This is a great stand-in for a devil’s food cake mix. It differs from the vanilla variation by the addition of cocoa powder and the corresponding reduction of flour and using water instead of buttermilk (which can mute the chocolate flavor). The addition of cocoa powder eliminates the need for the cornstarch since it acts as a starch would in the batter. Dutch processed cocoa gives a rich chocolate flavor to the cake with a beautiful dark color. My favorite cocoa powder is Pernigotti which has incredible chocolate aroma and as an added bonus contains vanilla (available at amazon.com). If you wish to further boost the chocolate flavor you may switch out half of the granulated sugar for brown sugar and add one tablespoon espresso powder with the dry ingredients, or use coffee in place of the water.
This is a recipe referenced in the Cake Central Magazine article on cake mixes.
1 ½ cups (10 ½ ounces) sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 4 yolks (or 3 eggs plus 2 yolks)
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Beat sugar, shortening and vegetable oil on medium-high speed of mixer for 3 minutes. Add eggs and yolks one at a time and then beat for 1 minute until well emulsified. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the sugar mixture in mixing bowl and mix for about 20 seconds until the ingredients are distributed. Gradually add the water and vanilla and blend for about 30 seconds until it forms a uniform batter. Pour into pans and bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick just comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting or wrap in plastic wrap until needed.
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