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As an Aussie, I’m quite fascinated by some of the uniquely North American baked goods. There seems to be loads of different sweet treats out there that are well known to our North American friends but are completely unheard of here. On the list are things like whoopie pies, red velvet cake, nanaimo bars, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, angel food cake, s’mores, snickerdoodles and king cake.

Devil’s food cake (and cupcakes for that matter), also joined that list. I understood that it was like a light chocolate cake but the distinction between devil’s food cake, red velvet cake and regular chocolate cake was lost on me. Wikipedia explained that devil’s food cake is “generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes”. Not all that definitive. After making my own (delicious) red velvet cupcakes a while back, and knowing my way around a chocolate cake, I thought it was time to give the devil’s food cake a whirl.


My first instinct was to check out the recipe for devil’s food cake from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook – More from Magnolia. The book actually contains separate recipes for devil’s food cupcakes and for a devil’s food cake. I planned to take the sweet treats to a birthday picnic so cupcakes were the order of the day.

The cookbook recommended that the cupcakes be frosted with caramel frosting, though my understanding (and correct me if I am wrong!) is that chocolate frosting is more traditional. For some reason I decided to use vanilla frosting (which is used in a few recipes) and to tint the frosting green. I thought it would look cute, which it kind of did, but it also made people think that the cupcake was mint flavoured. I really need to just make a mint cupcake and be done with it.

I’ll move on from my random tangents..

So how was the cupcake?

It was definitely light and airy and had a good hit of chocolate. It was far more chocolatey than the red velvet cupcakes I have made in the past. I liked the chocolate and vanilla together but will probably go the traditional route if I made these again – everyone loves double chocolate!


So tell me, are there any North American recipes you are really keen to try out? Does anyone have suggestions for something else for me to add to my to-bake list?

Devil’s food cupcakes with vanilla frosting

The cupcake recipe is adapted from More from Magnolia by Alyssa Torey and the frosting recipe is my favourite frosting form Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home.
Made about 20 regular sized cupcakes.

For the cupcakes

250g flour (or 300g if using spelt flour)
90g dutch processed cocoa (or 1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
170g butter, softened
300g brown sugar
110g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
180ml buttermilk
2 tsp of vanilla essence

For the frosting

380g caster sugar
180ml eggwhites (from about 6 large eggs) at room temperature
370g butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
food colouring of your choice (or just leave it white!)

  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
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  • With an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the brown sugar and caster sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well in between.
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  • Beat in one third of the dry ingredients, then beat in half the buttermilk. Beat in the next third of dry ingredient, followed by the end of the buttermilk. Beat in the last third of dry ingredients. Beat in the vanilla. Spoon into prepared liners.
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  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
  • Cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting – combine sugar and eggwhites in a heat proof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Whisk until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (approx. 65C/150F to 70C/160F). This took about 5 minutes.
  • Working quickly, pour the mixture into a stand mixer and whip on high speed. Continue whipping until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks and the whites are cool to the touch – about 15 minutes.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and on medium speed, gradually add pieces of butter. Make sure each batch is incorporated before adding more.
  • Keep beating until all butter is incorporated and the frosting is thick. Beat in the vanilla and food colouring.
  • Fill a piping bag with a star shaped tip and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with a candy flower decoration.
  • Enjoy!


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2 Responses to “Devil’s food cupcakes with vanilla frosting”

  1. marcellina says:

    I first made Devil’s Food cake many years ago using a recipe from an old Family Circle cookbook. It probably wasn’t the real deal but it had some instant coffee in it and it was a dark moist cake layered with fresh cream and topping with choc frosting. There are some many US recipes I would like to try like King cake, bagels, rugelach and pumpkin pie!

    • Emily says:

      Rugelach – that’s an interesting one. I had to google it! After some discussions on Twitter I have added some to my list – peanut butter pie and peanut butter cookies! Mmmm

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