Tartine’s Devil’s Food Layer Cake

After making Sweetapolita’s Neapolitan cake a few weeks ago, I’ve been itching for another attempt at cake making. Thumbing through my cook books, Tartine’s devil’s food layer cake caught my eye. While I enjoyed the simplicity of its appearance, a crumb coated cake topped off with a dollop of ganache, I knew with a name like that I’d be in for a chocolaty treat. And boy was I ever. This was by far the most rich and luscious cake I’ve ever made, let alone eaten.





Comprised of bittersweet chocolate ganache and a fresh batch of caramel sandwiched between five layers of¬†chocolate cake (with over 1 cup of cocoa powder and 1 pound of sugar), this cake is definitely not for the faint of heart. After carefully layering each decadent ingredient,¬† the cake is covered with a thin layer of even more ganache and coated it with a dusting of leftover cake crumbs. I really loved how this came out. It’s the ultimate chocolate lover’s cake without giving you a tooth ache. With such intense flavor, a small sliver is all you need to satisfy your craving. From the smooth ganache, to the gooey caramel, to the crunch of the cake crumb, the combination of textures were a great variation of the theme: chocolate.

I wouldn’t say this was hard to make, just a bit time consuming. But what layered cakes aren’t? Finishing the cake would have been a lot easier if I used a rotating cake stand but I’ve yet to purchase one. Even still, I’m quite happy with how even my layers of ganache came out. My only criticism is I wish the outer crumb coat was more even, but again, without the cake stand I was too scared to move it around too much.

You can find the entire recipe online here, but I’d definitely recommend buying the book.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

la domestique April 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I love an intensely chocolate cake, and can’t wait to try this (I must pull out my copy of Tartine). Looks like you did a lovely job with it!

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 11, 2012 at 12:46 am

Thank you! If you can believe it, this cake was even better the next day. All the flavors must have come together after a bit of a rest. Definitely a once a year cake though!

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Chelsea April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Sooo beautiful. At first I thought that was cocoa powder dusted on the outside–I can’t believe it’s cake crumbs! Love that. And it looks even to me! As well as delicious!

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 11, 2012 at 12:48 am

I can’t imagine how chocolatey it would have been with cocoa powder! I used my trusty vitamix to pulverize the crumbs and was actually afraid I made them too fine. The extra crumbs were dried out in the oven so it gave a really nice texture to the outside. I’ve got to try this on other cakes!

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Fresh and Foodie April 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

OMG, I love Tartine. I visit SF once or twice a year, and I always make a trip to Tartine for a loaf of brioche (that I usually eat myself on the walk back to the hotel).

This cake is really beautiful. Job well done.

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Thank you! I’ve been to Tartine twice so far, and every time we go we stuff ourselves silly. I think my boyfriend and I alone spent $50 both times.

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Angela B April 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Sara! This cake looks incredible. I feel myself drooling while scrolling, down haha.

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thank you! This is most definitely one of my favorite things I’ve made (and photographed) so far.

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Joyce April 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

That is freaking beautiful.

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thank you!

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Dyan April 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm

this is sooo pretty! you have the best dessert pictures. and, it’s a tartine recipe! the best!

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Thanks so much, Dyan! I am trying to simplify my food photography, and then slowly add more props/styling when I get more comfortable.

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Natalie (Fashion Intel) April 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

OMG, this is beautiful!

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen April 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

:) Just prepping for all the cakes I’ll be making for your big birthday bash!

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Amy May 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

What kind of pan are you using for the cakes? They look so beautiful!

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CarolAnn October 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm

This cake looks wonderful! I thought that before you mentioned caramel! Slightly imperfect cakes have much more appeal to me, although I see nothing imperfect about this tall chocolate creation. I love ganache and love working with it. I never thought of covering it with dried cake crumbs, what a yummy idea! I always plan my cake time to allow for several hours, overnight is better, in the frig before serving. It seems to make for a moister, denser more flavorful cake. This cake I could make a sliver last an hour and savor every bite. My favorite chocolate cake is Collette’s Chocolate Bourbon Coconut Cake with dark choc ganace. Oh my!

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