The Key Ingredient Difference In Devil's Food Cake Vs. Chocolate Cake

You may see those boxed cake mixes at the store, realize they never seem to have "chocolate cake," and grab a box of Devil's food cake because it's probably just a fancy name for chocolate cake. But while Devil's food cake is certainly chocolatey, there are a couple of key differences between Devil's food cake and an everyday chocolate cake.

The differences lie in a few subtle ingredients that separate Devil's food cake from chocolate cake. These ingredients also lead to some differences in consistency as well that are only noticeable if you pay close attention. While Devil's food cake and chocolate cake might equally satisfy your cravings for a chocolate cake slice, they aren't actually the same thing, and if you're a baker, it's important not to conflate the two. After all, Devil's food is light and fluffy thanks to extra baking soda, and chocolate cake is dense and moist. Which is better? It all depends on what you look for in a slice of cake. But if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the two cakes, the differences will dictate how you make each cake, so they certainly matter.

The difference between chocolate cake and Devil's food cake

Devil's food isn't a baker's name for chocolate cake — it's its own separate entity. The two types of cake have a lot in common, but to choose which one to bake and how you want to frost it, knowing the minute differences in their composition is crucial.

Devil's food cake often turns out to be lighter in texture and richer in taste than its chocolate cake counterpart. The ingredients responsible for these differences? Cocoa powder and baking soda. If you're currently scratching your head at the thought of a cake without baking soda, you're absolutely correct that chocolate cake needs to have some baking soda in it. However, Devil's food cake typically has more baking soda in it than chocolate cake does. Baking soda allows baked goods to rise, and it creates those bubbles we see in many cakes and breads. Therefore, Devil's food cake often has more fluff and more bubbles than chocolate cake does, so if you like your cake tall and airy, Devil's food cake is the way to go. But that's not all — Devil's food cake also typically contains cocoa powder and oil while chocolate cake relies on melted chocolate and butter for its flavor. The cocoa powder also contributes to making Devil's food cake fluffier than other cake types.

Which frostings pair best with Devil's food vs. chocolate cake

The ingredient differences in Devil's food cake and chocolate cake make chocolate cake denser than Devil's food, but does the texture variance make a difference in which frosting you should use for each? Although opinions are mixed, in general, certain frosting types pair well with each cake type.

Devil's food cake is lighter and airier, so when you bake it, a lighter, thinner coat might work better. Instead of making a full-blown frosting, try a chocolate glaze or ganache on Devil's food cake for a hint of added chocolate flavor that will match the cake's texture. If adding any extra chocolate feels like too much for such a light cake, simply dust the top of the Devil's food cake with powdered sugar for a pretty, equally delicious slice. On the contrary, chocolate cake pairs well with a heavier buttercream frosting because its density can hold up to the frosting's thickness. Pay attention because Devil's food cake and chocolate cake are two separate types of cake with two key ingredient differences, and you may want to frost them with different icing types too.