This signature Devil’s Food Cupcake recipe is easy to pull together and consistently makes the most tender (super) chocolatey crumb. It looks like it came from a box and is almost as simple to pull together, but is 100% scratch-made and tastes every bit like Grandma used to make. It’s one of the most versatile and easy chocolate cake recipes we have. In fact, there’s no need to even pull out a mixer (of any kind). Just grab a bowl and a whisk and get started. For anyone who may be new to baking, I’ve included step-by-step recipe photos at the end of the post.
A Super Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe for Chocolate Lovers
If you’re here because you’re looking for a chocolate cake recipe that ticks all the boxes, you’re in the right place. These cupcakes have just the right amount of sweetness, are super chocolaty from the Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and are enhanced further by the addition of a little espresso. While butter gives it flavor, and the oil in the recipe helps create a very tender crumb. The color of these cupcakes deepens into a rich almost black chocolate color the longer they cool. You can tell by the photos above and below — they’re seriously delicious. This chocolate cake recipe can be used to make a double-layer chocolate cake, mini bundt cakes, and anything else you can think of.
Why We Love This Devil’s Food Cake Recipe
- As you can see it’s SO moist it looks like a boxed cake
- You don’t need to go crazy creaming the butter and sugar together like most cake recipes
- You can use one bowl and a whisk to stir all the ingredients together
- It’s the quickest chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made
- Espresso and Dutch process cocoa give it the acidity it needs for extra lift
- It’s so delicious it doesn’t need any icing (really)
Devil’s Food Cupcake Ingredients
These cupcakes are based on a vintage Devil’s Food Cake recipe by Mrs. Greer that I made a few modern enhancements to (found in my now almost 97-year-old Granny’s collection when we were going through her cookbooks together) — it’s definitely a keeper.
- 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature (75g)
- 5 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (grapeseed, canola, or vegetable) (75g)
- 2 cups sugar (400g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (20g)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature (50g)
- 1/2 cup boiling water (118g)
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (250g)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (50g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (4g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (4g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (3-4g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (6g)
GANACHE ICING INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (118g)
- 4 tablespoons sugar (50g)
- 6 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate (170g)
- 1 tablespoon butter chopped into small pieces (14g)
- pinch of salt
How to Make The Best Devil’s Food Cupcakes (w/Chocolate Ganache Frosting)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. Heat the oven and line the cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
- Prepare the dry ingredients. To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso, baking powder, and salt and whisk well to combine and set aside.
- Prepare the baking soda + water solution. Boil the water (or microwave it until very hot), add the baking soda, and stir until dissolved, set aside.
- Prepare the wet ingredients. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or by hand using a whisk), beat the butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy approximately 2-3 min – scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice while mixing to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk just until incorporated. Add the buttermilk and baking soda water mixture and mix just until combined.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and use a rubber spatula or whisk to gently combine the ingredients until no flour streaks remain. *after combining everything you should still have some visible lumps and that’s exactly what you want.
- Portion the cupcake batter. Use a portioning scoop or pour the cake batter evenly between the lined cupcake tins.
- Bake the cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean and the tops are set.
- Cooling the cupcakes. Remove the cakes from the oven and place them onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes to slightly cool and then gently remove the cupcakes from the pan to finish cooling directly on the cooling rack. When cakes are completely cooled, they may be frosted.
- Prepare the chocolate ganache frosting. Heat the cream and sugar until almost boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and add the butter and whisk the mixture until it’s smooth and shiny. Frost the cooled cakes and add sprinkles for a little extra fun. Enjoy!
Devil’s Food Cupcakes w/Chocolate Ganache Icing recipe step-by-step photos
For the Cupcakes
For the Ganache Icing
Devil’s Food Cupcakes (w/Chocolate Ganache Frosting) tips + tricks + FAQ’s
- Why use a scale versus measuring cups and spoons? Using a scale to measure ingredients produces more consistently reliable results than measuring cups. Plus, it makes measuring ingredients quicker and there’s less mess to clean up.
- Why are room-temperature ingredients important in baking? Room temperature ingredients like eggs, butter, milk, and other dairy ingredients when combined form an emulsion that traps air inside of a mixture. This trapped air expands and rises during the baking process, which ultimately produces fluffier and more tender baked goods. Room temperature ingredients = tender cake crumb and moist cupcakes.
- Should I frost my cupcakes? This cake is so moist that it kind of makes its own glossy ‘icing” as it cools. It’s a cake that really doesn’t need to be frosted or iced in order to be enjoyed. Also it pairs really well with a scoop of ice cream.
- Can I make devil’s food cake ahead and freeze it? Yes, you can freeze devil’s food cake. In fact, this cake freezes extremely well and tastes just as great when thawed in the fridge overnight or left at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Devil’s food cake is a great make-ahead cake for get-togethers or dinner parties. You can even frost or ice the cupcakes (or whole cake)with the ganache and then freeze.
- Why is Devil’s Food Cake called devil’s food cake? According to most food scholars, Devil’s food cake was invented in the United States somewhere around the end of the 1800s or early 1900s. One of the first recipes for Devil’s Food Cake uses melted baking chocolate instead of cocoa powder and can be found in print as early as the 1900s. It’s believed that Devil’s food cake gets its name from being the total opposite of Angel Food Cake which was very popular in the Victorian era. But it’s also likely to have been so named because of the ingredients that give this cake an intensely rich flavor and a super moist crumb that are pretty decadent (and some thought devilishly good).
- What makes Devil’s Food Cake different from regular chocolate cake? Devil’s Food Cake is simply a richer more chocolatey cocoa version of chocolate cake. This can be attributed partly to the espresso added to enhance the chocolate flavor, the addition of baking powder and baking soda in this recipe, and a hot liquid (sometimes coffee was used), but I use hot water. All of these elements provide a very moist tender crumb that isn’t typically matched by a regular chocolate cake. Also, Devil’s Food Cake almost always uses Dutch-process cocoa powder only versus using a combination of cocoa powder and melted baking chocolate like many regular chocolate cakes.
- Why do you need to gently incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients? Stirring together the dry and wet ingredients in cake batter too much or too aggressively can activate the gluten in the flour too much. This can ruin your otherwise perfect cake crumb by making it dense. If the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated gently and just until it’s all well combined (and no more), you’ll end up with a lighter crumb allowing your cake to be very moist and spongy.
- Don’t overbeat the frosting ingredients or you will end up with a gritty texture. Beat the egg white mixture just until you have stiff peaks. A good way to check for the right consistency is to turn the bowl upside down and when the frosting will not slide or fall out, it’s ready. Another good way to know if egg whites are properly stiff is when the peaks will stand upright on a whisk without falling back into themselves.
Looking for More Delicious Cake & Cupcake Recipes?
Here are a few of our favorite cakes, cupcakes, and other sweet dessert recipes we think you might also enjoy.
- Best Banana Bread Bread Cake Ever
- Double Layer Devil’s Food Cake (w/Granny’s Hand-Whipped 7-Minute Frosting)
- Strawberry Shortcake Scones w/Jam + Clotted Cream
- Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake (best carrot cake recipe ever)
- Very Berry Frutti di Bosco Muffins w/Crackle Top
- White Chocolate Creme Brûlée Cheesecake w/Biscoff Cookie Crust
- Crispy + Flaky Southern Fried Cherry Pies (Best Ever)
- One-Bowl Blueberry Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- All-Natural Super Moist Strawberry Cupcakes w/Strawberry Gelée