Sunday, July 14, 2013

Never Fail Devil's Food Cake

Book: The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty
State: Mississippi
Baked Good: "Never Fail" Devil's Food Cake

I'm in this online book group called On the Southern Literary Trail, which hosts two group reads every month.  I can't always spare the time to participate, but when The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty came up, I jumped at the chance.  I'm always trying to read more southern authors, and hadn't yet read anything by her.

In the story, Daniel Ponder is on trial for the murder of his wife, and just like traditional southerners do, everyone in town brings food by.  Here's an excerpt:

There are mentions elsewhere of banana pie and "the kind of fudge that anyone can make," but I was interested in the Never Fail Devil's Food.  I did a little hunting around the internet and found this was one of those recipes intended for people who had to stretch their ingredients or make something with what was around the house.  I found a few versions and went with the one I found most often.

As you'll see, it just lists "fat" as an ingredient, but I imagine the texture would vary depending on what kind was used.  I used vegetable oil.  I interpreted "moderate oven" as 350 and checked it at 20.  I think it ended up baking for 30-35 minutes, since I didn't know what size to pan in.  I poured everything into a 9x9 pan, but probably should have done two rounds.


"Never Fail" Devil's Food Cake

Mix and sift:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon soda

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fat
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup hot water

Add sifted dry ingredients to liquid, beat well.  Bake in moderate oven.

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