The Slow-Cooked Sentence

A milestone for 10-year-old mayflies*

Rachael Conlin Levy

My older sons turned 10 and bought themselves red unicycles. They share a birthday, a bedroom, even underwear. But when it comes to cake their tastes diverge: Max asked for angel food, while Sam requested devils. So last weekend my sweet Sam and I measured and melted and made a tender chocolate cake and frosted it with his favorite flavor, salted caramel.

I tinkered with the recipe quite a bit because I was short on a number of the ingredients, but it still turned out velvety and moist. Max’s angel food cake was made by my sister Kyna, so you will have to bug her for the recipe. Here’s mine:


Devils Food Cake
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2000
yields one 2-layer cake + six cupcakes

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (substituted cocoa powder + oil for 2 of the ounces)
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour (substituted all-purpose flour + cornstartch)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened (substituted oil for 2 of the tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (substituted plain whole-milk yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment. Combine chocolate and cocoa in a bowl, pour hot water over and whisk until smooth. Put your butter in another bowl and beat on medium-high speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg. Add sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla. Beat some more. Mix flours, baking soda and salt together. Add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half the chocolate mixture. Repeat until gone, but don’t overbeat. Divide batter between cake pans and cupcake tins. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes, then remove them from their pans. Cool completely before icing.

*Where I write a poem comparing my boys to bugs.

8 responses to “A milestone for 10-year-old mayflies*”

  1. Andrea says:

    I love it–angel and devil food. Twins are so cool (and those cakes look fabulous!!). And how great they are on those unicycles already (though what happened to the one that crashed at the end???). Congratulations on 10 years, mama of twins (you know that equals 20, right?)

  2. anno says:

    Turning the corner into the double digits is such a big deal… and with twins? Well, twice the event, I suspect. Love the idea of angel and devil’s food cakes … Happy birthday to both!

  3. Your mayflies and their cakes remind me of my sis and me. I always requested strawberry whipped cream cake for my birthday, she liked German chocolate. Cute video : )

  4. Holly says:

    OMG Max and Sam are 10 already. So hard to believe. I loved watching the video and seeing their favorite cakes. When Aunt Sheryl and I shared a bday cake it was always a challenge whose favorite was served. Looks funW Looking forward to seeing you in July! Love Aunt Holly

  5. Rachael says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your wishes. I will share them with my boys. As for Max’s fall, he dusted himself off and went on to pedal another day!

  6. Heather says:

    Double Happy Birthday Guys!!

    From The Hayes Gang (including Alex and Anna)

  7. kyndale says:

    The cakes look so yummy! We still have a package for your kids that I have to send out!

    Love you guys!

  8. Angel food cake and devil’s food cake for each twin? That’s the sort of uber-cuteness you expect to see in movies or young-adult books, as written by adults. How awesome that the boys picked those for themselves! They look great on those unicycles too. I watched them thinking, “I can’t…” One of the best things about being a kid is you haven’t quite yet learned what you “can’t” do, so you go right ahead and do it. 🙂

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