Devil’s Food Cake for Design Sponge

October 30th, 2010  | Category: Cakes, Chocolate

Devil's Food Cake

I am a big fan of Design Sponge‘s “In The Kitchen With” column. Every Friday, they feature talented cooks, bakers, photographers and food stylists from all around the world and publish a recipe for the rest of us to drool over. So when Kristina asked me if I’d like to contribute a recipe and photos for the column, I was simply floored.

Here’s what I came up with: Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Biscoff Ganache and Chocolate Shards.

Moist and fluffy cake layers with a velvety ganache in the middle. Pure comfort food.

Devil's Food Cake 3

Presentation is everything and it really doesn’t have to be laborious. You are going to love these chocolate shards.

Chocolate Shards

You simply melt chocolate, spread it thinly on a parchment paper, roll it into a tube, chill and unroll. That’s it. Hearing the chocolate breaking into shards as you unroll the tube is priceless.

The ganache part incorporates a recent addiction of mine: Biscoff spread.

Biscoff Spread

Also known as Speculoos cream in some parts of the world, it is a spread made with the famous Belgian spicy cookies. My dad got me hooked on the cookies a while ago (they are fantastic with coffee), but I wasn’t aware of the spread until I read it on David’s blog. I immediately ordered six (ahem) jars and… Well, I’ll never be the same. You can buy the Biscoff spread here.

Melted Chocolate

Looking back (at the empty jars), I am quite surprised that I was able to save a jar for this recipe. It is that good.

Biscoff Ganache

For those who have never tasted it: If you like gingersnap cookies, you’re going to love it.

Devil's Food Cake

Check out the full article, complete set of photos and the recipe for Devil’s Food Cake here.

Many thanks to Kristina and Design Sponge for this wonderful opportunity.

Have a nice weekend and Happy Halloween!


Yields one 8-inch, two-layer cake; Serves 8-10


For the Devil’s Food Cake:

  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2/3 cup (50 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, scalded
  • 1+1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1+1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Biscoff* Ganache:

  • 4.5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, chopped
  • 4.5 ounces (150 grams) milk (40% cacao) chocolate, chopped
  • One 14-ounce (400 grams) jar Biscoff spread*
  • 1+2/3 cups (400 grams) heavy cream, cold

*Biscoff spread is made from spiced cookies, like gingersnaps. You can substitute peanut or hazelnut butter for the Biscoff spread. If unsweetened, add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

For the Chocolate Shards:

  • 4 ounces (120 grams) bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, chopped


  1. Start by making the chocolate shards. In order for the chocolate shards to stick to the cake easily, the whipped ganache should be at room temperature, so make sure to have them ready by the time you are finished with the ganache.Place the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt, stirring often. Place a 16-inch-long parchment paper on your work surface. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper and using an offset spatula, spread it in a thin and even layer, about 1/3 of an inch off each edge. Place a second sheet of same-sized parchment paper on top and gently press to release the air bubbles. Starting with one short end, roll the parchment paper tightly into an-inch-wide tube. Place it seam side down on a rimmed baking tray and chill in the refrigerator until set, for at least 2 hours.
  2. Have a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready and remove the tube from the refrigerator. Unroll the tube in one quick motion, which creates the chocolate shards. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper, and with the help of a large offset spatula go underneath the pieces, pick them up and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can make the chocolate shards 3 days in advance.
  3. To make the Devil’s Food Cake, adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment papers, dust with cocoa powder, tap out excess and set aside.
  4. Sift cocoa powder into a medium bowl, add boiling water and whisk until the cocoa is completely dissolved. Add milk and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 5 more minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in vanilla.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture.
  8. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through for even baking. Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then take out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. To make the whipped Biscoff ganache, place both chocolates in the top of a double boiler set over hot water and allow to melt, stirring often. Remove from heat and whisk in the Biscoff spread. Add the heavy cream and with the help of an electric mixer, whisk until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat, as the frosting will become grainy.
  10. To compose the cake, remove parchment papers from the bottoms of the cakes. Using a long, serrated knife, remove the top crusts to flatten the surface of the cakes. Place one cake on an 8-inch cardboard round or your serving plate (wide strips of parchment paper placed under the cake will keep the serving plate clean after frosting).
  11. Frost the top with a little more than 1/3 of the ganache. Place the second cake on top and frost the top and the sides with the remaining ganache.
  12. Take the frozen chocolate chards out of the refrigerator and gently stick the shards to the ganache with the help of a tweezer. Use long pieces for the sides and smaller pieces for the top. Place the cake in the refrigerator until the ganache is firmly set, for about an hour, then serve.
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  1. 1 - Nicole on October 30th, 2010

    This is one of the coolest chocolate cakes I’ve ever seen! I can’t wait to try making some chocolate shards. Great job!

  2. 2 - Cenk on October 30th, 2010

    Thank you Nicole!

  3. 3 - Sonia{7spice} on October 30th, 2010

    Oh my! I can’t believe that chocolate cake can be so gorgeous!! An amazing creation, Cenk! I don’t have more words.

  4. 4 - Thip on October 30th, 2010

    a very cool looking devil cake, the layers are really neat too. 🙂

  5. 5 - carole (bishy57) on October 30th, 2010

    Have to agree with Sonia(7 spice) Cenk

  6. 6 - bojana on October 30th, 2010

    hi, cenk,

    i discovered your blog through design sponge and i already spent 2 hours reading and drooling over the beautifull photos. i love turkish cuisine, it’s similar to mine, macedonian, and i’m happy than i found a place for turkish (and other) recipes.

  7. 7 - Miriam/The Winter Guest on October 30th, 2010

    Lovely decor indeed and congrats on your Design Sponge collaboration, I’m sure they didn’t regret it.

  8. 8 - nidhi on October 30th, 2010

    What a beautiful, lovely cake! I am planning to try and recreate this for Diwali (huge hindu festival in India) and I have a small question.
    Firstly it seems 300gms sugar may make the cake too sweet sp if it has choc ganache etc on it? And also the amount of icing u make, is it extra coz its just looking like too much to frost 1 cake.
    Pl let me know! Thanks

  9. 9 - my little expat kitchen on October 30th, 2010

    Did you know that there’s a Haagen Dazs speculoos ice cream? At least here in Holland there is. Yum!! It tastes great. I love speculoos. In Holland the same cookes are called speculaas and they are made for St. Nicholas’ Day.
    The cake looks spectacular!

  10. 10 - Julia on October 30th, 2010

    Makes me want to lick my screen !!!! Looks great and for sure it has to taste much better 🙂

  11. 11 - Andrea on October 30th, 2010

    I’m very happy, that I found your blog via Design Sponge. After reading a few sites, I put your blog in my Google Reader Abonnement. Your fotos are great and I appreciate good food styling after working so many years with photographers from all over the world (but this was 20 years ago…).

  12. 12 - Noêmia on October 30th, 2010


  13. 13 - Özge on October 30th, 2010

    üst üste kaçıncı “vay be” dedirtmektir bu? vay be! (x100 tane de D&G için!)

  14. 14 - Mariam on October 30th, 2010

    Thank you so much for the information on how to make choc shards ! It is so simple and so effective that you might have been tempted to hold on to the secret ! Bless you. Thank you for your wonderful pictures.

  15. 15 - Vanille on October 31st, 2010

    This cake is so tempting, I had to come over from Flickr to read more about it… A real beauty !

  16. 16 - Aracely on October 31st, 2010

    This is absolute food porn, and I love it. I have to thank Design Sponge for taking my hand and leading me to your blog.

    I am a native San Franciscan, now living in Philadelphia, and am currently planning my first trip to Turkey next April…

  17. 17 - Annie on October 31st, 2010

    So many incredible opportunities coming your way Cenk! The chocolate desserts for Design Sponge and D&G are so creative.

    Congratulations on a very good first year as a full time food blogger!

  18. 18 - emelll on October 31st, 2010

    although I don’t think I will be able to get the cream, I’ll definitely add the cake and the shadrs on my notebook, anything goes great between tose shiny browns. I’ll make my dream cake, cenk, then I’ll share it with you,some day : ) I’m sure it will be easier than I thought. the thing is, I am not able to start..

  19. 19 - Caitlin on October 31st, 2010

    I am not usually a cake person, but that cake is beautiful enough to convert ANYONE! Amazing photos.

  20. 20 - Fragolina on November 2nd, 2010

    The cake looks divine… yummmiiiiii

  21. 21 - arthur escoto on November 4th, 2010

    Wow! This really takes the cake! Bravo!!!

  22. 22 - ladyubug on November 5th, 2010

    Aaaaa bu tarifin Türkçe’si yok 😮
    (Yoksa ben mi görmedim???)

  23. 23 - Lizzy on November 5th, 2010

    Wow the presentation is awesome…It makes me salivate..Also its a real art to decorate so well..Bravo

  24. 24 - lisa on November 6th, 2010

    almost doesn’t matter what it tastes like, it’s just so gorgeous!

  25. 25 - ting on November 8th, 2010

    hi cenk! just found your website from design sponge’s posting of this absolutely to die for cake and i felt compelled to leave you a comment. this cake looks so gorgeous, your photog skills do it such perfect justice. just stunning. i don’t know if i’ve worked myself up to this kind of baking expertise, but i must try this one day. i must! keep on baking and blogging, can’t wait to see what you put out next! 🙂

  26. 26 - zafer cetinoz on November 15th, 2010

    very nice,This is one of the coolest chocolate cakes I’ve ever seen! I can’t wait to try making some chocolate shards. Great job!

  27. 27 - david on November 15th, 2010

    They just look yummy!!! The photos makes one wish they were real,

  28. 28 - vicki on November 15th, 2010

    It is awesome!!

  29. 29 - David on November 18th, 2010

    Printed the recipe and tried it out. It was great!:)

  30. 30 - Ben on November 23rd, 2010

    This deliciously dense chocolate cake is sure to satisfy everyone. Thanks.

  31. 31 - Leesa Garcia on November 23rd, 2010

    Hi Cenk….

    OMG! I just now saw this and now you have inspired me to make it since I can get speculoos cream at the local supermarket! YAY!
    The choc. shards are beautiful!!

  32. 32 - esha shrestha on December 12th, 2010

    The first time i saw a picture of this cake on Design Sponge, i knew i had to try it. I did today, for my sisters’s anniversary and not a crumb leftover, which did my little heart so much joy. Thank you Cenk, for such wonderful recipes. So far i have made your yogurt chocolate cheesecake and the Korova cookies and all have been a huge success. I used to be all about David’s recipes but now i think i found a new baking guru.

  33. 33 - Cenk on December 13th, 2010

    esha shrestha – So glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes. And thanks for the nice words 🙂

  34. 34 - Sugar Daze on January 14th, 2011

    Wow, that is some cake. I am marveling over the eveness of your cake layers and ganache in-between and what a creative idea for the rolled up chocolate – i am definitely trying that soon! thanks for this wonderful eye candy – just beautiful!

  35. 35 - Vera on February 5th, 2011

    I made this cake for the 40th birthday of a dear friend, it definitely made an impression. I made three cakes in total, but this one was everyone´s favourite and was gone first. We live in the Netherlands and people here have a soft spot for the `speculoos` flavour. Did you know that originally the speculoos cookies were made for the 5th December celebration of St. Nicolaas´s birthday, which is a feast more important than Christmas here? Thanks for the recipe, I will be back to try more!
    p.s. Do you happen to know some interesting recipes using persimmons?

  36. 36 - Tiff on February 18th, 2011

    Your photographs are stunning.
    Thank you for the picture tutorial on making the chocolate shards!

  37. 37 - G on March 9th, 2011

    I’m planning to make this cake for my daughter’s 4th birthday. I hope Nutella would be ok for the whip too…?

  38. 38 - Cenk on March 16th, 2011

    G – Definitely OK 🙂

  39. 39 - Scott on March 26th, 2011

    The photos look good enough to eat! The only thing missing is the vanilla bean ice cream.

  40. 40 - G on April 3rd, 2011

    I made this yesterday for my daughter’s 4th birthday and substituted the spread for Nutella. It was a big hit and everybody thought the cake was ordered lol I was a bit apprehensive about cutting the shards but the good thing is that at room temperature, they become softer and are easy to cut. Great recipe!

  41. 41 - Cenk on April 3rd, 2011

    G – I am so happy to hear that! Thank you.

  42. 42 - Ferda... on June 3rd, 2011

    Hi Cenk,

    This cake looks absolutely amazing and I am planning to try it next week… Do you think using Dulce de leche instead of Biscoff will work, or will hazelnut butter be better (since I dont have Biscoff and can not get it in the couple of days)?

    Thanks in advance for your answer…

  43. 43 - Cenk on June 4th, 2011

    Ferda – Dulce de leche will also be great! Don’t think twice.

  44. 44 - Tannia on December 22nd, 2011

    Hi Cenk!

    I’m doing this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday wich is tomorrow, but I could not find Dutch process cocoa powder, only Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened one.

    I’m wondering if i need to change anything else in the recipe in order to make it right. Could you help me out?

    thanks and merry xmas 🙂

  45. 45 - Cenk on December 23rd, 2011

    Tannia – My recipe has baking soda so you may use natural cocoa powder. Your cake will have a reddish hue, which is also nice.

  46. 46 - Cla on February 1st, 2012

    la tua ricetta è celestiale non avevo il biscoff spread ho usato il burro di arachidi ma ti devo dire che la tua torta del diavolo è paradisiaca :*
    grazie infinite
    p.s.: ti citerò sul mio blog 😉

  47. 47 - Cla on February 2nd, 2012
  48. 48 - Jenny on February 5th, 2012

    This looks amazing!! I featured it and your 2 ingredient chocolate mousse in a Valentine’s Day feature on my blog!

  49. 49 - Karen on March 8th, 2012

    I made your cake exactly the way you made it, and it was AMAZING!! By far one of the best cakes I have ever made. I was going to make this cake tomorrow for a birthday party, and was wondering what you thought about doing white and the dark chocolate shards? Do you think the white chocolate would go with the flavors of the cake well?

  50. 50 - Cenk on March 9th, 2012

    Karen – Glad to hear you liked it. As for white chocolate, I’d say go for it! In fact, you can drizzle the white chocolate on top in thin lines (just dip a fork in white melted chocolate and go back and forth on top) after you spread the dark to create a nice effect.

  51. 51 - v on July 24th, 2012

    Hi! I LOVE your blog! i want to make this for a friend’s farewell, but one of the guests is allergic to nuts, can i substitute the biscoff with something else??

    thank you!! and please keep baking and sharing!!!

  52. 52 - Cenk on July 25th, 2012

    v – I’d recommend making a firm chocolate ganache (cream instead of Biscoff) instead.

  53. 53 - V.S. on August 2nd, 2012

    I made this cake a few days ago, following instructions completely of course. It turned out wonderfully! My family and our guests just loved it. Can’t wait to make it again. Cenk, thank you for generously sharing this recipe and for your thorough instructions. Much appreciated.

  54. 54 - amanda on October 14th, 2012

    Thank you for this fantastic recipe! I just finished making this and it is awesome. The shards of chocolate are just over the top!

  55. 55 - Lidy on January 16th, 2013

    Hi Cenk,

    I already made this recipe and it was loved by everyone! Thank you for sharing. I Want to make this cake again for my friend’s birthday but he wants something with chocolate and bananas. Do you think I can somehow add bananas to the recipe? Thanks for your time and hope to hear back from you soon!

  56. 56 - Cenk on January 23rd, 2013

    Lidy – Yes, absolutely. You can use bananas instead of the Biscoff spread. Prepare the ganache, add peeled bananas and mix with a hand-held blender until well-blended. It will not be as smooth as this one, but there will be a significant banana flavor.

  57. 57 - Sinem on February 5th, 2013

    Hi Cenk

    This has been an amazing experience! I made your cake on my birthday and it tasted so good despite the fact that I couldn’t find either Biscoff spread or Speculoos Cream in Italy. Having taken your advices into account, I decided to go with a combination of Milk & Hazelnut Cream and Peanut Butter.

    Thanks a lot for your detailed instructions and also taking time to reply everyone. Almost every single tip was a great deal of help to me.

    I admire the quality content of your posts as well as your artistic pictures. I am not much of a photographer but I took some pictures anyway. You can see them here: (I adapted your recipe for Thermomix users. Thermomix is a multi functional kitchen machine and very popular in some countries)

    Thank you again and good luck with your book.

  58. 58 - Cenk on February 7th, 2013

    Sinem – Your cake looks wonderful and I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it. Happy belated birthday!

  59. 59 - Rita Luke on October 10th, 2013

    Very impressive, I will make this cake this week, Our Son is coming home from the East Coast for a very short visit and I want to serve something very special, Read all the comments, I am so excited. Thank you for all your details, You are wonderful, please stay connected, We need you, Thank you for putting some excitement back into our kitchen.Good Luck on your new book, I am so anxious to purchase it.

  60. 60 - Lisa Aishiteru Arwen on March 11th, 2014

    I didn’t know that Turkish people know and like some of our Belgian products such as “Speculoos”. I don’t like very much those cinnamon-based “cookies” because I just don’t like cinnamon but this “speculoos” pasta is very used on slices of bread for breakfast time.

    Have your ever tasted our “pralines”, those little famous chocolates in a lot of countries? Or our waffles (from Brussels or Liège)? I think you’d enjoy them! 🙂

  61. 61 - Metin Beton on September 19th, 2014

    Oh my GOD, that looks so good. I want to eat it all. Mmmmmmm…

  62. 62 - Nelo on November 3rd, 2016

    Why the print option is not woriking?
    I,ve tried on several recipes and I encoutered the same anoying message:Sorry that page doesn’t exist.Please take a look at the Recipe Index. You might find it there.
    When you try with the Recipe Index , same story…

  63. 63 - Cenk on November 18th, 2016

    Nelo – Sorry; I’m trying to fix it.

  64. 64 - » Devil’s Food Cake with a Twist on April 19th, 2017

    […] sweet, too in-your-face.  But I am always willing to make an exception, and this outrageous devil’s food cake from Cenk at Cafe Fernando stopped me in my web surfing […]

  65. 65 - Liz on April 22nd, 2017

    Made this for my son’s 4th birthday. Such a perfect, fool proof recipe!

    It was so good, we did a repeat again a week later 🙂

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