Posting date: Sunday, 27 October
For the Devil Dog Cakes
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1.5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), melted and cooled
1 large egg yolk
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
For the Malted Buttercream Filling
1/4 cup malted milk powder
2 Tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Baked Note: You can bump up the malt quotient and add a pleasant texture to the Devil Dogs by rolling the edges of the filled dogs in coarsely chopped or crushed malted milk balls (they will stick to the filling)—just 1/4 cup of Whoppers or Maltesers should be plenty to coat all 12 dogs.
Make the Devil Dog Cakes
Sift the cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the chocolate and egg yolk and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again, then turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl again, then mix for a few more seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the bowl one last time and gather the batter into the middle. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scrape the chilled batter into a pastry bag fitted with the largest simple tip (usually about 1/2 inch in diameter). Slowly pipe twenty-four 4-by-1-inch long strips (approximately 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter in each, but no more) directly onto the parchment, about 1 1/2 inches apart. (Alternatively, pipe the batter in “bone” shapes by piping 2 strips side by side with a flare on the top and bottom of each strip (think two elongated back-to-back Cs).
Bake the cakes for 7 to 9 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until they are just dry to the touch and spring back ever so slightly when gently pressed. Do not overbake.
Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Then use a spatula to transfer the cakes to the racks to cool completely.
Make the Malted Buttercream Filling
In a small bowl, dissolve the malted milk powder in the boiling water. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, cream, and malted milk mixture. Whisk in the flour and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl (to hasten the cooling process). Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute to release excess heat and set aside to cool to nearly room temperature.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and stream in the cooled milk mixture. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until the filling is fluffy and stiff peaks start to form.
Assemble the Devil Dogs
Turn half of the cooled cakes flat side up. Using a pastry bag, or a small spoon and offset spatula, pipe or spread about 3 tablespoons of filling onto the flat side of a cake, place another cake flat side down on top of the filling, and press down slightly so that the filling just spreads to the edges of the cake. Repeat until all the cakes are used. Put the Devil Dogs in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 minutes to firm up before serving.
Devil Dogs are meant to be eaten the day they are made. If you really want to save a few, they can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, up to 24 hours.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.