People On Reddit Are Obsessed With This Very Specific (And Very Good) Chocolate Cake Recipe

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The secret ingredient is key.

The weather is getting colder and the holiday season is right around the corner, which means it’s the greatest time of year for baking.


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Now, confession: I’m not much of a baker. Besides jumping onto the sourdough train during quarantine, I much prefer to cook than bake.

But this week, I noticed a specific recipe going low-key viral on Reddit. Lots and lots of people were making (and completely raving about) the same chocolate cake recipe: Nana’s devil’s food cake.

As the original poster, u/iamktf, explained when they first dropped the recipe in /r/OldRecipes, “Best chocolate cake ever, guaranteed, in our family for at least 80 years.”

I figured that if this recipe has survived generations through word of mouth, it’s probably worth trying — so I did! I gathered the ingredients:


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


Nothing looked overly complicated. I figured that even I (a novice baker!) could handle it.

First I combined all the dry ones in a bowl:


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


That’s flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and cocoa powder. I sifted the dry ingredients so they were completely smooth.


Then the wet ones in a different bowl:


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


Vegetable oil, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and coffee.

I added what many redditors called out as a game-changing ingredient: a cup of coffee.


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


I’ve heard of adding coffee to brownies and chocolate cake to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, but I’ve never tried it myself. The recipe calls for 1 cup of cool (but not cold) coffee.


I folded the dry ingredients into the wet and mixed until combined. I was expecting a thick batter, but I was surprised to see that once combined, it was very thin — almost like a super-creamy hot cocoa.


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


Then I poured the batter into a cake pan.


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


Yes, I used an aluminum tray. Maybe if this recipe goes well, I’ll invest in some bakeware. 😁

The Reddit recipe doesn’t include a cook time — it just says bake until done — so I kept a watchful eye on my chocolate cake.


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


After about 25 minutes, the old toothpick test proved that it was ready to come out of the oven.

Finally, I made a very simple vanilla glaze by mixing confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. I channeled my inner Jackson Pollock and went a little abstract:


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


The original recipe doesn’t include a frosting or glaze recipe — though you can see that redditors definitely got creative with it, topping it with everything from chocolate ganache to cherry glaze.

Now, here’s the thing: I’m not normally a chocolate cake person. And I know you’re probably thinking, Who the heck isn’t a chocolate cake person!? I would just normally choose another dessert (for example, ice cream, shortbread, a cheese plate, lol) over most things chocolate. BUT this recipe may have converted me into a chocolate cake fan. 👀


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

It was very, VERY good.


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed


It was super moist and spongy, almost like pudding meets soufflé, on the inside. And it tasted decadent — thanks in part to the coffee, I think — but not overwhelmingly rich or dense. In other words? It was perfect.

For a dessert that is so simple to bake, I would highly recommend trying this one at home. It tastes way better than the boxed stuff, but it doesn’t require much more effort. To the nana who invented this recipe and passed it down, thank you!!


Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

If you want to make Nana’s devil’s food cake, find the recipe on Reddit here — and info on variations here. (And for more vintage inspiration, check out /r/OldRecipes.)

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