Recipe Review

I Tried the Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake Reddit Is Obsessed With (It Honestly Blew Me Away)

published Oct 24, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Devil's Food Cake
Credit: Grace Elkus

It’s no secret I’m a die-hard fan of Ina Garten’s chocolate cake. In fact, I’ve gone on record saying it’s the only one I’ll ever make. But as I’m sitting here eating this Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake, it seems I also have to eat my words.

Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake is an absolute delight of a cake that I found on the subreddit Old_Recipes. After having great success with u/JustHood’s Grandma’s Lemon Bars last year (another extremely popular recipe from the same subreddit), I often check in to see what’s trending. It didn’t take long to see a pattern — more than 15 users have shared photos of their cake creations since the original post just five days ago.

User u/iamktf, who posted the recipe, described it as “the best chocolate cake ever, guaranteed, in our family for at least 80 years.” In the comments section, many people chimed in to say it’s their nana’s chocolate cake recipe, too. It looked incredibly easy to make and I’m always craving chocolate cake, so I figured I’d give it a go. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Grace Elkus

How to Make Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake

The recipe’s directions are vague: It says to sift the dry ingredients and then slowly fold them into the wet, but doesn’t specify the type of pan or how long to bake it for. Instead of being deterred, I considered it a fun challenge — after all, contestants on The Great British Baking Show have to bake from limited instructions every week!

I started by sifting together 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose), 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but I assumed it was referring to fine salt, so I scaled up for kosher), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, and 2 cups granulated sugar. The only cocoa I had on hand was this jet black cocoa, which is why mine turned out so dark, but any unsweetened cocoa would work. Both my cocoa and my sugar had some lumps in them, so I was happy I took the time to sift the mixture.

I then whisked together 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup coffee (cooled but not cold, as the recipe specifies), 2 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, I slowly folded the dry ingredients into the wet. After looking through the cakes fellow Redditors had made, I decided to bake mine in a Bundt pan. I greased it with melted butter and sprinkled it with cocoa powder, poured in the batter, and baked at 350°F in the center of my oven until a toothpick came out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. (The original recipe says 375°F, but after reading through the comments and trusting my own baking instincts I baked at 350°F).

The recipe doesn’t include instructions for a frosting or glaze, so I used this recipe for a simple chocolate drizzle, which I poured on top once the cake had cooled.

Credit: Grace Elkus

My Honest Review of Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake

I am extremely obsessed with this cake, so much so that it might actually replace Ina’s as my new favorite chocolate cake. I love how easy it was to make — it didn’t require any special ingredients or fancy techniques, and I appreciate that I didn’t have to pull out my mixer. I wouldn’t have thought to use my Bundt pan had I not seen others do it, but I’m so glad I did: It rose beautifully and released easily, leaving me with a picture-perfect cake. Plus, I didn’t have to bother with greasing and flouring rounds of parchment paper for cake pans.

Of course what really makes this cake such a winner is how it tastes. It’s incredibly moist — and has stayed moist for days — but rather than being dense, it’s extremely light and fluffy. The outside bakes up with just the slightest crust, which lends the perfect contrast to the soft interior. The addition of coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor, much like it does in Ina’s recipe, without actually imparting coffee flavor (so don’t worry if you don’t like coffee!). I honestly can’t find a single flaw in it.

Credit: Grace Elkus

If You Make Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake, Have Fun with It!

This cake is incredibly versatile and hard to mess up, so consider it a blank slate — and a great project for kids and adults alike! It’s been baked into cupcakes and layer cakes and even coffin-shaped cakes, turned into a Black Forest Cake, and slathered with salted caramel frosting, just to name a few. Commenters have even mentioned using almond milk instead of whole milk and replacing some of the oil with Greek yogurt with great success. You do you! Just know that the baking time will differ depending on the size of your pan.

Have you ever made Reddit’s Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Kitchn