Devils Food Cake

The quintessential chocolate cake, the richest, moistest, from-scratch cake. Perfect, and easy to make!




  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • ½ cup milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar 
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar 
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda 
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Nutritional information

No nutrition information available


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Grease three (9-inch) round cake pans and line each bottom with a round of waxed paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess flour. 
  3. In a bowl, whisk the boiling water into cocoa until smooth and whisk in milk and vanilla. 
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes, and beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Into another bowl or on parchment paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and add to egg mixture in batches alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beating well after each addition. 
  6. Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops, and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and layers begin to pull away from sides of pans. 
  7. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes and turn out onto racks to cool completely. Cake layers may be made ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature 2 days or frozen 1 week. 
  8. Serve with chocolate glaze, creamy butter icing, or creamy chocolate icing (all recipes in this guide)