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Devil's Food Cupcakes

We mixed sour cream into the batter to add moistness and a subtle tang. Silky smooth ganache makes a rich topping; other options include seven-minute frosting and cream-cheese frosting. The chocolate curls are easily made with a few strokes of a vegetable peeler.

  • Yield: Makes 32
Devil's Food Cupcakes

Source: Martha Stewart Cupcakes


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • Chocolate Curls, for decorating (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.

  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-
    quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

  4. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

Cook's Note

Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and garnish with chocolate curls just before serving.

Reviews (41)

  • acissejessica 9 Aug, 2014

    Was amazing,
    made 26 beautiful fluffy and soft melt in your mouth cupcakes,
    if your making them at home be sure to use the same for of measurement throughout, don't use measuring cups them a measuring jug or a weight scale, i stuck to the cups and it turned out purrrfect.

  • alei 27 Aug, 2013

    We made these cupcakes for my daughter's birthday and they were great!!! so moist and delicious, first time and i would not add anything we used butter icing.. thanks for another great recipe!

  • Yunnie7 10 May, 2013

    My oven's temperature is maxed at 250deg. Does anyone has this problem and how to resolve? The cupcakes turned out burnt on the top but moist inside given same duration but at a lower temp. Wouldn't it be more burnt if I had it at 350deg?

  • aussieali 22 Oct, 2011

    I have allergies to wheat and I substituted for gluten free flour.
    WOW!! I highly recommend this recipe! My fiancée just cant get enough ....never had so many complements for my cooking!! Thank you Martha!

  • jmurray 19 Sep, 2011

    I made this recipe this weekend for a birthday party and topped with Salted Caramel Buttercream. While the flavor was great, it was far too dry for my liking. I used White Lilly as my AP flour, perhaps it is too delicate for this recipe. I will try again after reading so many positive reviews using good old Gold Medal flour and this time will beat the butter and sugar longer.

  • madgiebee 17 Sep, 2011

    Very easy. Followed instructions almost precisely (sub coffee for water) and don't quite know why people were having difficulties? I beat sugar/butter until warm to touch which was about 5 mins then added eggs. Not overly greasy, just wonderful

  • foxtrot407 5 Sep, 2011

    These are not just the best cupcakes I've ever made, but they're the best cupcakes I've ever had! They freeze really well too--I wrapped each in a little aluminum foil and packed them in my lunches; between the time I left in the morning and ate them for lunch they were perfectly thawed.

  • Melanie_from_Michigan 14 Aug, 2011

    Very moist and delicious!

  • 200rileyt 14 Aug, 2011

    I felt that they were a bit hard and i didn't like how the recipe didn't have directions on how to make chocolate ganache frosting. I had to look it up online but i couldn't find it and i had to mix regular ganache with whipping cream.

  • AninditaR 1 Aug, 2011

    hi, is the cup measurement are all the same? if its same, how many grams? bcz i read at some articles that cup measurement for all purpose flour is different for cocoa. i've tried the recipe but i think i'm wrong with measurements, and its really good i dont know why

  • adrilin 23 Feb, 2011

    They were a little bit dry. I couldn[t use Dutch process cocoa because I couldn't find it. Eventhoug they were delicius

  • brigitte1981 14 Feb, 2011

    If you can't make these, you'd better go back to beginner baking (a.k.a a Duncan Hines package) these are delightful. Very moist, very puffy. If brownies were actually a cake, they'd taste like this!
    No problems with melting the butter/sugar, or with the baking cups being saturated with grease, as some others have commented.

  • Shadowplay 25 Jan, 2011

    I usually hate chocolate cake but these were so good! Moist and dense, but almost light too! I followed previous comments and made sure the butter/sugar mix cooled (10-15 mins in fridge). I also use Ghiradelli unsweetened baking chocolate since the grocery store did not carry Dutch process. The cake is lighter in color, but it doesn't bother me. I'm turning them into homemade hostess cakes so I did not use the Ganache recipe.

  • jelowict 11 Nov, 2010

    So I just made these, and they turned out very well. I did change a few things though... I did not melt the butter and sugar, I creamed them - for about five minutes. Then added the eggs one at a time, creaming constantly. I also only used 100 ml of water. They are moist and delicious.

  • noodlebonbons 1 Nov, 2010

    PLEASE disregard the negative reviews that say the butter seeps through of its too sweet. I followed this recipe EXACTLY as it is, except that it did take longer than 5 minutes for it to cool (this is where the negative reviews are coming from, people beat for 5 minutes and think that's fine, regardless of whether its still hot or cool). Put it in the fridge if you have to! just get it cool! or the butter wont mix. this is a DELICIOUS cupcake, and the batter is unbelievably good!! not to sweet!

  • yelloweyedcat 30 Oct, 2010

    the reviews are exceptional. I made these cupcakes tonight thinking while baking them that they will be so yummy. well......None of us liked them nor the rich and sweet.i expected a chocolatey devils food it was flat and sweet. I am not sure if i was in error about the procedure...I dont think so.sorry

  • yelloweyedcat 30 Oct, 2010

    the reviews are exceptional. I made these cupcakes tonight thinking while baking them that they will be so yummy. well......None of us liked them nor the rich and sweet.i expected a chocolatey devils food it was flat and sweet. I am not sure if i was in error about the procedure...I dont think so.sorry

  • nessamichellea 23 Oct, 2010

    how many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  • Nachoraver 26 Sep, 2010

    I just made this recipe and they turned out fantastic. I live at high altitude and from reading the reviews about the horrid butter I made some changes. I halved both the soda and powder and used 50/50 bread/all purpose flour, reduced the sugar by 1/2 c and used 1 1/2 sticks butter, then added about 8 oz of melted milk chocolate and added 5 minutes to the time. w/ ice cream scoop - this produced a lovely perfectly domed cupcake that did not sink in the middle - moist - and not overly sweet. The

  • EllyKonjkav 10 Sep, 2010

    i made these today for the first time and i have to say they were AMAZING!!!!!
    even my husband who HATES chocolate and NEVER eats them tried them because of the smell and LOVED them!!!
    i piped coloured whipped cream on top and put a lollipop in the middle for a friend's children party!
    Looking absolutely to die for!!
    Once again, LOVED itttttttttt!!!! and i really dun understand how anyone could get the recipe wrong in anyway at all...

