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
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or spray with baking spray) bottom and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Keywords: chocolate cake, dark chocolate cake, Dutch process cocoa frosting, dark chocolate frosting