This is an over the top decadent, absolutely nothing healthy about it, guaranteed to make you gain fifty pounds just thinking about it, two layer 13 x 9 cake — and each layer is a different kind of cake — with each of those being given new twists and tweaks to their original recipe. It came about when I had lots of eggs that needed to be used up before they expired.
We had been commuting back and forth 50 miles one way once or twice daily while my late husband was hospitalized for an extended period of time (the first of many over a period of about a year or so) — and we were having to eat on the run a great deal at the hospital cafeteria — so the eggs at home just weren’t getting used up.
Then, when he was initially transferred to the ICU (also the first time of many), we weren’t allowed to visit for a few days.
Sick with worry, I desperately needed something to do and for me that usually means cooking or baking. I had already passed some of the time that first day by cooking up a bunch of different healthy meals and putting some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator — so that left baking.
I made a bunch of different cakes to take to the hospital staff on the various units he’d been on, but still had an abundance of eggs that needed to be used up and way too much time on my hands — thus, my Heaven & Hell Cake creation was born.
Hell Layer of Cake (a devilishly dark chocolate with dark rum Pound cake)
4 cups butter, softened at room temperature
4 cups sugar
1 large whole egg plus enough yolks to equal 3 cups, MUST be room temperature
6 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Myer’s Dark Rum
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark baking cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
Heaven Layer of Cake (a vanilla and rum extract Angel Food cake)
2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups sugar plus 4 tablespoons sugar
24 large egg whites, MUST be room temperature
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs Rum extract (do not use actual rum — cake will not perform properly)
Crisco and extra cake flour to prepare one or two 13 x 9 cake pan(s)
Hershey’s chocolate syrup
Myer’s Dark Rum
1 jar Smucker’s Raspberry Jam
2 cups homemade whipped cream
1 small jar maraschino cherries, plus juice/syrup, no stems
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
natural red food coloring
Separate each egg individually in a small glass custard dish first, then if no yolk pour into measuring or mixing container. If yolk gets into the whites start over and do not use for Heaven layer.
Reserve the yolks and any mishaps in a separate bowl for the Hell layer portion of the cake.
Using Crisco lightly and very evenly grease coating bottom and sides of one of the two 13 x 9 cake pan(s). Flour pan using the extra cake flour.
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together.
Whisk in the egg and yolks until smooth.
Whisk in sour cream, rum, and vanilla.
Add flour about a half cup at a time mixing well after each addition.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
If tops appear to be browning too soon cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
Cool completely and turn out onto cake board.
Poke holes with handle of wooden spoon and fill each with rum.
When rum has absorbed into the cake, fill holes with Hershey’s syrup.
Place a double layer of paper towels around the outer bottom edges all the way around to catch excessive drips and to prevent excess from oozing off the cake board.
Change out paper towels with fresh ones as needed.
It is too risky transferring a two layer sheet cake on and off of a rack so the paper towels are the better option.
Spread Hershey’s syrup generously over top of cake layer to within 1/4 inch of the sides. Leave 1/4 inch un-coated to allow for natural spreading and oozing.
Drizzle generously with caramel syrup.
If using only the one cake pan, wash and dry well. Do NOT grease and flour as before, leave UN-GREASED, line bottom only of pan with parchment, and set aside OR grease and flour ONLY THE BOTTOM. If you grease the sides, the cake will not adhere to the sides of the pan properly and sink during baking.
NOTE: Normally, you put angel food in un-prepared pan, and when done baking flip it upside down to cool until it falls out of the pan on its own, but special exceptions are needed for this recipe because the cake needs to come out the pan still hot from the oven.
Increase and preheat oven temperature to 375 F degrees.
Whisk the 1-1/2 cups sugar plus 4 tablespoons sugar and 2 cups cake flour separately; set aside.
Combine the extracts in a small bowl; set aside.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt just until it forms soft peaks.
Depending up size of mixing bowl, you may have to split the ingredients in half and do in two separate batches. Make sure there aren’t any unbeaten egg whites hiding on the bottom.
Add the remaining sugar slowly, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
If using a stand mixer and you have a mixing guard for your mixer bowl now would be a good time to attach it.
Beating on LOW, add extracts then flour mixture slowly about 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time.
Fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour into prepared cake pan.
Move a knife through batter to remove large air pockets.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.
Do NOT cool.
Run rubber spatula gently around the sides to loosen. Bang bottom of pan on firm surface only if necessary until able to shake pan so that cake slides easily back and forth. (NOTE: Normally, angel food cake is removed from oven and flipped over to allow to cool upside down until it slides out of the pan on its own — but because it needs to be hot for this recipe, special exceptions are being made.)
Carefully position and dump out still hot from the oven Heaven on top of Hell. Gently push if needed to position better. Peel away parchment paper carefully.
To Add Toppings:
Spread raspberry jam smoothly and evenly over top of still hot Heaven layer.
Sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips.
Allow to cool completely.
If you haven’t replaced paper towels at the base of Hell layer recently to catch drips then do so now.
After cake is completely cooled:
Make homemade whipped cream and spoon or pipe “nests” (small mounds) around the outer edges of Heaven side by side touching slightly. Make a few nests scattered around spaced apart over the top. Top each nest with a cherry. (See notes below for make ahead option).
Drizzle thin streams of maraschino cherry juice across top and allow to run down the sides.
Drizzle top with Hershey’s syrup and caramel syrup allowing to drip down the sides.
Allow to rest until no longer dripping changing out paper towels as needed.
When no longer oozing or dripping, remove paper towels and wipe the cake board clean.
Mix cherry juice/syrup and a few drops of food coloring with whipped cream until red.
Spoon or pipe the now reddish whipping cream to form a border of nests all along the bottom outer edge of the Hell layer then coat the cream lightly with chocolate sprinkles and top each with a cherry. (See notes below for make ahead option).
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 or 5 hours.
Eventually, the whipping cream will begin separate so the cake will need to be stored frozen before that happens.
The rate at which that separation happens depends upon the thickness of the cream, the temperature, altitude, etc.
Make the whipped cream ahead and spoon or pipe nests (mounds) onto waxed paper covered sheet pan and top with cherries. Freeze uncovered. Once frozen, peel off the waxed paper. Store between sheets of same and/or fresh waxed paper or plastic wrap in an airtight container until ready to decorate the cake with them — about 2 hours before ready to serve the cake — to allow nests time to thaw. Do not handle too long or they will melt. If you are unable to accomplish the task quickly enough try dipping fingers in iced water and dry quickly before handling nests.
To freeze cake:
Store in cake or other card board box large enough (and tall enough) to accommodate the cake without touching the sides or top, and place in the freezer.
Wait until whipped cream and toppings are fully frozen and stiff.
Remove from box.
You may now safely cover cake — going completely around under the cake board in thick plastic wrap — then repeat using heavy duty foil — to prevent freezer burn. The thicker and better it is wrapped, the longer it will last without becoming freezer burned.
Place back in its storage box and return to the freezer.
Well wrapped, it will keep in the freezer indefinitely.
To serve, remove from the freezer and allow at least 4 to 6 hours to fully thaw.
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