Devil’s Food Cake

If I had to pick up only one of the many chocolate cake recipes I ever tried for sure it would be the Devil’s Food Cake: very moist, dark and covered in luxurious chocolate cream.

Nigella Lawson recently made this recipe very famous however in early 1900’s Caroline King (a popular 20’s food witter) had already written about it while describing her childhood in Chicago in 1880:

“Devil’s Food, though a new cake in our household, had made its dashing appearance in Chicago in the middle eighties”

The name Devil’s food Cake is likely to come from the fact that at that time the unprocessed cocoa powder turned reddish when reacting with the acid from the baking powder (these cakes were called Red Devil Cakes) but one could also say that the name “Devil’s Food Cake” comes from the fact that the cake is so delicious and rich that eating it has to be a sin :-)

Enjoy it!
Devil’s Food Cake

adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe

½ cup good quality cocoa powder
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
125g soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
¾ cup caster sugar
1 ½ cups plain flour sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs

½ cup water
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
175g unsalted butter
300g  good quality dark chocolate finely chopped

Grease two 20cm round tins, sprinkle cocoa powder all over it.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder, the brown sugar and the boiling water.

In a mixer bowl cream the butter with the caster sugar.  Add the eggs and continue beating until pale. Stir in the Vanilla. 

Without stopping mixing slowly add the flour sifted.   Stir in the cocoa/brown sugar mixture and continue beating until all incorporated.

Add the baking powder and the bicarb.  Stir well.

Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake it for about 30 min or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Wait about 10 min before turning the cakes on a wire rack to finish cooling down.

For the Icing.   Put the sugar, the butter and the water in a pan over medium heat and bring in to boil.  Take the pan out of the heat, stir in the chocolate and wisk till all melded and glossy.  It will be very soft – don’t panic! Just leave it cooling down for about one hour and you should be able to spread on the cake (if its too hot where you live, you can leave it a bit in the fridge, stirring once in a while until spreadable).

Ice the cake when it is completely cool.  Generously top one of the cakes with chocolate, put the other cake on the top and ice with the remaining icing.    Don’t bother making the icing smooth, the rustic the better and… it wont last long anyway. :-)


  1. Hi Rab123 and all readers – I fixed the recipe and added the amount of cocoa. Sorry for the mistake, the quantity 'disapeared' when I copied and pasted from my editor to the blogger. x Rachel

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