Suzi's Blog

Fudgy Frosting



This post is the first of two. I had to flip a coin to see which would come first.

No, that’s not true. Look at that picture. The brownie is very good, made with cocoa and very cakey. But it is this frosting that literally tops this treat. This frosting, also made with cocoa, is universal. It adorns brownies here, but is excellent for other cookies or cakes.

The technique for this recipe lets you control the viscosity of the frosting. You start in a saucepan using 4 cups of powdered sugar. Still warm, that mixture can be easily poured over a cake, but it will definitely run. Adding more powdered sugar will gradually stiffen the frosting and I suggest doing that step by first pouring mixture out of the sauce pan and into a stand mixer. Beating with the mixer will make the incorporation of additional powdered sugar easier and will increase the rate of cooling. As the mixture cools, it stiffens, so you will more readily approach a stiffness needed to frost a cake top without having the frosting “drool” over the sides.

Remember though: having the frosting loose and flowing is a natural way to achieve a perfectly smooth surface, one that is “bakery perfect.”

The stiffening power of the powdered sugar depends on whether it is sifted and the day’s humidity. Getting to the consistency you want all depends on your frosting tasks. Add additional sugar slowly and remember: you can always add a little milk to loosen up frosting that has become too stiff for your task at hand.

Fudgy Frosting

Yield: 2+ cups


  • ½ cup butter, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • ⅓ cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided 4 cups and 1 cup


In a medium saucepan, place the butter, milk and cocoa. Over medium heat, melt the butter and combine the mixture while constantly whisking. Do not bring to a boil. When the butter has melted and mixture is uniform, add the vanilla.

Lower the heat to simmer and gradually add the 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Whisk continuously to achieve uniformity as quickly as possible.

Remove from the heat and pour mixture into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to medium and beat the mixture to being cooling and stiffening. Occasionally reduce the beater speed and add portions of the remaining cup of sugar. When the frosting has reached the consistency and temperature you need, stop the mixer and use immediately.

As the frosting cools further to room temperature it will set and resemble fudge. It will taste like it, too.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/25th second at ISO‑3200


Diablo Cake from Beekman 1802 Heirloom Desserts



Devil’s food cake is an American creation, a fairly recent one from the very early 1900’s. The first printed recipe occurred in 1905. And, then evolution set in. The cake is characterized by being more moist and more airy than traditional chocolate cakes. Instead of melted chocolate, cocoa is often used. And most recipes use a combination of buttermilk and baking soda to achieve that particular tang that pairs so well with cocoa.

In The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook, authors Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell have a little fun with the name and the ingredients. Calling their cake Diablo, they add some cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper to the mix. Just a word: be careful of the cinnamon. It seems that the other ingredients act as a catalyst so a simple ½ teaspoon of cinnamon packs enormous flavor punch.

The recipe below includes the custard sauce recommended by the authors. I found the cake so spicy, and the day was so hot, that a simple vanilla ice cream was used in an arranged marriage that actually worked.

If you have loved Devil’s Food Cake and could not imagine it getting better, then you do not have to go to hell, but you do have to make Diablo.


Diablo Food Cake with Custard Sauce

Yield: serves 10 to 12


For the cake:

  • ·        Cooking spray
  • ·        2cups cake flour [spooned into a cup, leveled off, and sifted]
  • ·        1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ·        ½ teaspoon salt
  • ·        ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ·        ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ·        ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ·        ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ·        ½ cup water
  • ·        1 cup buttermilk
  • ·        2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ·        8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ·        1 cup granulated sugar
  • ·        1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ·        2 large eggs

For the custard sauce:

  • ·        2 cups milk
  • ·        ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ·        ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ·        4 large egg yolks
  • ·        ⅛ teaspoon almond extract


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350T. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne. In a separate bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and ½ cup water. Stir together the buttermilk and vanilla.

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and the granulated and brown sugars together until light in texture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cocoa mixture. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Scrape the batter into the pan and tap the pan on a countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Invert (right side up) on to a cake plate, removing the paper.

To make the custard sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and cinnamon and bring to a simmer over low heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk about a cup of the warm milk into the egg yolks, then whisk the warmed eggs back into the pan. Cook, whisking, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the almond extract.

Cut the cake into serving pieces and serve with the custard sauce.


Source: The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/10th second at ISO-3200