Oct 21, 2011

RQ: What's the difference between Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory?

What's the difference between Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory?
Starting with the assumption that Hell is more Devilish and Heaven is more Angelic, and that Purgatory is somewhere in between the two, a combination of both would result in a place Goldilocks would be more likely to stick her fork.
Baking a Venn Diagram to clearly illustrate the differences and similarities of the three in cake-form. There is no other tangible way of knowing.


We have made a Venn Diagram cake. And not any old Venn Diagram cake. We combined Angel Food Cake and Devil's Food Cake into an edible Heaven & Hell Venn Diagram. Because yes.


Dave had a lab party, and our dessert contribution was supposed to be "sciency." We somehow came up with this idea while brainstorming in the store. We were standing very close to sprinkles and cake mixes, which I decided to grab. I usually bake cakes from scratch, but we were already at the store, and I hadn't planned ahead. This is more of an instruction than a recipe. We made this with:

  • Angel Food Cake Mix (for Heaven) + Italian Meringue + Pearly Sugar Sprinkles
  • Devil's Food Cake Mix (for Hell) + Brigadeiro + Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Marshmallows (For the little Angels & Demons) + Candy Eyes
  • Time 

    We started by baking the cakes. The Angel Food cake took longer than I expected. Apparently you need a special pan, and you can't grease it, and it has to cool upside down or sideways, etc. It's because it is so fluffy and delicate. AND PICKY. Anyway, I used a silicone/glass 9" pan and let it cool sideways. When both cakes were cool and ready, we used the bottom of the pan, made of glass, as a mold to cut into the cakes.

    Cutting the cakes into a Venn Diagram.
    We started by cutting into the chocolate cake, using the glass. Then we used the leftover piece to cut into the Angel Food cake.

    Purgatory is roughly 50% Angel cake (bottom), and 50% Devil's on top.
    Once we had both pieces cut out (which should be the same size), we cut them in half (horizontally speaking) in order to have an accurate Venn Diagram intersection (which we like to call "Purgatory").
    The pieces should fit nicely together.

    The other leftover bit can be given to the people who are hanging around your kitchen, waiting to poke their big curious fingers into your final cake.

    Once the cake's pieces were fitting nicely into each other, they got separated I prepared some icing. They were separately iced to keep them "clean".

    I prepared Italian meringue for Heaven. I like the recipe I used since you have to pour the boiling sugar-water into the egg-whites, which steams and cooks the foam as you blend.

    After covering Heaven and Purgatory with the meringue, I prepared Brigadeiro frosting (a variation on the traditional Brigadeiro recipe) for Hell. I can post these recipes if there is an interest--it turned out perfect (click on the name of the frosting or visit the appendix section below to get the recipes). I used a stick to make Brigadeiro-stripes on the Purgatory bit.

    Heaven was sprinkled pearly white sugar sprinkles, and Hell with regular chocolate sprinkles. Purgatory was sprinkled with both.

    I am glad I had put some waxed paper under them as I frosted the cakes. It made the final results cleaner.

    Italian Meringue.

    As a final touch, we opened up a bag of marshmallows and a bag of candy eyes. We dipped one end of each marshmallow into one of the two frosting bowls and that was enough to hold the eyes in place. For extra cuteness, arrange them around the cake somehow. Make a heavenly war scene.
    This is Dave making Angels and Demons.
    What the marshmallows looked like in the end.
    I hope you liked this post. I am not a professional baker nor a photographer, and I have a very crappy camera. I wish I could take gorgeous pictures of this thing, like the fancy Martha Stewarts of food blogging, but I'll just have to shut up and live with eating good cake. Oh well.

    Final result. Very tasty.

    Hypothesis partially confirmed. Goldilocks pointed Purgatory out as her clear favorite. Additionally, Hell shows evidence of being more "Devilish" than expected. Further investigation recommended.

    Appendix 1a: Brigadeiro and Brigadeiro Hack
    Appendix 1b: Italian Meringue


    1. It made me hungry...

    2. (followed the link over from Neatorama, hi)
      What a brilliant idea! I do hope you post the frosting recipes, to encourage other culinarily-inclined geeks if nothing else. :)

    3. Thank you cygirl. They are easy to make, so I believe I will publish the recipes very soon!