Devil’s Food Cake | Pittsburgh City Paper

Devil’s Food Cake

It might not look super fancy, but it’s delicious.

We all have the recipe we pull out in the clutch, and this devil’s food cake is mine. It has been in my family for ages, and it’s one of my favorite cake recipes: chocolately, moist, and serves a base for a variety of flavors of icing. It’s also a one-bowl wonder that can be made in practically minutes. Bonus: It’s vegan, so it’s sure to please just about everyone at your dinner table. I make it all the time for birthdays and celebrations, and have even made it into cupcakes for a “Pimp Your Own Cupcake” bar at my friend’s wedding. It might not look super fancy, but it’s delicious. 



  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups cold water


Sift all the dry ingredients together three times into a large mixing bowl. Make three holes. Put the vinegar in the first hole, the vanilla in the second hole and the oil in the third hole. Pour cold water over the whole thing and mix well with a whisk. Pour cake batter into an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and then frost.

Frosting: The best part about this cake is that you have so many options for frosting. Keep it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar; take the easy route of buying some buttercream at the grocery store; or make it yourself (try peanut- butter frosting). 

Here’s my basic go-to:

  • • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Pour icing over cake and use a spatula to cover cake evenly. 

Sarah Sudar is a writer for where she writes about food culture in Pittsburgh.