I Made the Now-Famous “Devil Cakes” Recipe That Won Over Joanna Gaines and It’s a Chocolate Dream
Ever wonder what a $100,000 recipe tastes like? Well, now you can find out. Lu Aussem, home baker and first-ever winner of Joanna Gaines’ show Silos Baking Competition, secured a stack of bills and a spot on Gaines’ Waco-based Silos Baking Co. menu, all thanks to her now-famous devil cakes. Lucky for us, Aussem shared her recipe so we can all get a taste of victory. I had to know if these chocolate whoopie pie lookalikes were worth the hype, so I rounded up my baking supplies and got to work just days after Aussem took home the crown.
What Exactly Are Devil Cakes?
Like the name suggests, Aussem’s recipe is an homage to the classic devil’s food cake, with a rich, dark chocolate flavor and fluffy texture. Rather than one large cake (devil’s food cakes typically have three layers), she makes mini cake sandwiches with a luxuriously thick vanilla filling.
How to Make Lu Aussem’s Devil Cakes
Before you begin this recipe, make sure you’ve allowed certain ingredients — butter, milk, and eggs — to come to room temperature.
To start, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream room-temperature unsalted butter with granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you go. Next beat in vanilla extract, then room-temperature eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Slowly beat in room-temperature milk.
In another large bowl, whisk to combine flour, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift these dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, then beat on low with a mixer until no streaks of flour remain in the batter. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet using a heaping tablespoon, leaving at least two inches between each cookie. Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, until they have doubled in size and feel springy when lightly pressed in the center. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While your cookies are cooling, make the filling. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine whole milk and flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is the texture of mashed potatoes. Remove the pan from heat and let cool completely. Meanwhile, beat room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. When the flour mixture is cool, add it along with granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Continue mixing until the filling is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you go.
Once cookies are cool, match them into pairs. Spread filling on one cookie in an even layer (a cookie scoop works best; see below), then top with the second cookie. Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched.
My Honest Review of Lu Aussem’s Devil Cakes
I really loved the light and fluffy chocolate cakes that make these sandwiches. With intense chocolatey flavor and a satisfying texture akin to a certain devil’s food cookie I loved as a kid (you know the one), the little cakes are good enough to eat on their own. Sandwiched around the creamy, vanilla-heavy filling, they take on an irresistibly delicate texture.
While the vanilla filling is tasty, I’d love to try these devil cakes with a Swiss meringue buttercream, which has a more marshmallow-y flavor and isn’t quite as sweet (I’m a person who loves their desserts straddling the line between sweet and savory). The rich chocolate flavor of the cakes would shine through even more.
2 Tips for Making Lu Aussem’s Devil Cakes
- If you’re in a hurry, transfer your filling mixture from the hot pot to speed things up. Because your oven is already preheating, waiting for your milk and flour mixture to cool doesn’t feel totally practical. To speed up the cooling process, transfer the milk and flour mixture out of the hot pot and into a large, shallow bowl, where it will cool much faster.
- Use a cookie scoop to add filling to your cookies. Instead of using a spoon and an offset spatula or knife to spread the filling onto your cookies, simply plop a scoop of filling into the center of your cookie using a cookie scoop, then gently press on the top cookie, which will flatten the filling into an even layer.