Recipes

Ina Garten's Devil’s Food Cake

This is one heavenly dessert
52 Ratings
50% would make again
Devil's Food Cake
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

What better way to end an Ina Garten dinner party than with a chocolate cake? We’re addicted to her devil’s food cake recipe, layers of rich chocolate cake and coffee meringue buttercream in each slice.

Making a cake can be a daunting task, but as Garten recommends, using skewers to mark the middle of the cake and a long, flexible knife will help with cutting the cake evenly. Feel free to assemble the cake up to three days in advance; just make sure to cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. For a step-by-step guide, check out the slideshow below.

To learn more read, “How to Throw a Dinner Party like Ina Garten.”

  • Using a ruler, measure the halfway point of each cake and mark with toothpicks or wooden skewers.

  • Using a serrated knife, cut along the skewers to divide the cakes evenly in half.

  • You should end up with 4 even cake layers.

  • To start, place the bottom half of one of the cakes, cut-side up, and spread a thin layer of frosting.

  • Top with the second half of that cake, cut-side down, and spread another thin layer of frosting.

  • For the third layer, place the other top half of cake, cut-side up, and spread with frosting.

  • Finally, place the remaining half of cake, cut-side down, so you have a flat, clean surface on top of the cake to frost.

  • Begin with a thin layer of icing all around the cake to seal any crumbs that might come off.

  • Make sure every surface of the cake is completely covered.

  • Add another layer of frosting for a clean exterior, free of any cake crumbs.

  • Using a kitchen towel soaked in boiling water, wipe the offset spatula and smooth the icing.

  • Continue this process until the cake is completely smooth.

  • Pipe any remaining frosting into rosettes on the cake.

  • Finally, garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans before slicing and serving.

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Ina Garten's Devil’s Food Cake

Recipe from ‘Cooking for Jeffrey,’ by Ina Garten

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

Ingredients

For the Devil’s Food Cake:

¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2¼ cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti

¾ cup hot brewed coffee or espresso

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

Coffee Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

Chocolate espresso beans (for decoration)

For the Coffee Meringue Buttercream:

2 cups sugar

⅔ cup water

6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of kosher salt

1½ pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the Devil’s Food Cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 × 2-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pans. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until well mixed, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

3. Whisk the cocoa powder and hot coffee together in a small bowl. With the mixer on low, add it into the batter.

4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture to the batter, then all the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture, mixing each addition until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold the batter until it is well mixed.

5. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

6. To frost the cakes, slice them in half horizontally with a long, thin knife (see note). Place the bottom of the first cake, cut side up, on a flat serving plate and spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top only (not the sides) with a palette knife. Place the top of the first cake, cut side down, on top and thinly frost the top only. Next, place the top layer of the second cake on top, cut side up, and thinly frost. Finally, place the bottom layer of the second cake, bottom side up (so the top of the cake is flat). Frost the top and sides of the cake.

7. Heat a palette knife or frosting spatula in hot water, shake off any excess water, and use it to smooth the buttercream on the sides and the top of the cake. Continue heating the palette knife and shaking off the excess water, until the buttercream is smooth. (A revolving cake stand will make it easier.) If there is extra buttercream, fill a pastry bag with it to decorate. Garnish with the chocolate espresso beans.

For the Coffee Meringue Buttercream:

1. Combine the sugar and ⅔ cup of water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the sugar dissolves, uncover the pan and place a candy thermometer in the syrup. Cook over high heat until the thermometer registers exactly 240 degrees. (Don’t stir!)

2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks.

3. Carefully pour the syrup into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. With the mixer still on high, very slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Leave the mixer on high for about 1 hour (trust me!), until the mixture is completely at room temperature. (If the mixture isn’t absolutely at room temperature, the butter will melt and deflate the egg whites!)

4. With the mixer on medium, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. If the butter starts to melt, stop and wait for the mixture to cool. With the mixer on low, add the coffee liqueur and vanilla. Do not refrigerate; frost the cake while the buttercream is at room temperature.

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