Depending on where you grew up, devil dogs may be a kind of hot dog, a kind of snack cake (akin to a Twinkie or Ding Dong) or a Marine. I’m in the latter camp — which is why I knew I had to make them.
I had been thinking about making these for a friend who is a Marine, but I ended up making a chocolate cake (which I will post at some point). Then my own darling Devil Dog informed me at about 9:15 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day that I was supposed to make dessert for the next night. And it was for dinner at the house of people I hadn’t met. And I knew the wife is a good cook.
I was kind of freaking out… and then I realized that these could be perfect. After all, my husband is a Marine and we were going to a Navy house. Plus, these are cute, don’t take hours to make and looked very kid-friendly.
Unfortunately, I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and neglected to spray the jelly roll pan before pouring the cake batter in it. I think it would have looked a little prettier if I had, but it still came out relatively well.
Apparently the real (commercially produced) Devil Dogs have rounded edges — more like a hotdog. So if you have a hotdog-shaped cookie cutter, go for it. Otherwise, a rectangle cutter or sharp knife will do.
Don’t be alarmed when the first part of this frosting resembles mashed potatoes. I was concerned, but the finished product is super fluffy and tastes great. I dyed mine green because it was a little too yellow for my taste… and it was the day after St. Patrick’s Day.
The Pioneer Woman put a maraschino cherry on top of hers, which was super cute. But since I was using green frosting (and didn’t have any maraschino cherries), I just put some green sprinkles on top.
Ooh-rah. Semper Fi Devil Dog!
Devil Dogs (as interpreted by the Pioneer Woman)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 sticks butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa and stir.
Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
Mix together buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Grease a sheet cake pan or jelly roll pan, then pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Allow cake to cool, then turn cake out onto flat surface. Cut into rectangles and refrigerate until ready to use.
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (use half-and-half or heavy cream if you want frosting to be thicker/richer — I used 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup skim milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar!)
Maraschino cherries or sprinkles
Pour milk into a small saucepan. Turn on heat (I think I put it on medium — the recipe didn’t say) and immediately whisk in flour, stirring mixture constantly until it thickens. You want it to be very thick — like brownie mix. Remove from heat and let it cool. (To expedite cooling, throw a bunch of ice cubes in your sink and nestle the saucepan in the ice, stirring the mixture occasionally, for about 10 minutes.) Stir in vanilla.
While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Once the milk/flour/vanilla mixture is completely cool, add it to the butter/sugar and beat it like crazy, until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough.
Place frosting/filling in a plastic bag with a hole at the end or a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe frosting onto the not-shiny side of one rectangle of cake, then top with another rectangle (the shiny sides should face out). Pipe a dollop of frosting on top of the cake sandwich and gently press a maraschino cherry into the frosting (or dust lightly with sprinkles). Continue until all devil dogs are assembled and ready for battle.