Published March 1, 2000.
The secrets to this moist, velvety chocolate cake are Dutch-processed cocoa, boiling water, baking soda, and sour cream.
The problem with defining the Devil's Food Cake, beyond the obvious issue of color, is that over time the recipe has been changed and embellished to the point where different recipes have little in common.
After reviewing lots of recipes, we came to the conclusion that the essence of devil's food cake is a very moist, velvety texture combined with an intense chocolate experience. Our challenge was to develop a recipe that lived up to our definition.
Use a combination of unsweetened chocolate and Dutch-processed cocoa powder (which is less acidic than regular cocoa and therefore enhances browning), mixed with hot water rather than milk; milk tends to dull the flavor of chocolate (think of milk versus dark chocolate). A mixture of cake and all-purpose flour provides both structure and delicacy. Sour cream deepens the flavor and adds substance to the texture of the cake. Finish with vanilla or coffee buttercream frosting.list of recipes