  • LA99 20 Jul, 2010

    These were the best Devil's Food cupcakes ever. I used my own Cream Cheese frosting recipe. They were moist and delicious and literally flew off the table as everyone devoured them. I had to hide a few away so that I could get a taste. Followed the directions exactly except used regular salt. Awesome!!!

  • stephiedoo 17 Jul, 2010

    This is so good. I had a little trouble melting the butter and sugar because the sugar won't melt completely and the butter wouldn't cool even after beating, but I left it in the fridge for a couple of minutes and everything came together just fine. It's a super moist cupcake and not too sweet, just the way I like it!

  • erickson1982 29 Jun, 2010

    I just made these today. As "mrsdurrant" said, the butter does soak through, so I'm letting them cool on paper towels to soak up the excess. Also, the coarse salt did not dissolve, I'll be using regular salt next time. Otherwise these have a great crumb and flavor, just need to figure out how much butter to use next time.

  • MyFairCupcakes 19 Jun, 2010

    hi! Also looking for a substitute for the sour cream... and if I use regular milk instead of buttermilk, will that be ok?

  • meganbaviera 3 Jun, 2010

    this cupcake is so delicious i love cupcakes by Martha Stewart they're all delicious.

  • frecklepuss 22 May, 2010

    Oh MY!! They... I mean heaven... just came out of they oven ... I needed 24 for the party, the recipe made 27 little pillows of heaven happiness but .. I couldn't wait for the other 3 to come out of the oven and I ended up "testing" one of the cupcakes for the PARTY! One of the ones in the special little soccer baking cup! I decided to just use plain on the other 3 as they were just for my daughter and her 2 friends!!! UH OH!! Now I am short a cupcake for the friend!

  • mrsdurrant 8 May, 2010

    I followed the recipe to a T and they came out awful. Way too buttery, insides didn't cook and it took way to long for this type of disaster. Awful recipe. I tried it twice. Not sure what you people are talking about. I think in all reality none of you made these cupcakes because the amount of butter in them soaked through the papers and seeped as they sat on the counter. AWFUL.

  • Poodlelover 22 Apr, 2010

    This is the best chocolate cupcake I have ever made. It's moist and delicious and is absolutely decadent with cream cheese frosting.

  • yoyisreyes 11 Apr, 2010

    Just delicious, we really loved them. Next time I will not use the coarse salt, just a pinch of it.

  • mleacock 3 Apr, 2010

    Ok, I've just had the batter so far, but ...YUM! I will follow up after I have the actual cake! :o)

  • highlandcreekgirl 24 Mar, 2010

    These were fluffy and delicious! Good straight out of the oven and even better the next day, and very easy to make. I frosted them with a canned frosting, but these are special enough to warrant making something yummy from scratch. This recipe does make a very large batch, which is probably why it calls for so much BUTTER! These really taste great and I will definitely keep this recipe and make again. Soon!

  • mahadewi 2 Mar, 2010

    Just got these out of the oven, and had one while it was still warm, I couldn't get over how light and fluffy it is! I just used normal cocoa, so it's nothing out of the ordinary, but just a nice simple cupcake. I will ice them with a buttercream frosting :)

  • Lilld 4 Feb, 2010

    Just made it for my niece b-day. Coated it with cream cheese frosting. And decorated into faces using various sweets. The cake was really moist with a toffee like favor. Loved it!!! I did swap 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of brown sugar.

  • johanessburg 3 Feb, 2010

    i made these cupckes and they taste better after a day being made! They are moist

  • susanhowson 28 Jan, 2010

    I always wish in your recipe template you'd have a field for yield. A field for yield! Just sayin'....

  • nikki_bilyou 21 Sep, 2009

    I made these with cream chees frosting and followed the recipe to a T and let me tell you.. they were the best cupcakes I've ever had in my life and everyone at our daughters party agreed. This is my new go to recipe. Wowza!

  • digbugsgirl 3 Sep, 2009

    Dutch Process cocoa is darker than regular baking cocoa. Hershey's also has a dark baking cocoa

  • Shorty01 12 Aug, 2009

    How can you get the dark chocolate colour of the cupcake as shown? Previous comment stated they were more like milk chocolate - i need a dark choc look..

  • H724 4 Jul, 2009

    These cupcakes are great! Very moist and not too sweet. I will definitely make them again! I would recommend cutting the butter into slices or cubes before melting--will make it go much faster. Also, I got 29 cupcakes in standard muffin tins filled almost to the top. The recipe didn't specify a specific yield so I hope this is helpful. Also, I baked for 8 mins then rotated and then another 8 mins..came out perfect.

  • honeymar 14 Jun, 2009

    hello! i just want to know what are substitutes for sour cream and buttermilk? thank you

  • shamo 2 Jun, 2009

    What are substitutes for cake flour and sour cream? Thank you

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