Devil’s Food Cake with Fluffy 7 Minute Frosting – Impossibly chocolatey cake with a generous amount of the fluffiest and lusciously dreamy frosting is all anyone could ask for in a dessert.


I have been in a great little book club for 4 years now and like most book clubs, we have our own way of meeting.  Every 6-8 weeks, one person hosts at their own house and makes dinner for the members.  Before the book is chosen, the host throws out a few titles to the group and we rank order our choices; the book with the most #1 ranks is our next book.

And probably not so coincidentally, we usually all rank the same book as #1.

This time around, it was my turn to host and the group chose Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, by Ruth Reichl, former editor of Gourmet magazine and food critic for the New York Times.  Even before the book gets chosen, I usually have a plan laid out for what I’m going to cook that night and this time was no different.

I was dying to make something from Pam Anderson’s One-Dish Dinners but my plan was foiled because 10 pages into Reichl’s book, recipes started showing up.  I couldn’t possibly host book club for this book without cooking from the book!


Of the two recipes I made, it’s a tough choice for the top spot.  Reichl described this cake as one that would make the boys happy.  It was one that, as a teenager with absent parents, she would whip up in the middle of the night while her friends partied in her house.  This autobiography of the early part of her life is almost unimaginable because of the experiences she had at such a young age but this cake is very real.  And very good.

And the 7 minute frosting is to die for!  The impossibly chocolatey cake with a generous amount of fluffy and dreamy frosting is all anyone could ask for in a dessert. Though, if I’m being honest, my very favorite peanut butter frosting would be just amazing on this devil’s food cake as well.

This cake was the perfect way, along with a cold glass of milk, to wrap up a great evening of food, chit-chat, and literature with friends.

  • Prep Time: 35min
  • Cook Time: 25-30min
  • Yield: 12-16 servings


For the cake:
2 cups sifted cake flour (sift first then measure)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
¾ cup cocoa
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

For the 7 minute frosting:
4 egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp table salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9″ cake pans. In a medium bowl, mixture together the cake flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  • 02

    Heat milk in small pan until bubbles begin to appear around edges. Remove from heat. Mix cocoa and white sugar together in a small bowl and slowly beat in warm milk. Let cool.

  • 03

    In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla (the mixture will look curdled but that’s OK). In three alternating additions, add the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing each addition only until it is just combined. After the last addition of flour, beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

  • 04

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cake shrinks slightly from sides of pans and springs back when touched gently in the center. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then turn the cakes out onto two racks. Wait until completely cool before frosting.

  • 05

    To make the frosting: Combine egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in a completely dry heatproof bowl (I recommend using your stand mixer bowl because you’ll need it to finish the frosting) set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the mixture frequently until the temperature on a candy/deep fry or instant read thermometer reads 170° F. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

  • 06

    Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until frosting is stiff enough to spread. Frost the cake immediately. It will look like a lot of frosting, but use all of it; there will enough to generously fill and frost the cake.

adapted from Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl