If you are looking for a simple, basic, yet delicious chocolate cake recipe, look no further. Use your favorite buttercream frosting, ganache, or glaze to finish this cake, or cube the layers and turn it into a trifle. All chocolate cake recipes are not the same: Many recipes use chocolate syrup or chocolate baking bars, but most devil's food cake recipes, such as this one, gets their "chocolaty-ness" from cocoa. Devil's food cake also has a very thin batter. Typically, hot water is added to help enhance the flavor of the cocoa. To prevent the cake from sticking to the baking pans, coat them thoroughly with cooking spray; after spraying, you may want to take a pastry brush and paint the sides and bottom to make sure all the areas are covered, then dust the pans with flour. Use this recipe to make a sheet cake to take to potlucks and reunions, or turn it into cupcakes for a bake sale or school event – you should get between 24 and 36 cupcakes from a recipe that makes two 9-inch round layers.

Southern Living


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
1 hr 10 mins
2 cake layers


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with flour. Beat butter with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

  • Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; add to butter mixture alternately with hot water and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on medium speed after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

  • Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.