Red Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Frosting

Red Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Frosting

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
363 Calories
14g Fat
55g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 363
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 19%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 554mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 4g
Calcium 96mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic red devil's food cake recipe is similar to red velvet cake. The two cakes both hail from the Victorian-era, have a chocolate base, and have a red hue. However, they differ in the type of cocoa powder that you use. Traditionally, a red devil's food cake is made with unsweetened, natural cocoa powder. Red velvet usually uses Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is slightly different.

This cake is made with buttermilk and unsweetened cocoa with just a hint of red food coloring. Like most devil's food cakes, one of its distinctive ingredients is hot brewed coffee. It is an easy cake to prepare, and it comes out moist and delicious every time. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own substitute with regular milk. You will need to sour it with vinegar (sometimes lemon juice is used, too).

This recipe includes a vanilla frosting. You also can use store-bought frosting or another recipe for the frosting.

You can use two 8-inch round pans or go rectangular with a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan (2-inches deep). A rectangular cake might take a few minutes longer to bake.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup hot melted shortening
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (8 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or make buttermilk substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla Frosting: 
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Red Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Frosting ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

    prepared cake pans

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Sift together granulated sugar and cocoa powder.

    Sift together granulated sugar and cocoa powder

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. In mixing bowl, blend the sugar and cocoa with melted shortening.

    blend the sugar and cocoa with melted shortening in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add beaten eggs; stir to mix well. Blend in hot coffee and food coloring.

    add egg, coffee and food coloring to the batter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; blend well.

    Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. In a cup, combine buttermilk or the buttermilk substitute and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

    buttermilk and vanilla in a cup

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Add the flour mixture to the first mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (or its substitute) and vanilla.

    combine the batter with the flour mixture and the buttermilk

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

    baked cake in cake pans on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Cool the cakes in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes to racks to cool completely.

    cakes on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. While the cake cools, make the frosting. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat in 1 tablespoon of milk. Add more milk, as needed, to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.

    vanilla frosting in a mixer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Spread some frosting on one of the rounds.

    cake frosted with vanilla frosting

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  13. Place the other round on top of the first round and then frost the top and sides of the cake.

    Red Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Frosting

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck