Devil’s Food Cake

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When I was younger, there was a period of time where I was convinced I didn’t like cake. Sure, on my birthday, I’d have a birthday cake. I’d eat a piece because that’s what you do and it’s polite. But it never was particularly good.

I blame box cake mixes for this. Box cakes are always too dry and the canned icing is always too sweet. But my real problem with cake mixes is that they really don’t save that much effort. So I don’t have to mix together the dry ingredients? That takes me all of 30 seconds. And I need to use oil instead of butter? And this makes it better?

Maybe I’m unusual in that I usually have all the proper ingredients for a cake at home (although I did have to delay making this by one day because we were out of eggs). Maybe a modicum of effort is too much for the average person.

I read that one possible explanation for the poor initial sales of cake mixes was that powdered eggs were included and that a house wife wanted to contribute to the cake by adding the eggs herself. I’m not sure if I buy that explanation (if you look at the time when sales of cake mixes increased it corresponds particularly well with an increase in women working).

Usually, when I want to make a dessert, I either want something a bit more sophisticated than cake (excepting chocolate chip cookies because they’re just good). But every once-in-awhile, I really get a craving cake. Not something extraordinarily chocolatey. Nor an ornate texture. Just something simple and good.

Enter Devil’s Food Cake. This cake was exactly what I wanted (and even the chocolate hater liked it). It wasn’t chocolate overload. It was sweet overload. It was just a simple chocolate cake with a simple chocolate icing. And it was just about perfect at what it was.

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Devil’s Food Cake
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

12 tbsp butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊF.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy, several minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
  4. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next egg.
  5. With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the milk. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
  6. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and pour half of the batter into each one. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool. Remove the cakes from the cake pans and add the icing.

Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp milk

  1. Using the medium power on the microwave, melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl about 3/4 of the way.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and salt until the butter is fluffy.
  3. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and beat slowly until it is well blended.
  4. Add the vanilla and half of the milk and beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well mixed.
  6. Add the remaining sugar and milk and beat until fluffy.
  7. Ice the cake immediately.
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2 Responses to “Devil’s Food Cake”


  1. 1 innovatel April 21, 2008 at 9:53 am

    This cake is fantastic but I think it’s difficult to do for me 😦

    Ehm … Can I fly to you? I eat that and other food without problem … ihihii … πŸ™‚

    Bye πŸ™‚


    http://www.innoland.it/en

  2. 2 Ellie February 2, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    This cake looks really good; But what is up with the ’12 tbsp’ measurements?
    Would it not be easier to write the grams instead?
    Anyway, thanks. πŸ™‚


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