Old Fashioned Devil's Food Cake

  • Yield: 16 servings

"We made this rich and indulgent cake for July 4 originally, but it has been a favorite for Christmas especially."


3/4cup milk
2teaspoons instant coffee granules
3/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2cup sour cream
1 1/4cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2teaspoons baking soda
1/2teaspoon baking powder
1cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2teaspoons vanilla extract
4 (1-ounce) squares baking chocolate
1 2/3cups confectioners' sugar
3/4cup heavy cream
2teaspoons vanilla extract
6tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper. Grease and flour the wax paper.
  2. To prepare the cake, combine the milk and coffee granules in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the outer edges. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until well blended. Add the sour cream and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat; cool.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl.
  4. Beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed until light. Add the granulated sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce to low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
  5. Divide the batter between the three pans, about 2 cups per pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Gently remove the cakes from the pans, place on wire racks and peel off the wax paper. Cool completely.
  6. To prepare the frosting, combine the chocolate, confectioners’ sugar, and cream in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  7. Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Place the bowl in another bowl filled with ice water. Stir the frosting occasionally and let stand until cold and thick, about 15 minutes. Remove the bowl from the ice water bowl. Gradually add the butter to the frosting while beating with a mixer at high speed until it is stiff enough to hold its shape.
  8. To assemble, place one layer on a serving plate and spread the top evenly with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with the remaining two layers and frosting.

—Heidi and Faith Copp, Rochester, N.H.