Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

We wanted to make a special dessert when our mom had a full house for Shabbat a couple of weeks ago,  so we consulted Jessica’s favorite book for some inspiration and came across this chocolate cake. Good enough to feed a crowd, because who doesn’t like chocolate, and we made it special by baking three 8-inch layers; we don’t eat 3-layer cakes every Friday!

There wasn’t even a slice left over, which is pretty impressive considering how big of a meal we served everyone. The cake was a hit!

We chose a simple chocolate butter cream, but you can play around with it, too. Coffee/mocha would be delicious with this cake!

Devil’s Food Cake from The Art and Soul of Baking


  • For the Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) plus 1 cup (8 oz.) water
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened (we used Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz.) ap flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Buttercream:

  • 1 lb. chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) sugar
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, soft (or, for pareve cake, Earth Balance)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray three 8-inch or 2 9-inch round cake pans with oil and flour them so they won’t stick.
  2. Mix the cocoa powder: Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Heat 1/2 cup of the water in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. Pour it over the cocoa and whisk or stir until blended and smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and stir until the mixture is smooth. Set aside until it cools to room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugars in a stand mixer or by hand.
  4. Beat the eggs and vanilla in another small bowl to blend and then add to the butter and sugar mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to blend completely before adding the next.
  5. Sift the ap flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and mix together. Then, with the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture alternatively to the butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Divide the Batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
  7. Remove the cakes from the pan.

For the buttercream (Earth Balance-cream?):

  1. Melt the chocolate with the water in a double boiler and set aside to cool.
  2. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl of the mixer and hand-mix to blend. Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  3. place the bowl over the simmering water and heat, whisking constantly so that the whites do not scramble, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.
  4. Once the correct temperature is reached, immediately remove the mixture from the heat and whip the mixer on high speed until it has cooled to room temperature, is light and billowing, and resembles marshmallow fluff.
  5. With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the soft butter a couple of tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to blend in fully before adding the next. Halfway through the butter, stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue until all the butter has been added and the mixture resembles a variety of mayonnaise. Add the vanilla and chocolate and blend well.

Assemble the cake:

  1. Place one layer of the cake on the serving dish and smooth the buttercream on top. Place the next cake layer over it and top with another layer of cream. Place the last layer and smooth the buttercream all around the outside of the cake.