Not for the faint of heart, our version of devil's food cake is infused with melted chocolate (in addition to the usual cocoa powder) and sour cream to create a richer chocolate flavor and help it stay moist. Get our step-by-step guide here.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2015


Credit: Yuki Sugiura


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment rounds; butter parchment. Stir together boiling water, cocoa, and chocolate in a bowl. Let cool 10 minutes. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in another bowl.

  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla, then chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in two additions, alternating with sour cream, until just combined.

  • Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a tester inserted in centers comes out with moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.

  • Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack 20 minutes. Turn out onto rack, top-sides up; let cool completely. With a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so they're level.

  • Line the edges of a cake stand or plate with strips of parchment. Place one cake layer on stand, trimmed-side up, and spread 1 1/2 cups buttercream evenly over top. Top with remaining cake layer, trimmed-side down.

  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream over top and sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes (this ensures a crumb-free finish). Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides. Cake can be stored in refrigerator up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.

Cook's Notes

Dutch-process cocoa powder produces darker, smoother-tasting chocolate than the natural variety.


If you like your frosting sweeter and fluffier, you'll be tempted by the cloud-like Seven-Minute Frosting, which is often paired with devil's food cakes.

Or, for a purely chocolate finish, try whipped chocolate ganache: Chop 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces; transfer to a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan just until simmering. Pour over chocolate; let sit for 2 minutes, then stir to combine. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally. Whisk chocolate mixture until lightened; do not overmix. Use immediately. (Makes about 6 cups.)