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Devil's Food Cake

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Devil's Food Cake

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total prep
Some devil's food cakes call for cocoa, others melted chocolate, which deepens the chocolate flavor (so, too, dusting the pans with unsweetened cocoa powder instead of flour). No one knows who invented devil's food cake though recipes for it appeared in cookbooks as early as 1902.

Tip: If you cream the vanilla with the butter, you’re not likely to forget it.



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch layer cake pans, then dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, tapping out excess. Set pans aside.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together and set aside also.
  • Cream butter and vanilla at high electric mixer speed 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy, scraping bowl with a large rubber spatula several times. Reduce speed to low, add sugar gradually, and beat hard 1 to 2 minutes until light, again scraping bowl. Beat in eggs, then chocolate.
  • At lowest mixer speed, add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry and beating after each addition only enough to combine. Over-beating at this point will toughen the cake.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans and bake on middle oven rack 30 to 35 minutes until cakes pull from sides of pans and are springy to the touch.
  • Cool cakes in upright pans on wire racks 10 minutes, then loosen around edge, invert on wire racks, and cool to room temperature.
  • Fill and frost as desired – Chocolate Butter Cream and Seven-Minute Icing are the two classics for devil’s food cake; basic cookbooks offer both recipes, or you can opt for a prepared frosting. I often sandwich the layers together with an easy butter cream frosting, then swirl Seven-Minute Icing over the top and sides. It’s your call.