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Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy Frosting


The cake layers can be made up to two days ahead; wrap cooled cakes tightly in plastic and keep at room temperature. Frost the cake up to three hours before serving.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 14

Source: Everyday Food, June 2012


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
  • 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; butter parchment and dust pans with cocoa.

  2. Whisk boiling water into cocoa until smooth; whisk in sour cream. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

  3. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar on medium-high until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Fold in 4 teaspoons vanilla.

  4. Divide batter among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool completely. Remove cakes from pans and discard parchment. Trim cakes if desired.

  5. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, egg whites, and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; using mixer, beat on high until stiff, fluffy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  6. Transfer a cake layer to a serving plate and top with 1 cup frosting. Stack second cake on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.

Reviews Add a comment

  • CathyKirchner
    27 JUL, 2014
    Loved the flavor, had fun making it, but the texture is really dry for some reason. Not sure what I did. Will try again, though.
    • marika.crump
      28 NOV, 2015
      I had the same experience as CathyKirchner...bakers beware, this cake is DRY! MarthaStewart staff, I followed your directions precisely & would give this recipe another shot if I could correct the ingredients/instructions to make a moist cake. Your feedback would be appreciated here, please let me know!
  • nkpetajaearthl
    8 NOV, 2015
    I was confused by the recipe. I have never seen one where the ingredients for the cake and the frosting are combined. Unfortunately I didn't notice it until too late. I suggest you separate them in future.
  • davidinalabama
    25 JUL, 2014
    This is a cake my grandmother made when I was a child. It is so good it will make you crazy. I will be making this soon.
  • AMJB
    25 MAY, 2014
    This is one of the most difficult cakes I have ever made. And it makes too much batter for two 8 inch pans. It overflowed and made a huge mess in the oven. Once I transferred it to nine inch pans and finished baking it, it crumbled coming out of the pans. Plus the frosting never peaked. It was soupy. Horrible cake. I would not recommend it!
  • kilstar
    2 JAN, 2013
    this cake is like softly.