entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: cenk’s devil’s food cake

by Kristina Gill

Cenk Sönmezsoy is the detail-oriented chocoholic behind the lovely food blog, Cafe Fernando. The first time my friend sent me a link to the blog, I thought, “Why is she sending me to some shop’s website??” But then the page loaded and I was bowled over by all the beautiful chocolate concoctions I saw, click after click. Given his penchant for chocolate, it only made sense for Cenk to offer us a dramatic devil’s food cake with ginger-spiced ganache. Do you know many people who can resist a chocolate layer cake with a luscious ganache? The only person I ever met who could was allergic to chocolate. — Kristina

About Cenk Sönmezsoy: Cenk Sönmezsoy is a food blogger, photographer, food stylist and a shameless chocoholic from İstanbul, Turkey. In 2006, Cenk started his award-winning food blog Cafe Fernando to share his kitchen adventures. On his blog’s fourth anniversary, he ditched his corporate job and became a full-time blogger. He is currently working on his first cookbook, which is scheduled for publication in Turkey in September 2011. His blog is named after The Golden Girls character Rose Nylund’s (played by the amazing Betty White) one-eyed teddy bear, Fernando. You can visit his portfolio here.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Biscoff Ganache and Chocolate Shards

Yields one 8-inch, two-layer cake
Serves 8-10

For the Devil’s Food Cake

  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2/3 cup (50 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, scalded
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Biscoff* Ganache

  • 4.5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, chopped
  • 4.5 ounces (150 grams) milk (40% cacao) chocolate, chopped
  • one 14-ounce (400 grams) jar Biscoff spread*
  • 1 2/3 cups (400 grams) heavy cream, cold

*Biscoff spread is made from spiced cookies, like gingersnaps. You can substitute peanut or hazelnut butter for the Biscoff spread. If unsweetened, add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

For the Chocolate Shards

4 ounces (120 grams) bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, chopped


In order for the chocolate shards to stick to the cake easily, the whipped ganache should be at room temperature, so make sure to have them ready by the time you are finished with the ganache.

Place the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt, stirring often. Place a 16-inch-long parchment paper on your work surface. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper and using an offset spatula, spread it in a thin and even layer, about 1/3 of an inch off each edge. Place a second sheet of same-sized parchment paper on top and gently press to release the air bubbles. Starting with one short end, roll the parchment paper tightly into an-inch-wide tube. Place it seam side down on a rimmed baking tray and chill in the refrigerator until set, for at least 2 hours.
Have a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready and remove the tube from the refrigerator. Unroll the tube in one quick motion, which creates the chocolate shards. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper, and with the help of a large offset spatula go underneath the pieces, pick them up and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to use.

You can make the chocolate shards 3 days in advance.

Making the Devil’s Food Cake

1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment papers, dust with cocoa powder, tap out excess and set aside.

2. Sift cocoa powder into a medium bowl, add boiling water and whisk until the cocoa is completely dissolved. Add milk and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 5 more minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in vanilla.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture.

6. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through for even baking. Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then take out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Making the Whipped Biscoff Ganache

Place both chocolates in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt, stirring often. Remove from heat and whisk in the Biscoff spread. Add the heavy cream and with the help of an electric mixer, whisk until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat, as the frosting will become grainy.

Composing the Cake

1. Remove parchment papers from the bottoms of the cakes. Using a long, serrated knife, remove the top crusts to flatten the surface of the cakes. Place one cake on an 8-inch cardboard round or your serving plate (wide strips of parchment paper placed under the cake will keep the serving plate clean after frosting).

2. Frost the top with a little more than 1/3 of the ganache. Place the second cake on top and frost the top and the sides with the remaining ganache.

3. Take the frozen chocolate chards out of the refrigerator and gently stick the shards to the ganache with the help of a tweezer. Use long pieces for the sides and smaller pieces for the top. Place the cake in the refrigerator until the ganache is firmly set, for about an hour, then serve.

Why Cenk Chose This Recipe
Devil’s food cake is my definition of comfort food. Since I like it so much and bake it more frequently than one really should, I occasionally play around with the frosting and presentation. This time around, I wanted to incorporate my current obsession — the Biscoff spread (also known as Speculoos cream in some parts of the world). For the presentation, I decided to go with chocolate shards, which must be the most elegant chocolate decoration of all time. And considering how little effort you put in, the payoff is huge. Hearing the chocolate breaking into shards as you unroll the tube is worth the effort alone. Once you stick the shards to the frosting, your cake looks like a million bucks. Bon appétit.

Suggested For You


  • How have I made it through life so far without chocolate shards – they are divine. Beautiful post.

  • What does biscoff spread taste like? I can’t find any information about it online, and I’m curious.

  • His website is addictive and soo good. Some of the best food photography I’ve ever seen… and everything is sooo yummy!

  • Cenk is an amazing photographer, blogger, and prepares the most amazing recipes… I keep visiting his websites for updates.. I cannot wait to purchase his upcoming book.

  • @Emily—Biscoff spread is made from Biscoff cookies, which I recently discovered are THE MOST DUHLISH things on the planet. They are hazelnut flavored and very thin, and they serve them on Southwest Airline flights, if I recall correctly. We had them in my office a few weeks ago, and I kid you not, I (not a cookie fan) ate at least 40.

  • This cake looks like art. It made me stop and take a moment to admire how the chocolate is placed around the edges, how it is unexpected, the edges are sharp to contrast with the softness of the cake, the luxurious colour… it is phenomenal.

