During the last year of my army hitch I was given the task of being the overnight baker in my mess hall. It was a strange but happy time. The first pleasure came from listening to Jimi Hendrix on my radio, as opposed to my sergeant barking orders at me. But the bigger surprise was how much I actually enjoyed following recipes, as often in our cooking for the troops, well… honestly we winged it.
Anyway, recently, I took out my collection of Army Quartermasters recipe cards, inspired by the need to bake a cake big enough for 80 people – Army size. I went for this nation's military official Devil Food Cake. Regardless or not whether you're gung-ho about the military, these recipes are damned good. Seriously, the recipe led to a cake that is as moist and luscious as anything you'll get at a fine bakery. Try it. While it may not convert you to rah-rah soldierdom, you'll certainly enjoy what it yields.
Anyway, this recipe calls for a sheet pan cake, somewhat cafeteria looking and unceremonious. Without the usual layered look of a traditional cake which is a lot more eye appealing. So I adapted,9" round springform pans, mixed, baked and cooled. Frosting, found a different source on joyofbaking.com, similar but less sugary from the Army's version. These baking recipes are perfect, and I will revisit them, that's an order!