Zoë François's Chocolate Devil's Food Cake


  • 2 1/3 cups / 280g all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups / 400g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup / 50g Dutch processed cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups / 300ml hot strong coffee
  • 2 tbsp rum or brandy
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup / 240ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup / 120ml mild-flavored oil (such as vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate shavings for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously grease a 9 by 4-inch / 23 by 10cm Pullman pan (or two 8-inch / 20cm round cake pans), then line it with greased parchment paper. Set aside. 

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. In a small bowl, stir together the coffee and rum. 

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg mixture and half the coffee-rum to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until smooth. Slowly add the remaining coffee-rum and whisk until totally blended and smooth. The batter will be quite thin. 

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter several times to release excess air bubbles. 

  5. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes (30 minutes for 8-inch rounds). Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan and inverting onto a serving plate. 

  6. Using a metal decorating spatula, cover the cake with an even layer of the frosting and top with chocolate shavings. Serve at room temperature.


BAKER’S NOTES: If you aren’t a fan of coffee and rum, substitute with a flat cola or stout beer. To make as 24 cupcakes, fill the well of a cupcake pan two thirds full of batter and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Reprinted from Zoe Bakes Cakes.
Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François.
Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House
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