Anne Byrn’s Devil’s Food Cake

Southern Kitchen
Anne Byrne's Devil's Food Cake

About the recipe

This is Anne Byrn's go-to chocolate cake recipe, a Southern Kitchen favorite. It's dark and dense and full of great chocolatey flavor. 

Serves: 12 to 16

Hands-On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 0 minutes



1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pinch salt


To make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. While beating on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with the spatula.

Bake until the cake just pulls away from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans, set on wire racks, for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans, give them a gentle shake, and invert the cakes once and then again so they cool right side up on the rack. Let cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

To make the frosting: Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the cocoa and vanilla and beat until combined. Add half of the sugar and beat until combined. Add the remaining sugar and the heavy cream, season with salt, and beat on medium speed until fluffy.

To assemble, place one layer on a serving plate and spread with about 2/3 cup frosting. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Serve.