Séduisante (that’s French for Seductive)…Devil’s Food Cake with Coconut Frosting…Photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston…Recipe from my Lady Ancestors


For the Devil’s Food Cake:

1/2 stick of butter, or 2 oz. (unsalted)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten until frothy and pale

1 and 1/2 cups cake flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream (or mix some milk with sour cream—that’s what I usually do)

2 to 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (depends on how rich you want it, 2 oz tastes like normal chocolate cake, 4 oz will knock your socks off)

1/2 cup hot strong coffee

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla (the good kind, you know what I mean)

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease two 9-inch layer pans with butter and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually, beating until very light. Take your well beaten (remember, pale, frothy, and thick) eggs and combine with the butter and sugar. Add baking powder to the flour alternately with the sour cream, a little bit at a time.

Pour the hot coffee over your chocolate squares and give it a good stir. If it doesn’t melt completely throw it in the microwave until it does. Once melted add the baking soda and let cool enough so it won’t cook your batter when the time comes to combine. Now, add the chocolate/coffee mixture to the cake batter. Add the vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Bake in the layer cake pans for about 25 minutes. To check, an inserted toothpick should come out clean, or the cake should spring back from the pressure of your finger when pressed on top.

For the Old Fashioned Seven-Minute Frosting with Coconut:

1 egg white

3 tablespoons cold water

1 scant (a little bit less of a) cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup shredded coconut (for later)

Prep: put a bowl full of ice on the counter. Put all the ingredients (but not the coconut) together into a metal mixing bowl. Everybody used to have a double-boiler, and now they don’t so this is what you do: boil water in a saucepan and place the metal bowl with all the ingredients except the coconut over the water. Make sure it’s a good fit and there’s no way the water can splash on you, because… you are now going to take your handheld beater (or a whisk if you’re super strong) and whip the ingredients until the frosting stands in stiff peaks. Add the vanilla. Take the mixture from the boiling water and place over the ice, beat until cool.

When the frosting is cool spread a layer on the top of one layer of the cake and sprinkle coconut over the top, place the next layer on top of that and now frost the cake. When all the frosting is in place, sprinkle and dab the coconut all over.

It’s really yummy. It’s really fattening. Have a good time!

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  1. August 9, 2014

    Oh my! Looks devilishly good.

    • August 10, 2014

      I’m going to make one next weekend for my own handsome devil’s birthday!

      • August 10, 2014

        What a lucky devil. 😉

  2. August 9, 2014

    Alfred Cheney Johnston, wasn’t he photographing in the very early 20th Century – even for Florenz Ziegfeld? This one would not be very recent . . . . .

    • August 10, 2014

      That’s him! He worked with a large plate camera—gorgeous stuff. In the early sixties he gave over two hundred prints of his work to the Library of Congress.

  3. August 10, 2014

    When it comes to cake, the fattening the better, I always say.

    THANK YOU for posting this.

    • August 10, 2014

      My pleasure! It’s a good one!

  4. August 10, 2014

    As for the cake – because of your thoughtful description of the effects of various amounts of chocolate, I’d use 3oz. – to walk the fine line between what’s expected and BAZONGA.
    As for the icing – I’d make it minus the coconut. I love eating raw coconut out of the shell, and cooking with coconut oil, but I’ve never liked coconut in dried/shredded form. It’s the texture, the getting-stuck-between-your-teethness, more than the flavor I think.

    • August 10, 2014

      You could substitute coconut extract for the vanilla in the frosting, or almond, or… 🙂

  5. George Kaplan
    August 10, 2014

    I wouldn’t like to be seduced…by a cake, apart from anything else, it would be messy! Bwahahahaha!

  6. August 12, 2014

    Good lord. I cannot wait to try this. Thank you for posting!

  7. August 17, 2014

    It looks mahvelous!

    When I lived in Europe and couldn’t get buttermilk for my baking, I learned that 1 cup regular milk + I tbsp white vinegar = 1 cup of buttermilk. I haven’t bothered buying the real stuff since!

    • August 18, 2014

      I know, I buy it, I bake with it, and then the buttermilk sits in the fridge until it becomes a science project and I throw it out. Milk and vinegar for me from now on!

    November 22, 2015

    Whoa. Have you just reblogged this or is my brain playing me a trick, because I realise it’s from 2014?
    Anyway this is one for me to veganize. And to de-industrial-sugar-ize, hehe 😉

    • November 22, 2015

      A good cake is worth reblogging, when you work your magic let me know and I will link to it. I love a de-industrialized dessert!

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