Retro home

for the love of vintage collectibles

Vintage Devil's Food Cake recipe


Vintage Devil's Food Cake recipe

The earliest known recipe for Devil's Food Cake dates to 1905 when cocoa powder began to be available as a baking ingredient. Prior to that time, there simply wasn't any chocolate cake (imagine that)!

A traditional devil's food cake is a moist cake, typically (but not always) done as a layer cake. It is pure chocolate, and is considered a counterpart of the "white" and fat-free angel food cake.

Devil's food cake does not require a specialty pan. I typically use a 9 inch springform mold, but that's what I have here for pans in that size. I recommend cutting a circle of parchment paper to place in the bottom of the pan since that will make it easier to remove the cake from the pan. As long as the pan you choose holds a similar volume of batter to a 9 inch springform mold, it should work.

Fun fact: If we are being purely traditional, there is no functional difference between a devil's food cake and a red velvet cake. They are both "chocolate cake".

The process of making these cakes involves a reaction between the acid (usually buttermilk), the base (baking soda), and the non-alkalized cocoa powder. This results in the cake having a distinctly red colouring. You don't get this reaction with modern alkalized (termed "Dutch process") chocolate.

For a visual aid though, red velvet cake typically has a white icing, whereas devil's food cake has a chocolate frosting. There is no discernable difference in cake texture or colouring.

Modern red velvet cakes are entirely different due to their use of red food colourings. Those affect taste and texture of the cake. (I don't recommend it.)

Now you can make a Devil's Food Cake recipe at home in all its retro glory.

Devil's Food Cake recipe


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch springform mold or similar volume pan.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add the eggs, and whisk until just mixed.

Gradually pour in the buttermilk until just combined.

Fold in the flour mixture until just mixed.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Bake 40 minutes or until tester is clean.

Remove the cake from the oven. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing the pan.

Run a knife along the edge of the pan and remove the cake from the mold. Peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely before serving.

Serves: 12.

Your ad here