Rum & Espresso Devil's Food Cake

In the midst of many instances where I have baked and recipes that I’ve created, fused together, or taken from a book have gone wrong, there comes a certain point where we, as culinary artisans, become good at baking or just plain lucky. I consider myself the latter—let me explain.

In the week before my high school midterms, I had certain responsibilities that needed to be taken care of. The typical stuff—studying, catching up on work, and you know, virtually baking a buffet for my class’ coffee break (a high school’s class meeting of sorts, but really just an exposition of who really had the time to dedicate themselves to preparing food for the get-together). Anyways, I had decided to multitask by studying for my US History exam as well as bake something—but of course, a cake, something I have fun doing… sometimes. What kind originally, I had no clue. I tore a couple of pages out of this chocolate-stained notebook where I keep recipes and got to work. Sometime during the night’s activities my ADHD medication burned out and I hadn’t been subsequently using the same recipe than I had did in the beginning. “Whatever, I’ll put this in the oven anyways,” I said to myself.

And the rest was luck. Peers weren’t disgusted by the recipe, but actually seemed to enjoy it on the contrary. When I got home, I wrote down what I knew I had put in the cake the night before, as well as added some new things to it. The result is the cake you are about to make.


For the cake itself:

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli’s)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup espresso, room temp
  • 1-2 Tbsp of rum

For the frosting:

  • Semisweet white chocolate chunks
  • 1/1 cup of butter, room temp
  • 3-4 Tbsp of light corn syrup
  • 3 ½ Tbsp of hot espresso


  • Sifter
  • Electric mixer
  • Coffee/espresso brewer
  • Two eight-inch cake tins
  • Double boiler
  • Small pan for melting butter


  1. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium sized bowel, sift the flour and baking powder together.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed for five to six minutes.
  4. Add one egg in, mix until smooth, then add other.
  5. Add espresso and mix until thin texture.
  6. Gradually, blend in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. When all is mixed thoroughly, add the rum.
  7. Put the cake batter evenly in two tins and in the oven at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. Let the cakes cool for thirty minutes upon completion.
  8. During the time while the cakes are baking up, you can make the frosting. Place the white chocolate chunks in a boiler until melted. Upon melting, stir in the corn syrup. Carefully—if put in all at once, often produces uneven texture—gradually add in the espresso. It’s not much, but it makes a difference in my opinion.
  9. Put the frosting in the fridge for 50 minutes and let it sit.
  10. After both cake and frosting have cooled, frost away.

What you should know

I like using Puerto Rican espresso for this recipe, it adds a desirable distinct flavor. In further regard to distinction, you should use two very different kinds of coffee/espresso for your cake and syrup (using Puerto Rican coffee for mine and then hazelnut espresso for the frosting) if you choose to go that route. Lastly, I’d like to note that you should use espresso, not coffee! Only substitute with coffee if it’s necessary.

Re: Rum & Espresso Devil's Food Cake

Like your style dude.

Re: Rum & Espresso Devil's Food Cake

Oh the cultural divide that is the Atlantic… when I was in High School, I imagine my peers and I would have considered espresso to be a pint of beer poured very, very quickly. Anyway, this recipe sounds great and I can’t wait to try it out.

Re: Rum & Espresso Devil's Food Cake