Devil’s Food Cake

Lilei Chow sent me the following recipe after reading In.Tech. This cake is sinfully delicious despite the fact that it did not turn out the way it should. I did not have an eight-inch cake pan and used the usual six-inch tin that I often baked with instead. Because of its high liquid content, this cake would have fared better baked in the former, with its batter spread out thinner. No matter, it turned out good enough to eat, and was rich, moist and full of chocolatey flavour. Thank you Lilei, for a very wonderful recipe.

1/2 cup natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
2 tsps. instant espresso/instant coffee
1cup boiling water
2 tsps. vanilla extract
12 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
2 large eggs @ room temp.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Adjust the oven rack to center position and heat ovens to 350 deg Farrenheit. Generously grease two 8 by 1 1/2 inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening and cover bottom of pans with rounds of parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease paper, then dust cake pans with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. Mix cocoa and instant coffee in small bowl; add boiling water and mix until smooth. Cool to room temperature, then stir in vanilla.
  3. Beat butter in bowl at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in sugar, beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 full minute after each addition.
  4. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. With mixer at lowest speed, add about 1/3 of cocoa mixture; mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into batter. Repeat process twice more. When batter appears blended, stop mixture and scrape bowl sides with spatula. Return mixer to low speed ; beat until batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer. (If using hand, fold in flour mixture with big metal spoon)
  5. Divide batter evenly between pans. With rubber spatula, spread batter to pan sides and smooth the tops. Bake cakes until they feel firm in center when lightly pressed and skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two clinging to it; 23-30 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto racks, and peel off paper liners. Reinvert cakes onto additional racks; cool completely before frosting.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Devil’s Food Cake”

  1. I’ve also wondered why it was called “Devil’s Food cake”.

    Peter, what’s your secret for a really moist cake – wuld it be to add in more cooking oil or more water?

  2. et,
    Devil’s Food Cake because this cake is so delicious, rich and chocolatey that it is devilishly sinful to be eaten.

    My cakes do not always turn out nice and moist. I think managing the temperature and baking time is important. Usually I will only get it just the way I like it after several attempts at tweaking the above. Also bear in mind that the oven’s temperature dial is not always accurate. It is all a matter of trial and error. Happy baking.

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