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Classic Devils Food Cake

This cake is a vintage recipe, passed down for generations and has been adapted.

Devils food cake is a classic recipe that has been around for decades. A moist and fluffy chocolate cake is topped with buttery sweet frosting and sprinkled with extra chocolate flakes.

Slice of devils food cake on plate with a fork. Full cake with slice cut out in background.

Grandma’s Cake Recipe

If you love old-fashioned recipes as much as I do, then you’re going to enjoy this one! It’s incredibly decadent and rich in chocolate. The perfect cake to serve to guests for any celebration.

  • We love this recipe because it tastes just like grandma used to make it.
  • The frosting is simple and uses baker’s chocolate (not cocoa powder) for true endulgence.
  • It’s the kind of cake you could bring almost anywhere. Serve for birthdays, potlucks, bake sales, and barbecues.
  • Dark chocolate is freshly grated on top for a beautiful added presentation.
Ingredients to make the recipe including bowl of flour, bowl of powdered sugar, vanilla, brown sugar, bakers chocolate, butter and eggs.

Recipe Ingredients

CAKE: The cake is made light and fluffy using cake flour. Dry ingredients are mixed together, then with the wet ingredients including buttermilk. Baker’s chocolate is what creates the creamiest chocolatey taste!

FROSTING: More baker’s chocolate, sugar, and water are melted in a saucepot, and mixed with powdered sugar and butter to great a simple old-fashioned frosting recipe.

How To Melt Baker’s Chocolate

The recipe uses two different methods to melt the chocolate.

Hot Water: Just add hot water that’s been heated in the kettle to a bowl with squares of chocolate. Stir slowly for 1-2 minutes, and the chocolate will easily melt into a syrup consistency.

Saucepan: The other method this recipe uses is by adding water and chocolate to a saucepan and heating them up together.

Both methods will work for the cake and the frosting steps.

Four images showing steps to make recipe: Bowl with eggs and other ingredients, bowl with melted chocolate, batter and hand mixer, Bowl with creamy chocolate batter and hand mixer, two cake pans with chocolate cake batter inside.

How To Make Devils Food Cake

This cake is a chocolate lover’s dream:

  1. First, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Then beat butter and sugars with a hand mixer. Add in other ingredients according to the recipe below.
  3. Melt chocolate and hot water together. Stir into cake batter and bake for 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool.
  4. Now make the frosting by heating sugar, water and chocolate on the stove.
  5. Cream powdered sugar with melted chocolate, milk and butter with hand mixer.
  6. Spread frosting over bottom cake layer. Add top cake layer and spread more frosting. Add grated chocolate flakes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Storing Leftovers

For maximum freshness, store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Devils food cake with large slice cut out sitting on a white plate.

Recipe Tips

  • Cake flour works best for this recipe as it will give the fluffiest results.
  • Make your own buttermilk by combining ⅔ milk with 3 tsp of food-grade vinegar or lemon juice. This will create the acidity that is also found in buttermilk.
  • It’s important to use baker’s chocolate and not regular chocolate or chocolate chips. Baker’s chocolate will melt perfectly and create a smooth consistency for baking.
  • How To Soften Butter: Leave butter on the counter for a few hours so that it’s softened. Another trick to speed up the process is to heat boiling water and pour it into a bowl. Dump the water out and quickly cover the butter with the upside down bowl. This should soften the butter within a few minutes.
  • Grease the cake pans with butter and paper towel. Non-stick cooking spray won’t produce the same results. The cakes will be easier to remove this way. If you’re still struggling, I like to use a rubber spatula and run it along the sides and push it gently under bottom to help remove it.
  • Tap the cake pans with batter on the counter three times to help remove any air bubbles. This will help to produce a fluffy cake without holes.
Slice of devils food cake on a white plate with a fork.

More Celebration Cakes

I LOVE to make a delicious dessert for any celebration. Here are some other favorites:

Did you love this chocolate cake recipe? Be sure to leave a rating below!

Classic Devils Food Cake

Devils food cake is a classic recipe that has been around for decades. A moist and fluffy chocolate cake is topped with buttery sweet frosting and sprinkled with extra chocolate flakes.
Print Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour - sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter - softened
  • cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz baker's chocolate - unsweetened
  • ½ cup boiling water

Frosting:

  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 oz baker's chocolate - unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Cake Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two round cake pans with butter. Set aside.
    two cake pans, small bowl of butter, and paper towel.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cake flour, baking soda and salt.
    Dry ingredients in bowl with a whisk.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the white sugar, brown sugar and softened butter with a hand mixer.
    Creamed butter and sugar in bowl with hand mixer.
  • Add in the buttermilk, vanilla, eggs and mix.
    Eggs, milk, and other ingredients in a bowl, then mixed together in bowl with hand mixer.
  • Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat together to create the cake batter.
    Two images: flour poured over batter in bowl, then creamy batter with hand mixer.
  • Add boiling water (from a kettle) plus bakers chocolate to a small bowl. Stir together 1-2 minutes until chocolate has melted.
    Chocolate squares in a bowl, then melted with hot water and spatula in another bowl.
  • Pour in the melted chocolate into the batter. Beat until creamy.
    Mixing chocolate into cake batter with a hand mixer.
  • Divide the batter evenly into two cake pans. Tap three times on the counter to help remove air bubbles. Bake for 25 minutes. After baking, let sit in pan for 5 minutes. Remove and add cakes to a rack to cool completely.
    Two images: first uncooked cakes in cake pans. Second image is baked cakes on cooling rack.

Frosting Instructions:

  • Heat water and sugar in a saucepan. Let boil 1 minute stirring frequently.
    Pot with water and melted sugar inside.
  • Add in the bakers chocolate and continue stiring gently until the chocolate melts, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Two images: first with pot, water and two squares of chocolate. Second with melted chocolate inside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the butter, vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until smooth and creamy.
    Two images: first with bowl of melted chocolate, butter and buttermilk. Second blended into chocolate frosting and hand mixer.

Cake Assembly:

  • Add a dollop of frosting to the serving dish you plan to use. Place the first cake on top of that frosting (helps it to stay put). Spread frosting all over the cake and sides. You have alot of frosting so feel free to add extra to the top – this will become the middle frosting layer.
    Place the second cake on top.
    Two images showing frosting cakes in steps.
  • Frost the top and sides of the second cake. Spread smoothly with a spatula.
    Two images showing frosting cakes in steps.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate shavings from a square of bakers chocolate. Sprinkle on top. Slice cake into pieces, serve and enjoy!
    Looking down at cake with serving spatula beside it.

Recipe Notes:

  • Make your own buttermilk by combining ⅔ milk with 3 tsp of food-grade vinegar or lemon juice. This will create the acidity that is also found in buttermilk.
  • It’s important to use baker’s chocolate and not regular chocolate. Baker’s chocolate will melt perfectly and create a smooth consistency for baking.
  • How To Soften Butter: Leave butter on the counter for a few hours so that it’s softened. Another trick to speed up the process is to heat boiling water and pour it into a bowl. Dump the water out and quickly cover the butter with the upside down bowl. This should soften the butter in a few minutes.
  • Tap the cake pans with batter on the counter three times to help remove any air bubbles. This will help to produce a more consistent cake.
  • For maximum freshness, store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge or counter for up to 4 days.
Nutrition
Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 542IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.

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