Devil’s Food Cake

  • Author: Rebecca Blackwell
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes (unfrosted)
  • Yield: 12 generous servings (about 7 cups of batter)


This sinfully dark chocolate Devil’s Food Cake is so obscenely rich and fudgy that  it elevates chocolate cake to a whole new level of decadence. And trust me. Being bad never felt so good.


  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs + 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans: Grease each pan with vegetable shortening or butter. Lay an 8-inch circle of parchment paper inside each pan to cover the bottom and grease it lightly with vegetable shortening or butter. Sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder inside each pan and shake it around inside the pan to coat the bottom and sides completely.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, chopped unsweetened chocolate, and espresso powder to a bowl. Pour the boiling water in and whisk until smooth. Set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, and light brown sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two, until it looks fluffy and lightened in color, 4-5 minutes. Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the three egg yolks. Beat until the yolks are fully incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  5. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth and homogenous, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 60 seconds.
  6. Add the chocolate and flour mixtures in alternating additions: 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the chocolate, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the chocolate, 1/3 of the flour. After each addition, beat on low speed just long enough to barely incorporate. Be careful to not over beat. Give the batter one final stir with a spatula to fully incorporate all ingredients and divide the batter between the three cake pans.
  7. Bake for 30-34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out without any visible cake batter.
  8. Remove the cakes from the oven to wire racks. Allow the cakes to rest in their pans for 5 minutes, then gently flip the cakes out onto the wire racks and allow to cool completely.


  • Regardless of how you’re filling and frosting your Devil’s Food Cake, freezing the cake layers will make the cake much easier to assemble. Devil’s Food Cake has a very tender crumb – a quality that makes it meltingly delicious, but also makes stacking layers a bit challenging. Freezing the cake layers for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 months) makes assembling layers of Devil’s Food…  a piece of cake. 🙂
  • If your cake layers have been frozen for more than 1 hour, let the assembled cake sit out at room temperature for 3-4 hours to thaw before serving. After letting the cake thaw at room temperature, refrigerate the cake if you’re not serving it right away.