Devil’s Food Cake Recipe

Devil’s Food Cake Recipe
Staff Writer
Aunt Elsa's Devil's Food Cake

Ben Fink

Aunt Elsa's Devil's Food Cake

This is everything you want a chocolate cake to be. A simply prepared batter bakes up into a delicious cake with layers that have a tender crumb and good chocolate flavor. The frosting is beaten into billowy clouds of shiny chocolate goodness that spreads like silk.

Click here to see the Best and Worst Celebrity Cookbooks story. 

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour, plus more for the pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

For the cake:

In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless-steel mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, melt the chocolate. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the work bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the with paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat on high speed until lightened in color, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.

Reduce the speed to low and beat in the chocolate. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the buttermilk in 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Beat in the water until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pans. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

Let the cake layers cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside and turn out onto racks. Peel off the paper. Flip them over to completely cool right-side up on the racks. If not assembling right away, cover the layers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 day.

For the frosting:

In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless-steel mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, melt the chocolate. Set aside to cool.

In the work bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, place the cooled, melted chocolate, the sugar, and the cup of hot water. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg, butter, and vanilla. Continue beating until the frosting is thick and fluffy and mounds beautifully on a spoon, 2-3 minutes.

When ready to fill and frost the cake, hold a serrated knife horizontally and use a gentle sawing motion to shave the domed top off each layer. Fill and frost the cake, using a crumb coat if you have time.

Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Cake Shopping Tip

Be sure to purchase the correct flour a recipe calls for – flours differ in gluten or protein content, making each suited for specific tasks.

Cake Cooking Tip

Insert a toothpick into the center of cakes to test for doneness – it should come out clean or only have a few crumbs clinging to it.

Cake Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based cakes; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and fruit tarts or pies; sweet chenin blanc or muscat, Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, or sec or demi-sec vintage or non-vintage champagne or sparkling wine with frosted white or yellow cakes; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines,