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Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe

2 plates with slice of chocolate buttermilk cake

Recipes like this Chocolate Buttermilk Cake have been popular for well over 100 years. However, did you know that up until the twentieth century, chocolate was an expensive treat that only the wealthy could afford?  At that time, cocoa prices lowered enough, so the average person could enjoy it from time to time.  

The chocolate cake was a hit all the way back in the 1900s when The Duff Company of Pittsburgh, a molasses manufacturer, introduced devil’s food chocolate cake mixes. This was in the mid-1930s, but releasing the cake mix nationwide was put on hold due to World War 2. Eventually, the whole world learned of the wonders of chocolate cake due to its easy to prepare cake mixes after World War 2.

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2 plates with slice of chocolate buttermilk cake

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe

April Freeman
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is the perfect dessert to prepare when you’re uncertain of what to bring to that party or potluck that is on the calendar. With minimal mess and easily refrigerated, this cake is not only delicious but easy to make within a short time frame. It is rich and moist and chocolatey, and everyone will ask for a second slice.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Servings 16 square slices


  • 1 Single Bowl
  • 1 Baking Pan non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 Oven
  • 1 stirrer
  • 1 Saucepan


Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Icing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Set the oven to preheat to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with flour.
    set of butter and 2 fresh eggs
  • Set the pan aside as you prepare the cake ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until fully combined.
    Powdered chocolate in black bowl.
  • Then, add the buttermilk, oil, and the eggs. Stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Finally, add the water. Stir until completely smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the greased pan and smooth the batter into an even layer. Place the pan into the oven and bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top becomes firm. After the cake is baked, take the pan out of the oven and let the cake cool completely in the pan before icing.
  • To prepare the icing, melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Use a whisk to stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder. Allow this mixture to cook for 2 minutes. Make sure the cocoa and the butter mixture does not boil.
  • After 2 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla, buttermilk, and sugar. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and consistent throughout.  The icing should be thick and spreadable at this point. However, if it is too thick, slowly add more buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time, to thin it.
  • Once your icing is the correct consistency, spread it on the cooled cake while it is still warm. Allow the icing to cool and set before serving.
    finished product for buttermilk cake


Chocolate desserts slowly began to gain more popularity, especially in the United States where “chocolate decadence” cakes were popular in the 1980s. This popularity continued into the 1990s when chocolate molten cakes became common.
Many people love baking but despise the cleanup that making a dessert from scratch requires. One thing that is great about our recipe for Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is that it won’t make a huge mess in your kitchen. All ingredients for the cake itself can be combined into a single bowl, and the icing only requires one saucepan. Most everything can be tossed into the dishwasher, and you will soon be out of the kitchen and off to live your life.
Varieties of this cake can also be made to match your specific needs and taste. For a smaller dessert, cut all the ingredients in half and bake the cake in an eight or nine inch square pan. If you do this, you should reduce the cooking time to about 15 minutes.
If you want to make a layer cake, divide the batter evenly between two round 8 or 9 inch pans. The baking time will need to be reduced by about 5 minutes for these smaller cakes. However, you should keep in mind that a sturdier frosting might be needed to support the layers. A buttercream icing might be more fitting for this type of cake instead of the icing recipe that we include below.
If you want, you can dress up this cake to make it fancier for a special occasion. Chocolate chips can be sprinkled over the top of the icing to make this cake even richer than it already is. However, the options don't stop there. Topping the cake with pecans will give it a nuttier, crunchier feel. Adding strawberries to the top of the cake can add a little tart sweetness to the rich, chocolate cake. One can even add crushed pretzels for a bit of a crunch, not to mention that the salty pretzels pair wonderfully with the sweet icing.
The popularity of chocolate desserts and cakes continue to this day. Varieties of chocolate cake have branched into fudge cakes, truffle cakes, mud cakes, and the list goes on. So as you prepare this delicious, rich Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, you will be joining millions of others throughout history in enjoying chocolate delights and treats.
Keyword Air Fried Recipe, Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, chocolate cake, dessert recipe

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Related: Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipes

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