devil's food cake with chocolate cream cheese icing

It's a very long time since I last made a Devils Food Cake. I think I was stil a teenager. With my favourite twin girls about to have their first birthday, I decided to make a 3 layer Devil's Food Cake to celebrate their birthday using Claire Ptak's recipe as my base.

Claire's devils' food cake is a simple one bowl recipe which makes a very light and moist cake. I had a secret weapon though, some ridiculously dark and rich chocolate cream cheese icing which would elevate a slice of bread to gourmet status.
The cake is best made the day before serving and refrigerated to firm the cake before icing. The icing makes a generous amount so you could completely coat the cake or do some piping if you wished.

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a 17 cm cake or a three layer 16 cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20ºC.


110g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
225g (1 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g buttermilk or plain yoghurt
50g vegetable oil
112g hot water


Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 250g cream cheese, at room temperature 100g icing sugar, sifted 50g Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted Optional – chocolate curls for decoration

Cake Method 

Preheat the oven to 170°C, conventional. Butter and line a 17cm cake tin or three 16cm sandwich tins with baking paper. I also dusted the tins with some cocoa.

Measure the dry ingredients, including the caster sugar, into a large mixing bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk to distribute the salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder evenly throughout the other dry ingredients.

In a large jug, whisk together the wet ingredients (except for the hot water). Once they are well mixed together, slowly whisk in the hot water.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in half of the wet mixture. Starting in the middle of the bowl, whisk in a clockwise, circular motion. Resist the temptation to switch direction or you’ll end up with lumps of dry ingredients. Gradually add the remaining wet ingredients until you have a smooth, liquid batter.

Pour the batter into the tin (s) right away and bake for 25 minutes for the sandwich cakes or 40 minutes for the larger cake or until the top is springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove the cake from its tin by running a small paring knife along the inside of the tin to release the cake. Allow to cool completely before turning out. Be careful with this step as the cake is quite delicate.

If you made the larger cake, using a serrated bread knife (the longest one you have), score a horizontal line half of the way up the side of the cake and then slowly cut the cake into three layers.

Chocolate cream cheese icing 

Place the butter, the cream cheese and the vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until pale and creamy. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the icing sugar and cocoa, and mix until just combined. 

To assemble 
Place one cake layer onto a serving plate. Spread a third of the icing over the cake, then top with the second cake layer. Spread another third of the icing over the second layer then spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake. If you like you can make a naked version of the cake by piping an extra cm of icing over the exterior of each layer of icing then smoothing the extra icing evenly around the outside of the cake. Place in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

As this was a birthday cake, I couldn't cut into it to show you the layers but they looked good. The adults really enjoyed the cake. One twin thought the cake sans icing was pretty good. The other twin was more interested in smooshing her piece to smithereens. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now, 




  1. Hello,
    I simply feel like making a chocolate cake. I have 3 x 15cm (6") pans so wondering how high your cake was. Because I have smaller pans, will the cake be too high for the smaller base?
    Also was the cake light or quite dense? I am not a fan of dense cakes so might go for a different recipe if it is.
    I always look forward to your Monday posts. You are an adventurous and creative cook ....always willing to try something different or make adjustments by swapping ingredients.
    Regards from Brisbane,

  2. Oh just noticed that you said it is a light & moist cake....sounds like my kind of cake.

  3. Hi Angela, just found your comments. My layers were quite thin so I think your tin size would be fine.


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