Nigella Lawson's Devil's Food Cake Recipe

October 20, 2014

Nigella Lawson is known for her rich and decadent meals so you know that her recipe for devil's food cake is out of this world.  This cake was first featured in her book, Kitchen, and has been a favorite ever since.  Since it is Halloween time, devil's food cake seems like an appropriate dessert to prepare for you and your family.  Nigella is not shy about using copious amounts of butter and chocolate to ensure her cakes are moist and flavorful.  The best dishes are made with the best ingredients so if you want your cake to stand out among the rest, invest in quality.  This means spending a couple extra bucks for a higher caliber cocoa powder.  I usually reach for a Dutch-processed or alkalized cocoa powder because it has a smoother, richer flavor compared to natural cocoa powder.  Alkalized cocoa powder has had the natural acidity and bitterness reduced by adding a neutralizing agent (usually potassium carbonate) to the roasted cocoa beans during the pressing - a process that separates the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids.  This same attention to quality should be applied to other ingredients including butter, eggs, and dark chocolate.  

If you are feeling especially festive, you can decorate this cake to give it a more Halloween feel.  To do this, I like to ice the cake with not only chocolate frosting but with also a pumpkin buttercream.  The inside layers of the cake are stacked with the pumpkin buttercream while the outside is coated in a thick and rich homemade chocolate frosting.  You can create a graveyard scene with chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs or cover the entire cake with black sanding sugar.  Add orange candy or candy pumpkins for a pop of color.

Devil's Food Cake
Recipe from

For the cake:
50 grams best-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
250 ml boiling water 
125 grams soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
150 grams caster sugar
225 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
125 ml water 3
0 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
175 grams unsalted butter (cubed)
300 grams best-quality dark chocolate (finely chopped)

Click here to see the full recipe.

*The site also has a converter to change the recipe from gram measurements to cup measurements.

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