Aunt Fan’s Devil’s Food Cake

  • Serves

    makes 1 8" cake

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 12 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 12 cups flour, sifted
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 12 cup heavy cream
  • 14 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

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