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Devil's Food Cake on a cake stand with a slice taken out

Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


A decadently fudgy chocolate cake with a smooth, deep chocolaty buttercream frosting. Every bite of this Devil’s Food Cake is sinfully delicious!



For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Large pinch of salt


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or spray with baking spray) bottom and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. First, make the cake: In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt a good 5 minutes on medium speed until very fluffy and light.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together flour, 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder and baking powder until very well mixed and no lumps remain.
  4. Beat eggs (on medium speed) one at a time into butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add one-third of flour mixture to batter, then add 3/4 cup milk, another third of the flour mixture, the remaining 3/4 cup milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the remaining flour mixture, stirring to combine after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally with a spatula. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  5. Bake cakes 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on a cooling rack 10 minutes, then remove from cake pans and cool completely on cooling racks.
  6. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup butter on high speed 4 full minutes until pale, smooth and very creamy. Whisk or sift together powdered sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa powder until very well mixed. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar-cocoa mixture, then 1/2 cup milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat on low speed 1 minute, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for a full 3 to 4 minutes until frosting is smooth, light, fluffy and creamy. Add more milk or powdered sugar to thin or thicken frosting as desired.
  7. Place one fully cooled cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of frosting, in dollops; gently spread to cover entire top of cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Repeat process, topping and spreading with another approximately 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover with a cake dome or upside-down plate until ready to serve.


  • *It’s important to use Dutch-process cocoa powder in the cake. Dutch-process cocoa powder is cocoa powder processed with alkali, a potassium solution that neutralizes its acidity (it also renders a richer, deeper chocolate flavor). Therefore, you need to use baking powder to function as the acid component in the recipe to leaven the cake. Do not use regular/natural cocoa powder for the cake! Here is my favorite Dutch-process cocoa powder.
  • You can also bake this cake in two 9-inch round cake pans or in a 13×9-inch pan. Note that you might not end up using all of the frosting if you make this adjustment.
  • If the tops of your cakes are domed, use a sharp serrated knife to cut off the domes before stacking in layers. OR, use bake-even strips.
  • For best results, use a large offset spatula to frost cake. For clean, smooth sides, I used a bench scraper and gently rotated the cake stand while holding the bench scraper along the sides.