When it comes to chocolate cakes my Devil’s Food Cake Recipe is the only chocolate cake recipe you’ll ever need! This traditional chocolate cake is moist with a tender crumb and rich chocolate flavor your whole family will enjoy, not just the chocolate lovers in the household.
I love chocolate and adding my chocolate fudge frosting to this delicious devil’s food cake takes it to another level of chocolatey deliciousness.
A good devil’s food cake should have an intense chocolate flavor, and after one bite I know you’ll agree this is one delicious, rich, intense chocolate cake!
Ingredients to make Devil’s Food Cake
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Devil’s Food Cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Made with simple pantry ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-processed)
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Table salt
- Unsalted butter
- Vegetable oil
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- Sour cream
- Whole milk
Why use butter and oil? Butter is 18% water, so when the batter bakes, some of that liquid evaporates. The oil replaces that liquid and also adds more fat to the batter, making a more tender cake. It also helps coat the flour, which keeps the layers from being tough.
Sour Cream: Sour cream contains one of the highest fat contents of dairy products. The extra fat content helps make the cake moist and rich. Full-fat Greek yogurt can be used as a replacement for sour cream.
Coffee: If you’re not a coffee drinker and don’t keep grounds to make coffee, a good substitute is instant coffee or instant espresso. The bitter coffee balances the sweetness of the chocolate, keeping the cake from being too sweet. Coffee also enhances the chocolate flavor, making it more complex and intense.
Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar in the recipe adds flavor and moistness to the cake. The molasses in the brown sugar also helps to keep the cake from drying out. But don’t be tempted to use all brown sugar; the balance of both sugars is important.
Cocoa: Dutch-process cocoa is natural cocoa treated with an alkalizing agent to lessen its acidity, which makes the cocoa smoother tasting and darker in color. Natural cocoa is lighter-colored than Dutch-process cocoa, which carries through the baking process. And since natural cocoa’s acidity isn’t neutralized with the alkalizing agent, you may notice a subtle tanginess or a slightly bitter edge to the flavor of the cake.
I love my KitchenAid Mixer. This is one of the mixers I use in my home kitchens and the best choice for home baking.
How to make Devil’s Food Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper (or lightly spray them with baking spray).
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Sift the ingredients and set aside until needed.
- Add the room-temperature butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer). Beat on medium speed until creamy (3-4 minutes)
- Sift the unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Add the sifted cocoa powder and vegetable oil to a medium bowl. Whisk to fully combine.
- Add the chocolate mixture, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to the creamed butter.
- Beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy (4-5 minutes). *Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs to the mixture, one at a time, while beating at low speed.
- Mix each egg into the mixture before adding the next egg. *Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix to combine.
- Add the sour cream and mix to combine.
- Add one-third of the flour mixture to the cake batter and mix just enough to combine.
- Add half the milk, mixing just enough to combine.
- Repeat the process by adding one-third of the flour mixture, then the remainder of the milk, followed by the remainder of the flour mixture.
- Carefully add the hot coffee to the batter.
- Stir the coffee in just enough to combine.
- Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans (9-inch round pans).
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cakes start to pull away from the sides of the pans and the center springs back when gently pressed or when a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans.
- Carefully invert the cakes and remove the parchment paper, then let them finish cooling on a wire rack (the cakes are very tender and delicate, so be gentle).
How to make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter until fluffy (3-4 minutes).
- Add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
- Beat until well combined on low speed.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar to the mixture, 1 cup at a time (at low speed). Mix until well combined (scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions of the sugar).
- Add 1-2 additional tablespoons of milk to the chocolate frosting to get the desired spreadable consistency.
- Whip the chocolate frosting on medium speed until light and fluffy.
If you love chocolate frosting, you might also like my Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
How to assemble Devil’s Food Cake
- Place a cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread about ¾ cup of the chocolate buttercream frosting over the top of the first layer.
- Add the second layer, repeating the process.
- Spread the remaining frosting on the sides of the cake (save some of the frosting to decorate the top of the cake).
- Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining frosting and refrigerate for one hour to let it fully set up before slicing and serving.
Use an offset spatula to frost the devil’s food cake. If you love to bake, its kitchen essential.
My Devil’s Food cake is not just a beautiful cake; it’s a decadent, delicious, moist chocolate cake that will make your friends and family moan with every bite.
Originally, it was the use of cocoa powder that set a devil’s food cake apart from a standard chocolate cake. It was considered richer and darker because of the cocoa powder. It was also thought to be fluffier from the use of more baking powder.
But most modern chocolate cake recipes are very close to being a standard devil’s food cake and many recipes you find online are interchangeable. There really isn’t any difference anymore.
Yes, it is. The only added ingredients are the red food coloring and the use of white vinegar instead of coffee. A red velvet cake is a variation of this classic recipe.
Overbaking: Make sure to check the cake a few minutes before the minimum baking time.
Incorrect measurements: Baking is precise. Ensure you’re measuring ingredients correctly.
Oven temperature: Ovens can vary. Use an oven thermometer to check if your oven’s temperature is accurate.
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These are the spatulas I use in my kitchen. They are durable, heat resistant and easy to keep clean.