Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Frosting

A moist and delicious chocolate cake made with buttermilk and cocoa powder and  topped with a homemade chocolate frosting that’s plenty sweet. The frosting has a little crunch here and there from some toasted pecans. They taste so good with chocolate.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

With buttermilk in the batter and in the frosting, this cake makes good use of Buttermilk. Do you find that you frequently have a carton of Buttermilk at the back of the fridge that’s about to go bad? I almost always seem to.

 

This is a simple, old-fashioned cake that is always a winner. It’s basically a Texas Sheet Cake except instead of baking it in the typical jelly roll pan (half sheet pan), I’ve made it in a 9X13-inch pan so that it is a little thicker. Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is both light and insanely rich at the same time. It’s very difficult not to go back for another bite. And another. And another. It will keep calling out your name until every last bit is gone.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with chocolate icing.

One minute, you’ll be swooning over it, professing your love. The next minute you’ll be telling it how much hate it for making you eat too much.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

That’s why this cake should only be baked for a potluck or a party where there are boatloads of people and there is no chance there will be any left over.

The frosting is easily assembled in a saucepan and takes only a few minutes. Still warm when poured on top of the cake, it forms an absolutely irresistible fudgy layer. It’s the frosting that really makes the cake. What’s really nice about it is it just naturally spreads itself out over the cake. You only need a spatula to help even it out a little bit.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

That’s my kind of cake frosting. I know there are many people who enjoy the labor intensiveness of frosting a 3-layer cake. But I’m not one of them. By that point all I’m thinking is, I want a piece of this cake. Let’s hurry this up.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with chocolate icing

That being said, you do need to wait a little while for the frosting to cool and set up before you slice it and take a piece out, or all the frosting will run into that empty spot. Unless you stuff the empty spot with a wad of aluminum foil and tilt the pan ever so slightly to make it harder for the frosting to move in that direction. I’m not saving I’ve done that before.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

 

5 from 4 votes
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
Print
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Frosting
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
A moist and chocolaty buttermilk cake topped with a sweet and fudgy chocolate buttermilk frosting with pecans. A simple, old-fashioned dessert that never goes out of style because it's so darn good.
Course: Cake
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 18
Calories: 471 kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup Challenge butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate-Buttermilk Frosting
  • 1 cup Challenge butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 (16-ounce) package confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X13-inch pan.
  2. Combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is fully melted. You can cut the butter into pieces to speed up the process. Remove from heat.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  4. Gradually add melted butter mixture, beating until mixed.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Add to buttermilk mixture and beat until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set in the middle.
  6. To make frosting, combine butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and pecans. Pour over cake while cake is still warm. Let frosting cool and set some before slicing.
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 471
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

 

55 thoughts on “Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Frosting

  1. Oh wow! I have just made this cake this morning and I have had eaten two pieces already. It is so moist and yummy.
    I live alone so as with a lot of recipes I make I half the ingredients for a half size cake as I have with this one. The fact it has turned out so well I will make a full size one next time and give my friend half for her family as I do with a lot of cakes I make , ( stops me eating to much cake) she will love this one.
    Like you say , the buttermilk sitting in my fridge was nearly forgotten AGAIN ,so I quickly looked up a recipe with buttermilk in and so glad I found this one.
    Thank you for this, definitely a regular favourite in my baking.
    Got to stop myself eating anymore until tomorrow now!

    1. It really is a delicious cake isn’t it Janis. I have to give away most of it or I keep going back for another piece. Good idea to make a full cake and take half to your friend next time. I am sure she will appreciate it! 🙂

  2. This recipe came down thru our family a LONG time ago. My husband’s retired, in his 70s, and I got this from his grandmother at one of those “give the bride your fave recipe ” wedding showers. Over 50 yrs ago now. And she got it from HER mother , so we’re talking probably late 1800s. 😄 Slight variation in ours is no buttermilk in the icing; just a few tablespoons of regular milk. I’ve also been known to spread icing on half the cake w/out nuts for those who don’t eat them; then add nuts to the remaining half for those who do! It’s fantastic to see this almost identical recipe being passed around after all the years. Just goes to show that great food never goes away!!

  3. I made this Friday and it was gone by early Tuesday. Soooo good. If you want something really great, slightly warm the cake then add some vanilla ice cream, OH MAN!!

  4. I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday. His entire family loved it and it was eaten faster than any other dessert we had during Memorial Day weekend. As others have mentioned I was also concerned that my batter was too thin and that it wouldn’t rise and become cake-ish…but it did! I had to cook it about 10 minutes longer than suggested, but that’s pretty typical for my oven. The frosting was fantastic too. I love that I just had to pour it over the finished cake and spread it around a little. We ate it about 4 hours after I initially cooked it and I think that was a perfect amount of time for the frosting to set a little. I’ll definitely make this again.

  5. This is by far the best homemade chocolate cake I have ever baked. At first I had my doubts because the batter was so thin, but the end result was so perfect!

  6. The original (in my experience) Texas Cake when baked in a jelly roll pan. A long time favorite in my recipe collection. I use a little cinnamon as one other suggested.

    1. I went to school in Jasper Florida and we had it in our cafeteria in the 60s. I always wanted the recipe, thank you.

  7. add 1 tsp of cinnamon to the cake—adds a little zing to the flavor—-i use a jellyroll pan for baking as it is somewhat bigger than the 9×13 and the pieces are more like brownie sized

  8. I made this yesterday. So this cake is really dense, right? I thought maybe I did something wrong because I had to cook it about 35 minutes and it just didn’t look like a cake normally looks. But I swear it tastes better today than it did yesterday. It’s almost brownie like but so tender. Anyway I love it.

    1. I keep this cake in the frig …. and its delicious cold or remove from frig and wait 15-30 minutes before you eat it ( If you can wait that long ! LOL it is delicious … )

  9. This cake sounds delicious, how many cups of icing sugar would I use for the frosting? Thanking you in advance for your reply.

  10. This cake looked so good, I had to make it! My friend Nicole and I made it together; unfortunately, the frosting never seemed to set. I’m thinking to try it again and see if the same thing happens.

  11. I love old-fashioned chocolate cakes and this one looks awesome! 3 layer cakes are great for special occasions but when I’m making a cake for my family to just enjoy – I would much prefer a cake like this one – it sounds delicious and perfect for a potluck too:)

  12. Wow – that frosting looks insanely good! I do like a 3-4 layer cake, but will gladly dig into a slice of this with THAT frosting! Thanks for sharing this amazing cake AND frosting recipe!

  13. I love collecting good recipes using buttermilk because like you said, there’s always extra buttermilk left! I love a good chocolate cake and this looks great. Love the extra height in it going with the 9×13 pan. This is so perfect for pot luck and summer picnics coming up.

    1. I always have buttermilk lingering in the back of the fridge. I know you can freeze it, but it would stay in my freezer forever if I did that:)Definitely a perfect cake for picnics! Have a great week Monica!

  14. Love your recipe and love the layout of your ziplist plugin. Any change you can share how to do that? I have been playing around a bit but not able to change the layout of prep time cook time total time, Could you tell me what do I need to add to the stylesheet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *