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Chocolate crumbs from a cake in a white ramekin

Easy Devil’s Food Cake Dessert Pizza Crumb Finish

Let them eat pizza… cake? Not quite. We’re not telling you to top your pizza with cake or, better yet, make a whole pizza from cake. But cake crumbs do provide a nice textural contrast as a topping or garnish for dessert pizzas already coated with your favorite sweet spread (think Biscoff, Nutella, pudding, ganache, or even your favorite ice cream or gelato).

The crumbs in this recipe come from devil’s food cake, a moist, rich chocolate layer cake known for being airy and light. The recipe was developed as a component for a Brooklyn Blackout Dessert Pizza featuring a cocoa dough, and it taps into some of our favorite approaches used by Epicurious and Smitten Kitchen. In addition to combining some of our favorite elements of these and other recipes, we substituted sour cream for buttermilk and used extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil for a savory finish more redolent ofh pizza.

This recipe produces a very moist crumb. You can use these on their own, but we enjoyed toasting some of them, then blending them and serving them in tandem with untoasted crumbs for a lighter, dryer garnish full of textural contrast. 

Featured in: Brooklyn Blackout Pizza: A Labor of Love and Nostalgia.

Arthur Bovino is Ooni’s Head of Pizza Content. Arthur is the founder of The 101 Best Pizzas in America and author of “Buffalo Everything A Guide to Eating in ‘The Nickel City’”“and “The Buffalo, New York Cookbook: 70 Recipes from The Nickel City.” You can follow him on Instagram @nycbestpizza.

35 minutes active time and 55 minutes passive (plus an additional 10 minutes active time and 2 hours passive time for drier crumbs)

4 cups (480 grams) moist crumbs and 3 cups (300 grams) dried cake crumbs (enough for at least 2 to 3 heavily covered dessert pizzas.

cake pan
large bowl
cooling rack
conventional home oven 
food processor or blender


butter, for greasing the pan
1 cup (175 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 grams) sour cream
¼ cup (75 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon (13 grams) vanilla
1 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda

Preheat your conventional oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour one 8-inch-diameter cake pan. 

Whisk the sugar, sour cream, olive oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl to combine. 

Sift in flour, cocoa, and baking soda, then use a spatula and stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the greased and floured pan, then place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). 

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and let it cool completely. Turn the oven down to 150°F (65°C). 

Once the cake has cooled, divide it into thirds. In a large bowl, gently crumble two-thirds of the cake and reserve, covered, until ready to use. The crumbs will be moist and quite large.

Crumble the remaining cake into moist crumbs and place them on a lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 150°F (65°C) for 2 hours (or until sandy to the touch). Pulse in a food processor or blender and keep in a sealed container until ready to use. They will have a lighter, drier texture. 

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