Red Devil Cake

Warning,  long post!  We’re talking two cakes and two frostings.

Today I was in charge of the dessert for a family birthday celebration.  Clearly I needed to make a cake.  What’s less clear is why I decided to take on Red Velvet Cake, Devil’s Food Cake and 7-minute frosting all in one afternoon.  Red Velvet is one of my favorite cakes and I’ve been wanting to try Red Velvet Cake Cones since I heard Gina Neely say she was making them.  What didn’t occur to me is that I’d need to make 24 of them to use up the batter.  I only had 12 cones.  So I figured I’d make a regular cake with the rest.  Of course there wasn’t enough left to make a decent cake so I had to make another layer.  Well, I was out of red food coloring so  I had to choose another kind of cake entirely.  Enter the Devil’s Food.  Between the layers is cream cheese frosting and the outside is a version of 7 minute frosting that really turned into something more like marshmallow fluff.  All very complex and mostly ended up this way because I just didn’t think things all the way through.  Still, necessity is the mother of invention so today I invented the Red Devil Cake.

As many of you I’m sure, I tend toward the old-fashioned when I’m looking to make a cake.  I have Paula Deen’s Grandmother Paul to thank for the Red Velvet Cake and an old Better Homes and Gardens to thank for the Devil’s Food (mostly).  Seven Minute frosting has been around as long as there have been electric beaters and Cream Cheese frosting is just a de facto part of the cooking world.  We’ll deal with all of the pieces individually, but make no mistake, it’s the combination that makes the magic that is Red Devil Cake.

Red Velvet cake is a mess to make.  I don’t usually pay much attention to the little smears of batter than get on my hands and countertops while I’m making a cake.  I noticed this.  It’s RED.  There are two ounces of red food coloring in this batter.  That’s two of those little bottles.  The good news is that the butter keeps the food coloring from sticking so other than possibly your kitchen towels, there’s no staining.  What makes this cake a little more complicated than most is that it calls for buttermilk and cake flour, neither of which I usually keep in the house.  It also requires a little baking soda and vinegar science experiment added at the end.  The buttermilk and vinegar add a lovely and subtle tang, while the cake flour makes a very light cake that’s surprisingly not overly crumby.  You can make substitutions for the buttermilk and the cake flour, but don’t.  Remember that baking is a chemistry experiment.  The elements count.

Devil’s Food Cake is also a high maintenance cake.  Technically I suppose this layer of my cake isn’t really Devil’s Food because I left out the second half of the recipe.  Devil’s Food requires that you mix up the batter, then froth the egg whites and fold them in.  It’s kind of like making waffles that way.  Well, I read half the recipe, made the batter and then thought the rest of the recipe was about the frosting so I skipped it.  Oops.  My batter had eggs to hold it together and soda to make it rise so I figured it would be okay.  It was better than okay!  A little more dense and not as tall as regular Devil’s Food, but still really good.  I also only made 1/2 the recipe because I only needed one layer.  It’s not easy to halve 3 egg yolks, but you manage.

Cream cheese frosting is the easiest, and one of the yummiest, of all the frostings.  Just cream butter and cream cheese and add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Some people add a squeeze of lemon for a little extra tang.  I just cut back on the sugar to keep that tangy cream cheese taste.

Seven Minute Frosting is exactly the opposite of Cream Cheese Frosting.  It’s difficult to get to come out right.  I have yet to do it.  Maybe some day.  First of all, I don’t know anyone who can do it in seven minutes.  Second, if you beat it too little it’s runny and unstable; too much and you end up with Divinity candy.  This is a boiled frosting so you need some sort of double boiler.  The process seems easier enough.  It’s just sugar, water and corn syrup frothed over boiling water until you get stiff peaks.  You can use cream of tartar instead of corn syrup if you like.  I got frustrated in the eleventh minute and added a touch of cream of tartar.  Bad idea.  The frosting wasn’t bad, but it got hard to work with as it cooled.  Honestly this stuff is a lot like marshmallow fluff.  I’m tempted to just use a jar of that next time.   I won’t, but I’m tempted.

So there you have it.  All of the elements of Red Devil Cake.  It makes a lovely and yummy cake.  Just make sure you have plenty of time.  It took me about 4 hours total.  Next time it could be a little faster since it would be intentional, but probably not a lot faster.

Oh, if you want to make the cone cakes just make any cake batter and fill flat bottomed ice cream cones about half way full.  I set them in a muffin tin to keep them upright and catch the overflow.  Bake at 350 about 15 minutes.  Frost them when they’re cool.   I have no idea why the cones don’t burn, but they don’t.  They don’t even brown.  These would be great for kids or for outdoor parties.  No plates and no forks.  Cake to go!

Good? Oh yes. Maybe even better if the frosting turns out right.
Easy? Nope. Not at all.
Good for company? I can’t imagine why you’d make it if there wasn’t company, but feel free!
Special shopping? Cake flour and buttermilk. Maybe red food coloring too.

Grandmother Paul’s Red Velvet Cake


2 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.

Devil’s Food My Way

Remember this recipe only makes one layer.


1 1/8 C all purpose flour
1/4 C cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2-2 egg yolks
3/4 C cold water


Stir together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, soda and salt). Set aside.
Cream the butter. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Alternate adding flour mixture and water, starting and ending with flour. Mix after each addition until just combined.
Pour batter into a greased and floured cake pan.
Bake at 350 about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Seven Minute Frosting


2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Put egg whites, sugar, water and syrup in top of double boiler. Beat until mixed well. Place over rapidly boiling water. Beat constantly with electric beater while it cooks for 7 minutes or until it will stand in peaks when beater is raised. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat. Fills and frosts 2 layer cake, 8 or 9 inch.


One Response to “Red Devil Cake”

  1. Kristin Says:

    Sounds delicious!
    It also sounds like an awful lot of baking and frosting-making-over-heat for the end of July. I’m impressed by your dedication and determination!

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