Devils Food Cake—From Scratch in about 2 hours


If you know me well enough I love to use baking mixes, from cakes to brownies, as basis to wonderful desserts. This past Monday was my husband’s birthday and when he woke up he was pouting about how he did not have a cake. I reminded him about the Mardi Gras Party I threw him just 2 days prior, but this was his actual birthday.

I had to sub at preschool that morning, but due to some snow there was a two hour delay. That was my ticket, I will grab one of my mixes I keep on hand and maybe just make some frosting.

He wanted chocolate cake with white frosting, (his exact words). To my surprise I only had white cake mix in the pantry. I tried to convince him to have brownies, but that did not fly. What to do, what to do?

Two hours until I had to leave:

I grabbed my Better Homes and Garden cookbook and looked up cake recipes. The Devil’s Food seemed pretty easy, no melting chocolate. I did improvise a little bit and added 1/4 cup of non-fat greek yogurt to the batter. (instead of sour cream).

Success they came out wonderfully. Only one hour to go. As they cooled on the racks I whipped up some butter cream frosting. Amazing how easy if you have butter and powdered sugar on hand, plus none of the extra ingredients in the canned variety.


20 minutes left:  It was so cool in the house due to the wintry weather, the cakes were cooled. Frosted them with the homemade frosting. I used the recipe off the confectionery sugar.


Still not happy with the look of the cake, a little boring. My husband loves chocolate jimmies, so I smooshed some around the cake for decoration, and flavor of course, although I really don’t think they taste like much!!

My husband and kids thought this was the best cake they had tasted. I am so proud that I did not give up and made it from scratch.

Want a bite?

Poor guy, I did not have any candles but found a #2 which works for his 42nd!

Next time you are in a pinch, don’t think you can’t make a wonderful and moist cake for that special or not so special occasion!!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 1/3 cups cold water 
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)


1.Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour two 9×1-1/2-inch round cake pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan(s) aside. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2.In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the sour cream if using. Add the dry mixture and water alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

3.Spoon batter into prepared pan(s), spreading evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool layer cakes in pan on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or, place 13×9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly.

Buttercream Frosting–From Domino Box

3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 tsp Vanilla

In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, combine sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency. Makes enough to fill and frost 2 layer cake, 13×9 sheet cake or 24 cupcakes.

What is your favorite cake flavor?

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  1. Just made this & it is HEAVENLY!! No more Betty Crocker for me! Thank u!

  2. I am so glad. I was amazed how easy it was too:)

  3. This Devil’s Food Cake recipe is almost the same as on pg 179 of my ancient Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (ISBN 0553225286).
    But the one above is even easier as there is no need to separate the yolks and the whites of the eggs.
    My son of 19 still wants this cake every year on his birthday! Has become one of our staples. It is very moist. Most party invitees have always loved the cake and many moms have requested the recipe afterwards.
    So give it a try!

  4. I would very much like a giant slice of this right now! Looks amazing!!!

  5. Yes stephanie I used the recipe off the powdered sugar box, will add that when I get back from picking up the kids!! Super easy too!!!

  6. Ok this is where I admit Im like you, cakes from mixes. Always. However to make this from scratch isn’t too bad, I absolutely will give this a try. Did you make the icing from scratch as well?