-mix the egg whites, which in turn makes the cake non-airy. Add in sifted flour and sugar and fold gently into the almost-meringue mixture. Pour into the ready pan, and put into the oven right away. Bake for about 30 minutes just until the top is nice and golden, and a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, chill on a rack in the pan until it settles, and then cool on the rack upside down for at least an hour before removing.
- For the Devil’s Food Cake, butter and flour the pan, and line the bottom with parchment. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cream the butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, then add in the brown sugar and beat on medium until lighter in colour. Add in egg and mix on medium for three minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate. Then alternately mix in dry ingredients and milk + vanilla until it’s all incorporated. Pour into the pan and pop in the oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from pan when it’s set and just starting to pull away from the edges, and cool in pan for a few minutes before removing and cooling on the rack.
- For the peanut butter mouse, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Put in refrigerator. Cream the cream cheese in a electric mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in icing sugar and salt and cream together until smooth. Add in peanut butter and mix until smooth (will feel slightly dry and lumpy, just keep going at a lower speed). Fold in the whipped cream by hand until well mixed, and put back on the mixer and whip at medium-low speed for another 30 seconds. Yum!
- Slice the cake layers in half, so that you have 4 cake layers in total. Start with a Devil’s Food Cake, top with a layer of peanut butter mousse, then a layer of Angel Food Cake, and then another peanut butter mousse layer. You should finish at the last layer of Angel Food Cake. Don’t add peanut butter mousse on top, but finish off the edges with any leftover mousse – “masking the cake”, if you will – so that the edges are even and smooth. Put in the fridge while you do the chocolate ganache.
- Melt 8 oz. chocolate chips and 1/4 cup whipping cream, and pour over the top of the cake when it’s cooled off a bit but is still liquid.
- Use any leftover peanut butter mousse to pipe fancy decorations on top of the cake if you have any desire to continue with the cake at this point. Voila!