Devil's Food Cake

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 6h 15m
  • Rating ****

14 to 16 Servings

Bradley Ogden, the chef and owner of The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California, knows that no matter how much we want to be coddled with nursery desserts, our standards have risen since childhood. So while his chocolate cake is as soul satisfying as you could wish for (even with beets as a surprise ingredient), it's even better than anything Mom used to make.


  • For the Frosting:
  • 2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For the Cake:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and grated (about 1 1/4 pounds)


MAKE THE FROSTING: In a large heatproof bowl set over a large saucepan of simmering water, combine the bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream, butter and sugar. Whisk occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the frosting is smooth. Transfer the frosting to a large bowl, cover and let stand at room temperature until firmed up, about 5 hours or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let return to room temperature before frosting the cake.

MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until combined. Beat in the sour cream. Add the butter and grated beets and mix until fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to racks and let cool completely in their pans.

Invert the cake layers onto a work surface and peel off the paper. Set one layer on a large plate and spread 1/4 inch of chocolate frosting on top. Stack and frost the remaining cake layers. Spread the remaining frosting all around the sides of the cake. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The frosted Devil's Food Cake can be refrigerated overnight, covered. Let return to room temperature before serving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.

RecID 3571

nutrition information per serving

928 calories; 50g total fat; 180mg cholesterol; 611mg sodium; 121g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 14g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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