Let's Bake

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake recipe

Yield Serves 12 1x
Prep: 60 minutesCook: 50 minutesTotal: 1 hour 50 minutes

A gorgeous one layer chocolate buttermilk cake with real chocolate frosting.


Chocolate buttermilk cake

  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) hot water
  • 210 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 40 grams (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 90 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup or 1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) full fat buttermilk

Chocolate buttercream

  • 115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 375 grams (3 cups) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
  • 100 grams (2/3 cup) dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate (50-70% cocoa), melted and cooled
  • 12 tablespoons full fat or whole milk, room temperature
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) chocolate chips


  1. Chocolate buttermilk cake
    Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan with baking or parchment paper.
  2. Boil the kettle and pour out 1/2 cup of hot water and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir briefly. 
  4. In a separate bowl, add melted butter, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and stir briefly using a fork just to break up the egg yolks.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and start to stir using a spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Pour hot water down the side of the bowl and continue to stir until chocolate cake batter is combined and smooth. It will be a thin batter – that’s ok.
  7. Bake cake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave cake to cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Chocolate buttercream
    In a large mixing bowl, beat butter using an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy. 
  9. Add half the sugar and one tablespoon of milk and beat until combined. Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth.
  10. Add melted chocolate, ensuring the chocolate is still smooth and melted but is not hot. Beat until the chocolate is completely mixed through. If frosting is too thick, add an extra tablespoon of milk.
  11. Generously frost the top and sides of the cake using a spatula. Sprinkle over chocolate chips.


Cocoa powder: You can use either natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe. Make sure your cocoa is unsweetened. 

Buttermilk: I recommend using storebought full-fat buttermilk for best results. If you can’t get hold of buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 2 teaspoons white vinegar to 1/2 cup full fat or whole milk. My preferred substitute is using 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream along with 1/4 cup full fat or whole milk.

Layer cake: You can easily slice this cake in half to make a two-layer cake if you prefer. 

Storage: Cover unfrosted cake in plastic wrap and keep in an airtight container at room temperature. Once frosted, store cake in the fridge in an airtight container. Bring cake back to room temperature before serving.

Freezer instructions: Once baked, let your cake to cool completely before tightly wrapping in plastic wrap and placing it in the freezer. When you’re ready to decorate and serve your cake, let it to thaw at room temperature. Then frost and slice.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 slice Calories: 535 Sugar: 56.5 g Sodium: 125.5 mg Fat: 25.7 g Carbohydrates: 74.4 g Protein: 5.6 g Cholesterol: 84.3 mg
Nutrition information is a guide only.
Author: Jessica HolmesCategory: CakeCuisine: American
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes