Have you ever promised to bake someone a birthday cake…and then completely forgotten until the morning of their birthday? No? Well, I did last week. After promising to bake my father-in-law a fabulous cake to ring in his 65th, it was gone from my mind until lunchtime on the big day, leaving me with only a few hours to whip up something that looked and tasted worthy of such an occasion. Enter this Devil’s Food Bavarian Torte, a little secret I keep in my arsenal for just such occasions. Although the recipe includes a super moist, super chocolate-y devil’s food cake recipe, I’m going to level with you guys: I totally used a mix instead. And no one suspected a thing as they bit into the heavenly layers of cake, chocolate shavings and mascarpone cream. Keep reading for lots more luscious images and the recipe. Oh, and let’s keep this our little secret, shall we? 

Devil’s Food Bavarian Torte

For the cake: (or use 1 package (18 ¼ oz) devil’s food cake mix) 

  • 9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup strong coffee (or water)
  • ½ cup whole or low-fat milk
For the filling:
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 c whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 tbsp grated semisweet chocolate
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter two 9? cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
  3. To make the cake layers, sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
  4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
  5. Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
  6. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. If using a mix, prepare according to instructions using two 9″ cake pans.
  8. To assemble the cake: In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy.  Fold in cream.  Split each cake into 2 layers, place one on serving plate.  Spreac w/ ¼ of cream mixture.  Sprinkle w/ ¼ of chocolate.  Repeat layers.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

*devil’s food cake recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

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Comments (24)
  1. 1
    Jjanga January 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

    This looks so delicious, I am going to have to try it!

    xoxo, Jjanga

  2. 2
    Kelly January 24, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Looks delish, not a bad backup plan!

  3. 3
    Like, Whatever January 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

    so yum

  4. 4
    Molly January 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

    That looks divine! Way to whip it up in no time! xo

  5. 5
    Ali January 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

    This looks to die for! My favorite part is the gold candles and silverware!

  6. 6
    Lotoya January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    You save the day with this one for your father-in-law LOL. I am a cake lover. This was the perfect blog today. I blogged about ice cream and cake today. Its my favorite, especially together. No worries box cake is great when you put your twist with it.

    Cheers to CAKE!

  7. 7
    Jen @ pretty plate January 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

    This looks sinfully delicious.

    : ))

  8. 8
    Leah @ Freutcake January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

    You know what…I have done the SAME thing! My husband’s Grandmother asked me to bake cupcakes for a family event and I completely forgot/ran out of time. So I used a box of Duncan Hines (the best) cake mix and whipped up a homemade buttercream frosting. I got rave reviews from the family. hehe The key is to make a homemade frosting for sure!

  9. 9
    Kendra January 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    That looks delicious! I love that you secretly used a mix. Makes me feel less guilty about using them so often! What a great quick cake to whip up.. and it looks fabulous!


  10. 10
    katie beth summerhays January 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    oooh, oooh! my birthday is on monday… someone please bake this for me! xx

  11. 11
    desiree {chic coastal living} January 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    That cake looks totally delicious!

  12. 12
    la domestique January 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Such a pretty cake! It’s the thought that counts, ya know? Sometimes we just have to go with the boxed cake. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

  13. 13
    aunt lez January 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’m swooning and smiling about….how i Love birthdays! and of course this cake would be perfect! 🙂 hey i think these cakes were inspired by all the birthday cakes your mom and i have asked for from you kids through the years. always a mega rich cake with whip between layers (and toasted nuts for me!) to lighten it up. don’t even need ice cream but vanilla bean always sneaks in somehow. i love you bunches!

  14. 14
    Sarah Morgan // Hemenway Street January 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    That looks delicious! I pinned the recipe for future reference. Valentine’s Day, perhaps?

  15. 15
    Viviana Baluja January 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The look of this cake is awesome. The candles and the shaved toppings make the cake!

  16. 16
    Alison January 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I’m guessing this would translate into very yummy cupcakes. Have you ever used this frosting to frost little cupcakes?

  17. 17
    Gerry Greenbaum August 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    What does c mean in the ingredients list? Perhaps its American measure – please help out a Brit who would love to try this recipe!!

    • Camille Styles August 26, 2013 at 9:55 am

      No prob, it’s just abbreviation for “cups!” 🙂

  18. 18
    Stacy December 29, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Can someone please leave an actual review? You are all just commenting on how great this would be to make, but haven’t actually made it. Your comments although I am sure are flattering do not help when deciding whether this recipe is worth time and effort to make.