  • Did you know that there’s a Haagen Dazs speculoos ice cream? At least here in Holland there is. Yum!! It tastes great. I love speculoos. In Holland the same cookes are called speculaas and they are made for St. Nicholas’ Day.
    The cake looks spectacular!

  • Kristina, Grace – Once again, thanks for this great opportunity. I am honored to be featured on Design Sponge.

    And many thanks to all for the nicest comments!

    Barbara – Sorry, the plate is quite old and I bought it used on eBay, so can’t point you to a store or a website. It writes “Style House, Stoneware Bermuda, Made in Japan” on the bottom. Hope this helps.

  • Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. You just can’t go wrong with insane amounts of chocolate, especially in such a beautifully crafted cake!

  • OH! <3 love you Grace! I'm so incredibly inspired by this post and Cenk's entire blog. I want to bake EVERYTHING!

    Just in time too, I was thinking I needed something special for a special someone this weekend. Yum!

  • i made this cake for a halloween party this weekend…it was definitely a time investment but the final result made the time well worth it.

    i substituted the biscoff spread for peanut butter which yielded a very rich ganache, i’d recommend using less pb than called for in the recipe.

  • Made this for a dinner party on Saturday – it was the hit of the party. The chocolate shards came out JUST like the directions said they would. I put them on with my fingers (not tweezers) and that worked fine too. I used Nutella instead of the biscoff spread, but will definitely buy the spread for the next time I make it (one of the party guests are demanding a reprise for their birthday in a month!)

  • I made two of these this weekend for a dinner party and an engagement party and they were awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us.

  • My son, who is a forester wants me to make a version of this cake using a white chocolate and coloring it so it looks like a sycamore tree’s bark and do a woodgrain in the top of it for his birthday cake.

  • i’m making this right now & substituted nutella for biscoff, since i couldn’t find it. i can’t get the ganache to whip! it’s just a big chocolate (delicious) mess

  • fantastic recipe!!! I LOVE devil’s food cake and I think I’m going to be trying this out for my friend’s belated birthday in January :) thanks for the fabulous idea!

  • I’m tickled that bing has bring me here to your place in the web:).The style of presenting your point of view is astounding! Carry on the good job!

  • Just placed my order for the biscoff spread as soon as I read this. Can’t wait to make it!

  • this is the most beautiful cake I have ever seen! I’m a bit intimidated to create it, but I think I’ll just use the photo as my computer background photo…

  • AWESOME cake. I couldn’t find the Biscoff spread at the store (sadly) and I didn’t want to use peanut butter, so I tried Nutella (chocolate Hazelnut spread) It turned out great–what a beautiful cake, loved the chocolate shards.

  • I made this yesterday for my daughter’s 4th birthday and substituted the spread for Nutella. It was a big hit ad everybody though the cake was ordered lol I was a bit apprehensive about cutting the cake with the shards but the good thing is that at room temperature, they become softer and are easy to cut. Great recipe!

  • What a fabulous idea for chocolate, loving the photos as well. I followed a link here for the recchiuti brownie and frosting recipes, but I can’t find them anywhere in your archive. Will you kindly repost them or point me in the right direction? Thanks so much.

  • I made this yesterday for my cousin’s birthday, I was so excited to try it as it absolutely looks like a beautiful work of art! The ganache and chocolate shards came out delicious and perfect, but the cake was very dry! It was the Biscoff ganache that saved it! Next time I’ll use my usual chocolate cake recipe (black magic cake) as it is the best and I don’t know why I even bother trying other recipes. It took a bit of effort and time to make, using 3 bowls while my other cake only takes 1 bowl to make and less time to make it! You can find Biscoff spread at Cost Plus World Market (I live in California and they also sell the Biscoff cookies here) or get speculoos cookie butter from Trader Joe’s, which is essentially the same thing. Someone mentioned it’s made with hazelnut. It is not, there are no types of nuts in it whatsoever. It’s made European spice cookie similar to gingersnaps. To me, it beat Nutella any day! It’s my new obsession! My black magic cake (super moist and chocolatey) + this whipped Biscoff ganache would be the perfect chocolate cake!!!

  • Made this cake and it is perfect! I’ve been following your blog since over a year ago. I love your posts about Turkey and seeing pictures of the market and the coastline makes me want to live there! Thank you for sharing your talent!

  • Would anybody know how to convert this recipe to accommodate two 12 inch pans instead of two 8 inch pans? I love this cake but just want to make a bigger one. Thanks!

  • Pavel – An 8×2 inch cake pan has a volume of 7 cups and a 12×2 inch cake pan has a volume of 15 cups. Since you’re going to bake two cakes, you should be making 2.14 times (30 cups/14 cups) the batter. I’m sure twice the amount will be enough (and much easier to convert). The cakes might take longer to bake – just insert a toothpick in the center and take the cakes out when it comes out dry. I’d bake the cakes one at a time and definitely use cake strips.

  • My Biscoff ganache never hit the stiff peaks phase… just stayed very, very soft. Delicious, but a huge mess. No idea what I did wrong.

  • Had same problem with ganache not stiffening up after 10-15 min beating, even. Stuck it in fridge, and after I finished coconut cream pie, it whipped nicely. The shards formed to photo perfection. Great directions on that! Haven’t cut into it yet, but it looks like a winner!

  • i made this last year for a friends moms birthday. Needless to say I’m about to make it again!
    I found Biscoff spread years ago. It. Is. Wonderful. ?
    The shards are EASY to make and elevates the presentation to another level.
    Very good cake