Good question, skipvia--it seems to be a regular replacement for "hell" or "hellion" (the latter being an excellent word in its own right).
Wait--I looked it up. Here's what OED says:
App. substituted for ‘devil’, as having the same initial sound. It has been suggested to be worn down from devilkin or deilkin, but no evidence of this has been found. Dickin or Dickon, dim. of Dick (cf. Wilkin, Watkin, Jankin or Jenkin, Simkin) was in use long before the earliest known instance of this, and Dickens as a surname was probably also already in existence.
I for one never think of the devil as cute, however.