In reading the Sunday papers, all of the so-called food experts (and why are they experts anyway? Do they feed a dozen people every night?) say you should have one cake and 2 pies for Thanksgiving dinner. I do believe that my hungry hordes would say that was way too meager a dessert selection, so I make much more, as you may have noticed. Besides, dessert makes everyone ecstatic. A great meal makes them happy, but everyone remembers dessert.
So, if you're going to just make one cake, my boys would respectfully suggest that this is the one you should choose. I found it in the red plaid cookbook, and I've made it at least 493 times since July, in an effort to create the very best variation for you.
DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE
2 cups flour
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp milk powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup egg beaters or 2 eggs
1-1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 350F. Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, and stir with a wire whisk until the mixture is light tan. (Side note: this has the same effect as sifting all of the dry ingredients together, without the bother of using the little turn-the-handle thingy. Use this trick any time you have to sift stuff. Another Marjie Time Saver.) Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, beat at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased 13x9" pan or a bundt pan. Bake the 13x9 for 35 to 38 minutes, or the bundt for 38 to 42 minutes.
(That's all that was left the next morning. Should be testimony to its goodness.)
Important notes: You can use regular sugar. The confectioner's sugar gives it a finer grain. Reduce the flour by 2 tbsp and add 2 tbsp cornstarch when using regular sugar if you want, but the boys really didn't notice. If you don't have dry milk, you can replace the water with milk. You can use eggs or egg beaters with the same texture result; 3 egg whites will make the cake a little stickier, but just as flavorful. Lastly, the oil. The recipe called for shortening. Shortening makes a smoother cake, oil makes a flakier cake, butter or margarine makes the cake flakier and a little more flavorful. The boys concluded oil gave it the best flavor and texture combination overall.
Cool the cake as per your usual procedure, then frost. I like vanilla buttercream frosting best, but the boys are always clamoring for chocolate buttercream. The choice is yours.