Our recipe is an adaptation of one given to us by SAVEUR contributor Lucretia Bingham, who found it in a journal kept by her beloved great-aunt Fan. Her devil's food cake lives up to its name; it is appropriately dark and rich, and fiendishly good.
15 tbsp. butter, softened 1 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda 2 1⁄2 cups flour, sifted 1⁄2 tsp. salt 2 cups light brown sugar 2 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly 6 cups confectioners' sugar 1⁄2 cup heavy cream 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease two 8" round cake pans with 1 tbsp. of the butter and set aside. Stir together the baking soda and 1⁄4 cup boiling water in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine 8 tbsp. of the butter and the brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Working in 3 batches, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating briefly after each addition. Add the baking soda mixture (stir before adding) and chocolate and stir to make a smooth batter.
3. Divide the batter between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35–40 minutes. Set the cake pans on a rack to let cool.
4. While the cakes are cooling, make the icing. Melt the remaining 6 tbsp. butter and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, cocoa, and vanilla and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
5. Loosen the cakes from their pans. Place 1 cake on a large plate and spread top evenly with about 1 cup of the icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to spread over the top and sides. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.