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Devil's Food Cake:

3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 cup (240 ml/grams) hot coffee or hot water

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) sour cream or plain yogurt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

12 tablespoons (165 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups (265 grams) granulated white sugar

6 teaspoons (30 grams) flavorless oil (corn, vegetable, safflower or canola oil)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces (180 grams) >unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

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Devil's Food Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place your oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, two - 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cocoa with the hot coffee (or water) until the cocoa has dissolved and the mixture is nice and smooth. This whisk in the sour cream (or plain yogurt) and vanilla extract.

In a large bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Then, in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and oil and beat, on medium high speed, until the mixture is soft and fluffy, and light in color (this will take about 3-4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour mixture (in three additions) alternately with the cocoa/sour cream mixture (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans (about 580 grams each) and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool (in their pans) for about 10 minutes. Then, one cake at a time, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Remove the parchment paper and then, to prevent cracks, reinvert the cake onto a greased wire rack so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 - 3 minutes).

Assemble: Place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with about 1 cup (240 ml) of frosting. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosting and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.

Serves about 10-12 people.


A Devil's Food Cake is an American classic. With its almost black color, it is probably the most 'chocolately' of the chocolate cakes. To go with that rich chocolate flavor is a cake with a wonderfully soft crumb that is dense and moist. For a double dose of chocolate we fill and frost this cake with a fudgy chocolate frosting. Mmmm. While no one knows for sure how it got its name "Devil's" Food Cake, one opinion is that it's because it's just too sinful to eat. Others say it is because it is the polar opposite of the light and airy white Angel Food Cake. We do know that recipes for this cake started to appear around 1900.

Unsweetened cocoa powder is what gives this cake it's deep chocolate "fudgy" flavor. You can use natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (alkalized). Just remember that both the type and brand of unsweetened cocoa powder will affect both the taste and color of your chocolate cake. Before adding the cocoa powder to the cake batter, we first dissolve it in either very hot coffee or boiling water and this is done to bring out its full flavor. This cake is a little different in that it contains both butter and oil. The benefit of adding oil, along with the butter, is that it keeps the cake soft, even when refrigerated. As far as the type of oil to use, good choices are vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, or even a light olive oil.

Some like to frost their cake with a white butter frosting so it counter balances the rich chocolate flavor of the cake. But not me. I like to fill and frost the cake with a delicious chocolate fudge frosting. The chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened chocolate which is also known as baking, plain or bitter chocolate. This chocolate does not contain sugar so it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand. It gives us a frosting with a good chocolate flavor that's not too sweet. However, if you can't find unsweetened chocolate you can use a bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, although the frosting will be a tad sweeter.