Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

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You won't find a more buttery, dense, delicious chocolate cake recipe than this Buttermilk Chocolate Cake!

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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 3 hours way.  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 Chocolate Buttermilk Cake. Mercy!  Y’all, this thing is crazy delicious.

You won't find a more buttery, dense, delicious chocolate cake recipe than this Buttermilk Chocolate Cake!

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 staking cakes and icing the sides.  And the icing just pours on and you spread to 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.

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You won't find a more buttery, dense, delicious chocolate cake recipe than this Buttermilk Chocolate Cake!
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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
Cook time
Total time
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Author: Stacey Little | Southern Bite Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking pwder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the icing:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar (3¾ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 13X9" 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. Heat to a boil, then boil for 1 minute. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix together the eggs buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour the heated mixture over the flour mixture and stir. Add the egg and buttermilk mixture and stir until well combined. 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. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.
To make the icing:
  1. Combine the butter and cocoa in a small saucepan. Cook until the butter is melted completely. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Pour the powdered sugar into a large bowl and pour the hot mixture over the powdered sugar. Stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time until you get the icing to a pourable consistency, but not too thin. Pour over cake and spread to coat.
Optional: After the cake has cooled for about 5 minutes in the pan, turn it out onto a platter. Only add enough buttermilk to the icing to make it spreadable and coat the top and sides of the cake for a different look.

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You won't find a more buttery, dense, delicious chocolate cake recipe than this Buttermilk Chocolate Cake!
Pin It!

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  1. That second picture made me wish I was there so I could lick the icing bowl!,,

  2. Louise Williams says:

    going to make the cake but the use of one pound of powdered sugar is really
    over the top dont need this much sugar in our household

  3. This is a favorite with my children. We put a layer of marshmallow cream between cake and icing. Also make it in a jelly roll pan so cooks faster.

  4. Oh – My – Lanta! I could SMELL this cake I swear when I looked through your post…..YUM! I intend to make this over the weekend, oh the joy of it coming out of the oven!!!

  5. Wow — this looks beyond delicious! Anytime I see buttermilk in a recipe, I know it will be good!

  6. I’m going to have to find a reason to invite people over so I can make this cake–there are only 2 of us in the household and our waistlines don’t need us to eat the whole thing! Looks soooo good!

  7. Stacey English says:

    Can’t wait to try this, yum!!!!!!!

  8. Robbie Derden says:

    This is a wonderful cake. In Texas we call it a sheet cake. 🙂

  9. would like to make and freeze and serve at a later date then put on the icing, does it freeze well

  10. Yum! I just love that when I read your recipes I read it in your southern accent. Miss you my friend. This cake sounds crazy good!!

  11. I made this cake last week and my boyfriend and parents declared it their favorite chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Russell May says:

    Add teaspoon of cinnamon or more if you like cinnamon and you take this cake to a whole new level. I even add a dash of cinnamon to the icing. I love the bump in flavor and it pairs amazingly with the bold chocolate flavor. (I grew up calling this a Texas Sheet Cake and had it every year for my birthday.)

  13. You are just so cute … about as sweet as that cake!!

  14. I have found my go to chocolate cake recipe. Winner Winner Winner !

  15. I’m salivating. Will be making this for a girls’ weekend. Wondering if I can do individual cakes in the kind of muffin tins designed for large muffin tops. I assume the baking time would be reduced? Any tips? Thank you!

  16. Stacey,
    Like one of your other readers, I cook this in a sheet pan. It is a different taste when that cake is thin with the icing. My recipe calls for adding a cup of chopped pecans to the icing before spreading it on the cake. The pecans are a nice offset to the sweet icing…and who doesn’t like pecans with chocolate. If your kids do not eat pecans, but the adults like them, just frost the cake half and half. Love your site and your stories. It is kinda like bumping into and old friend at the grocery store and sharing recipes. 🙂

  17. I made this cake exactly as directed. It is delicious and easy. My favorite kind of recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  18. This is the chocolate cake, which we call “boiler cake,” that I grew up with. My mom still makes it all the time. If you use plain white milk in the icing instead of buttermilk, it is less creamy and more fudge-like. (We use buttermilk in the cake and white milk in the frosting).

  19. Should I store it in the fridge or on the counter? Thanks!

  20. I made a two layer round cake and two dozen cupcakes for a friend’s Birthday and every person that tasted them said that they were the best cake or cupcake that they had ever eaten!!! Thanks for the delicious recipe.

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