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buttermilk chocolate cake slice on a white plate

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate buttermilk cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 457kcal
Author: Kara @I Scream for Buttercream
This chocolate buttermilk cake is one of my favorite chocolate cakes. It takes in a 13x9 inch pan and then it's topped with a yummy buttermilk glaze that soaks into the cake making it super moist and tasty.
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For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa powder, see FAQ section)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (full fat is best, but low fat will work as well)
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) (slightly cooler than room temperature)

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 5 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or grease a 13x9 inch glass pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well and set aside.
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, whole eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Whisk well and set aside.
  • Cut the room temperature butter up into pieces (if not already done). Turn the mixer on and add in the butter pieces slowly to the dry mixture while you mix on medium speed. (You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.) Once all the butter is added, mix until the flour mixture becomes crumbly and resembles sand.
  • Add in half the liquid mixture and mix on medium speed, for a full minute.
  • Add in the last half of the liquid mixture and mix only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just until all the ingredients are mixed well. Only mix for about 10 seconds or so at this point. Mixing for a minute or more is too long and can cause a dense or tough cake.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 50-55 minutes.
  • Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out with a few moist crumbs or clean. (You do not have to wait until the toothpick comes out clean as that can over-bake your cake. Just make sure there is no raw batter on the toothpick and a few moist crumbs are fine.)
  • Once the cake is baked, set on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes while you make the glaze. The cake may flatten out a bit on the top, which is fine.

For the glaze:

  • Once the cake is out of the oven, make the glaze. (You want the cake to still be warm when you pour the glaze on it, so don't let the cake cool completely.)
  • Melt the butter with the cocoa in a saucepan over low/medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and mixed well with the cocoa, turn off the heat and immediately add in the brown sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add in the confectioner's sugar and stir well. If it's clumpy, just keep stirring until most of the clumps are dissolved. The rest will dissolve as it sits for a bit.
  • Keep the glaze warm (on very low heat) until the cake has cooled for about 15 minutes, then poke holes in the warm cake with a skewer and pour the warm glaze over the warm cake. Let it soak in.
  • Make sure that the glaze is still warm, but not hot when you pour it over the cake.
  • Let set up for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving. This will give the glaze enough time to soak into the cake well. If the cake isn't allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, it may fall apart while trying to cut slices as it will still be very warm.


This cake is best served warm. Store any leftovers, covered in the fridge for several days. Warm cake slices in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer any questions you may have.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 678IU | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg