When I read that today was National Devil’s Food Cake Day, I read it as Devil Dog Day. I’m not sure why. I don’t think about Devil Dogs all that often so there’s no real reason why they would take over the part of my brain tasked with identifying what the day’s holiday would be. It made me slide into a relaxed feeling that this would be easy to celebrate. I’ll just go up the street and grab a box of Devil Dogs and all would be good. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was actually Devil’s Food Cake.
Devil’s Food Cake is actually a chocolate cake with a medium-dense but light-texture. There’s more chocolate in the cake which is where the name comes from as you are creating a more sinful cake and it tends to be a bit reddish in hue. The redness comes from the reaction of the cocoa powder to the baking soda and some people will even add in red food coloring to bring out more of the reddish hue. (Info from CooksInfo.com) However other recipes create a nice rich chocolate cake of usual chocolate color. There’s some confusion out there about what exactly a Devil’s Food Cake actually is. In the end, it’s just rich, delicious chocolate cake. And, much to my delight, the cake on the outside of a Devil Dog is considered a Devil’s Food Cake. I could still celebrate as planned.
Devil Dogs come from Drake’s Cakes who have been making them since 1926. They are essentially cream sandwiched between two Devil’s Food Cakes. The name, I assume, comes partly from the Devil’s Food Cake and the latter part from their resemblance to a hot dog. We were never a family that had many of these kind of cakes in house, although we always seemed to have Drake’s Coffee Cakes around. But in regards to Twinkies, Yodels and that sort, my mom never really cared for them. Devil dogs however were different. I think she liked them. I recall my brother did too and on occasion, she would buy a box and my brother would even get one in his lunch. I never much cared for these kind of sweets. I was a cookie guy. Still, I can recall seeing the box in our bread drawer and the name always stood out to me. Today I bought my first box of Devil Dogs. Sadly, there was no public celebration of this. The store manager didn’t take my picture, the clerks did’t cheer, balloons did not fall. To them, it was just moving another box of merchandise.
Today was a scorcher with temps in the nineties so I naturally decided to mow our lawn. This made me particularly hot and sweaty (not to mention covered in pollen, grass and bugs). When I was done, I came inside and enjoyed a nice relaxing shower that brought some life back to me and then I realized I was parched. I chugged a bottle of Gatorade, but I was still thirsty. Plus it was Friday evening. I decided to go with an adult beverage and when I made that decision, I realized I could make a drink with the Devil Dogs. In my last job, I tended to come up with a lot of stupid ideas (some good ones too). But one of my silly ideas was something called Twinkie Drinks which was essentially frozen drinks made using Twinkies or other such bakery creations. My thinking was that they would be popular in that obnoxiously big, silly menu item kind of way. Like those crazy milkshakes that are all the rage. I could never get anyone else behind me on this idea even though we made some one day just to see. Still the idea never left my mind. Today would be a day I could try again. To celebrate today, I created the Frozen Devil.
I started by throwing two Devil Dogs into the blender and then I topped it with some coffee liqueur and some whipped cream vodka. I put in some vanilla ice cream next, along with milk and some ice cubes. Then I blended. It came out a little less-thick than I wanted (and a little boozy), so I added in some more ice cream and ice and blended again. Perfect. I poured it into a glass lined with chocolate and then garnished it with half a devil dog on the brim. I’m not one that usually likes creamy frozen drinks, but this was actually really good. The Devil Dog got blended up so there were no noticeable chunks in the drink (which could have clogged up the straw). It had a nice milk shake kind of taste to it, but in an adult way. You could still taste the booze but just enough. It was creamy, cold and refreshing. I kind of impressed myself. Lola liked it too, but she was not in a spot where she wanted a frozen, sweet drink which I totally understood. You kind of have to be in the mood. Still, she agreed it was tasty. She said it felt like a frozen drink you would get at Fridays which was kind of the taste I was going for. I have to patent this.
I realized that drinking my Devil’s Food Cake might not be appropriate for celebrating so to make sure, later in the night, I had just a plain ol’ Devil Dog. They still come individually wrapped and that’s kind of the whole experience – unwrapping it and licking off any of the cream that seeped out. The cake is really moist and chocolatey too. It’s tasty. There is an element of mass-produced cake to the taste which you would expect, but it was still good. The cream was sweet and light and balanced the chocolate. Plus the cream went from end to end, so you had a bite of it in every bite you took. It’s just a good little snack cake. It was probably a big hit when it hit the streets in 1926 and it still delivers that taste of simple joy in a pinch.
Although I didn’t spend all morning in my kitchen baking an elaborate cake, I still think I gave Devil’s Food Cake a good celebration. I celebrated the joy they bring and I saluted probably one of the most well-known makers of this particular cake. Maybe you turn your nose up at the bakery products that are mass produced and sold at convenience stores, but you should appreciate them for what they are. Drake’s have a long history in America and that’s a tradition that deserves to be recognized. Every package for the last one hundred years has brought sweetness and joy to the purchaser and that’s how any cake should be enjoyed. Plus I got to make a Twinkie Drink®. The Frozen Devil may not catch on right away, but when history unfolds and the folks in the latter part of this century are all abuzz about the joy of the Frozen Devil, let history show that is was created in my kitchen on a very hot day in May and was made in celebration of National Devil’s Food Cake Day. I’ve left my mark. Let the balloons drop now.
Next up: National Quiche Lorraine Day