Devil’s Food Cake with American Frosting

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

A Taste of Dreams

A Taste of Dreams

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1976

  • About

Of course I cannot claim this beautiful cake to be my own concoction but it is so delicious, and having tried many recipes for it I have finally arrived at a combination of several which I find makes the best cake. It is a perfect cake for birthdays or parties. I even use it as a Christmas cake because after eating Christmas pudding and mince pies no one in our house seems to feel like rich fruit cake at teatime. Also the gleaming white American frosting makes such wonderful snow. It is so easy to shape into ice slopes for a skiing Father Christmas and his reindeer pulling a sledge, while perhaps a snowman sits under a frosty Christmas tree nearby and the robin redbreast sits perkily on his log! True American frosting which you make with a sugar thermometer is wonderful but not guaranteed to succeed and I find it tricky to do without the help of a second person. This mock American frosting is very good indeed and easy both to make and to ice with. It is better if you can make and ice the cake one or two days in advance.


    For the Cake

  • 3 oz Chocolate Menier or plain chocolate (75 g)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 6 oz butter (175 g)
  • 10½ oz soft dark brown sugar (285 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs – lightly whisked
  • 6 fl oz milk soured by adding the juice of ½ large lemon (175 ml)
  • 10½ oz plain flour (285 g)
  • ¾ level teaspoon baking powder
  • level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (sifted together with flour and baking powder)
  • Good apricot, blackcurrant or black cherry jam to fill

For the American Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 12 oz caster sugar (350 g)
  • good pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • about 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar


Line 2 greased 8–9 in (20–23 cm) sandwich tins with greased greaseproof paper. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put with 3 tablespoons of water in a double saucepan or a bowl over simmering water stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Turn on the oven to Gas 4 (350°F/180°C). Cream the fat with the sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Thoroughly beat in the lightly whisked eggs and melted chocolate. Add the soured milk alternately with the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth with a knife. Bake towards the centre of the oven, which you have pre-heated to Gas 4 (350°F/180°C) for 30–40 minutes until well risen and springy to a touch in the centre. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes carefully out on to a wire tray to cool and remove the greaseproof paper. When cold sandwich together with plenty of good strong-tasting jam and ice with American frosting.

To make the frosting put all the ingredients together into a large deep bowl and whisk thoroughly together. Put the bowl over a pan of very hot water and continue to whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to stand in peaks and the sugar has dissolved Spread at once thickly all over the cake with a wide knife making rough flicks. Decorate if liked.