Gluten Free Retro Devils Food Cake

Devils Food Cake for a Retro #SundaySupper

In American Food by Amanda Mouttaki47 Comments

Vintage Recipe Book

The theme for this week’s Sunday Supper was “Retro Recipes,” and truthfully it was a little bit of a challenge for me! I’m still young enough that the generation I grew up in isn’t retro yet.  While one of my grandmother’s cooked a lot, she made meals that would be considered more ethnic fare.  There wasn’t a single recipe I could remember from my childhood that would count as retro! So as I scratched my head I thought of devil’s food cake.  For whatever reason it sounds and feels like a thing of the past. I asked my mom to look through my great grandma’s recipe box to unearth a recipe for this.  No luck. The next stop was several small, old cookbooks I acquired at a thrift store.  One of them happened to be the book in the picture above.  There were two devil’s food cake recipes, one I had the ingredients for, the other I didn’t.  I’m sure it’s pretty obvious which I chose.  It’s called “Devil’s Food Cake De Luxe”.  It’s deluxe for sure.

What is devil’s food cake?

MarocBaba asked what the difference between devil’s food cake and chocolate cake was.  I didn’t know.  I always assumed devil’s food cake was a richer cake. But consulting a few different sources there seems to be no consensus as to the definition.  Some possibilities are;

  • a moist, airy, rich chocolate layer cake similar to yellow or white angel food cake.
  • a cake that is more moist than the traditional chocolate cake that uses cocoa and coffee.
  • different from a chocolate cake because it uses baking soda, incorporates butter, and uses less egg.
  • a cake similar to red velvet cake, possibly incorporating beets (as a carrot cake incorporates carrots) and makes the color “devil red”.

What I do know:

  • layer cake
  • chocolate
  • moist
  • filling between the layers
  • Yum.

I knew I would never get away with making a cake that had gluten.  MarocBaba would be devastated.  So I’m giving you this recipe with gluten free flours.  If you’re making this with regular flour use 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour in place of the gluten free flours. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients or the multiple steps.  It’s worth the time to make each of the components from scratch but you could use a store bought frosting and cream if you’re short on time.

Gluten Free Retro Devils Food Cake

Gluten-Free Devils Food Cake #SundaySupper


  • 2/3 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 boiling water
  • 3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk, scalded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Fudge Frosting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp butter


    Preparing the Cake
  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • In a small bowl combine the water and chocolate, stir until thick and set aside.
  • In another bowl, sift together all of the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the eggs and continue to beat until fluffy.
  • Slowly add the melted chocolate, stirring to blend well.
  • Next, add the sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk. Alternate between adding a portion of each, blending the mixture after adding each item.
  • Spray two 8" round pans with baking cooking spray or butter and dust each with flour.
  • Pour equal amounts into each of the pans.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • Making the Cream Filling
  • Scald the milk before putting all of the ingredients together.
  • Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt very well.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well.
  • Add a little bit of the milk (it will still be warm) slowly, mix and then, transfer the sugar and egg mix into the remaining milk.
  • Whisk, whisk. whisk!
  • Pour the mixture into a pan, turn the stovetop to medium heat and continually whisk.
  • The mixture will thicken.
  • Add butter, cool and then mix in the vanilla.
  • Cool the cream before adding to the cake.
  • Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • Cook sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and milk, stirring constantly, until it reaches 232F or a small amount of the syrup forms a very soft ball when dropped into cold water.
  • Remove from the heat - add vanilla and butter.
  • Cool to lukewarm.
  • Beat in a stand mixer or mixer until creamy.
  • Assembling
  • Once cool, cut each of the cake rounds in half horizontally.
  • Place one round on the bottom of a large cake plate.
  • Top with 1/3 of the cream filling.
  • Add the next round on top of the first.
  • Continue until the cake is assembled.
  • Frost the top and sides of the cake with the fudge frosting.
  • Serve in small slices. This cake is very rich and a little will go a long way.
  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Check out what the rest of the Sunday Supper Team has come up with!

Sunday Supper Retro Appetizers:

Sunday Supper Retro Salads:

Sunday Supper Retro Breads and Sandwiches:

SundaySupper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Retro Sides and Veggies:

Sunday Supper Retro Desserts and Cocktails:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet all day and share recipes.  We also have a weekly chat that starts at 7:00 PM ET.  Join us on Twitter using the #SundaySupper hashtag. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite retro recipe!!

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Amanda MouttakiDevils Food Cake for a Retro #SundaySupper


  1. Jill Johnston

    Is the chocolate melted in 3/4 cup boiling water? I’m trying the recipe now and it is overflowing the pans! Eeek

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Jill. Yes the chocolate is melted in the boiling water. The pans should be 1/2 full when going into oven. Did you use gf flours or regular flour?

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  8. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    I LOVE Devils food cake! Who cares if there’s no consensus on what it is so long as it tastes fantastic ;) Thanks for making this gluten free – it looks just as moist, chocolatey and decadent as any normal cake. I love the old school cook book too. It must be so much fun to read through!

    1. Author

      I love old cookbooks! Some of the recipes I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole but every now and then you find something great.

  9. Renee

    I can’t get over the price of that old cookbook. My how things have changed. The Devil’s Food cake I’ve had most often is a dark chocolate cake with white frosting (7 Minute Frosting). My mother-in-law makes one for my brother-in-law for his birthday every year.

    1. Author

      I was going to go with white frosting but didn’t have the ingredients! Next time ;)

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  11. Donna

    I really never knew the difference between plain old chocolate and devil’s food, except devil’s food always sounded so much more … sinful. Nice looking cake you make there.

  12. Liz

    Whoa, what a spectacular cake!! My hubby would go crazy for this one…and you’d never know it was gluten free. Picture perfect!

    1. Author

      Success! I have been trying really hard to make my gluten free items as close to the real thing as possible.

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  16. The Ninja Baker

    Fantastic recipe, Amanda. Thank you! My husband prefers gluten-free so thank you for your gift!

    P.s. I’ve pinned your photo onto The Ninja Baker Pinterest Gluten-Free & Vegan board =)

  17. Conni Smith

    I LOVE vintage cookbooks – the older the better! I’ve been acquiring a few more lately too, through paperback swap :) Your cake, by the way, looks wicked good!

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  24. Tara

    My mouth is completely watering. Love it and I will share this with my friend who has Celiac disease for sure!!

  25. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    Most old fashioned devil´s food recipes required a custard with cocoa, water or milk and baking soda. They are incredibly rich and good tasting too. I personally think the name has something to do with the opposite of angel food cake, so light and white.
    This is an amazing GF cake! It looks so good!

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