Recipe: Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Recipe: Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
The hunt for an amazing, incredibly rich, dense Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is over. (Southern Bite)

I’ve introduced y’all to Linda Studdard before. She was one of my teachers and is genuinely one of the most amazing people ever. I saw her in the grocery store a few weeks ago – which was a big surprise, being that she lives three hours away. Anyway, she was visiting her daughter and son-in-law who still live here. It was a treat to see her and get to chat. She’s one of those people I could talk to for hours. Anyway, after our chat she hunted me down several aisles away and asked me if I needed a good chocolate cake recipe. Now, just for future reference, if anyone ever asks you that, the answer is always, “yes.” So, of course, I said yes. What I got was this absolutely amazing, incredibly rich, dense Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. Mercy. Y’all, this thing is crazy delicious.

Yes, it’s got a few ingredients and, yes, there are a few steps, but one bite and you’ll know that they are all worth it. Seriously. Though the recipe might seem a bit more involved than most of my recipes, each step is really pretty easy. And while boiling some of the ingredients seems weird for lots of folks, it gives the cake a deep, complex flavor that changes the whole thing.

I also love that this is a sheet cake, so there’s no worry about stacking cakes and icing the sides. And the icing just pours on and you spread it across the top. Easy peasy.

Now, you can turn the cake out of the pan and ice the sides if you wish. I’ve given you the rundown on that in the notes on the recipe.

If you desire, turn the cake out of the pan and ice the sides. (Southern Bite)

Here’s why I love this recipe.

It’s chocolate.

It’s easy.

It’s dense.

It’s moist. (Sorry for all you folks who hate that word. Give me another word that means the same thing and I’ll use that one.)

It’s perfectly sweet, but not too sweet.

It’s chocolate.

It’s delicious.

Oh, and it’s chocolate.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1-pound box powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a 13- x 9-inch pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the cocoa powder, oil and water.
  4. Heat to a boil, then boil for 1 minute.
  5. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
  6. Pour the heated mixture over the flour mixture and stir.
  7. Add the egg and buttermilk mixture and stir until well combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.

To make the icing:

  1. Combine the butter and cocoa in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook until the butter is melted completely.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the powdered sugar into a large bowl and pour the hot mixture over the powdered sugar.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time until you get the icing to a pourable consistency, but not too thin.
  7. Pour over cake and spread to coat.



  • After the cake has cooled for about five minutes in the pan, turn it out onto a platter.
  • Add only enough buttermilk to the icing to make it spreadable and coat the top and sides of the cake for a different look.

This recipe originally appeared on For more great recipes, visit the website or check out ”The Southern Bite Cookbook.”

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