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Moist Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Recipe

The moist buttermilk chocolate cake recipe is easy, decadent, and the most delicious chocolate cake recipe.

The cake is topped with homemade chocolate frosting and will become your favorite go-to chocolate cake recipe.

Plenty Of Chocolate Flavor

Buttermilk chocolate cake recipe

There’s nothing better than a slice of buttermilk chocolate cake with creamy and chocolatey buttermilk icing.

This buttermilk cake recipe is an easy dessert to make and always turns out moist and delicious. 

It’s perfect for an anytime cake or special occasions.

This recipe and post were created for #SummerDessertWeek! Sponsor companies, Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Wilton, Sweets and Treats Shop and Anolon sent me samples, but as always opinions are 100% mine.

chocolate cake with frosting in a cake pan

Other Delicious Recipes With Buttermilk

I’ve shared some great buttermilk recipes that have been a hit with readers, including my Buttermilk Texas Sheet Cake, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk, and even one of my favorite chicken recipes, Baked Buttermilk Chicken Strips.

Watch How To Make Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

For this buttermilk chocolate cake recipe, both the cake and the frosting start out in a saucepan, which is pretty typical of sheet cakes

You most likely have most, if not all, of the ingredients at home for this delicious recipe. And you might not even have to go to the grocery store to make this.

Chocolate cake with Adams Extract vanilla

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

This buttermilk cake recipe is super moist, and that has a lot to do with the ingredients.

What makes a cake moist? Well, there are quite a few ingredients that help keep the moisture in a cake

Have you ever eaten dry cake? You go to take a bite, and it dries out your mouth, and that’s not good. Not good at all. 

Ingredients like buttermilk, eggs, butter, sour cream, vegetable oil, and even applesauce help make a cake moist.

Buttermilk chocolate cake recipe

And let’s talk about the frosting. I love the way it cools and crackles on the top. There’s a tee-tiny touch of a crunch, and that makes this cake pretty much perfect. 

Cake in a pan

What Ingredients And Tools Are Needed To Make Buttermilk Chocolate Cake?


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Oven
  • Stovetop
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Hand mixer


  • Butter
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Water
  • Buttermilk
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar

Full recipe measurements and printable instructions listed below in the recipe card.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake on a plate

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Step-By-Step Instructions

Cubes of butter in a saucepan

Start by adding the butter to the saucepan. Keep the heat on medium.

I cube the butter because it melts faster.

Don’t skimp here and use margarine. Be sure to use the real butter because it will add so much more flavor to your cake

Butter and unsweetened cocoa in a saucepan

Once the butter starts to melt, add the unsweetened cocoa to the saucepan. 

Butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan

And finally, pour the water into the saucepan. 

Chocolate cake ingredients in a saucepan

Let the butter melt and stir the ingredients together until they blend well. 

Once the ingredients are melted and mixed well together, take the saucepan off of the burner and set it aside. Let the mixture cool. 

Buttermilk in a glass bowl.

Grab a large bowl and add the buttermilk.

Eggs and buttermilk in a glass bowl

Next, add the eggs to the bowl. 

Eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda in a glass bowl

Thirdly, you’re going to add the baking soda to the bowl. 

Vanilla, eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda in a bowl

Now, add the vanilla extract. Mix everything together well. 

I used Adams Best Vanilla Extract for this recipe. It really added a fantastic flavor to the cake.

You can use this in any recipe that calls for vanilla extract, including pound cake, ice cream, cookies, and so much more. 

Chocolate being poured into a bowl of ingredients.

Once you mix the ingredients, slowly pour the butter mixture into the buttermilk mixture while mixing the ingredients together.

This will help incorporate things together well. 

Cake ingredients in a glass bowl
Flour and sugar in a glass bowl

Now, add the sugar and flour to the mixture and mix until well blended.

I used the sugar that Dixie Crystals sent. It’s a great quality granulated sugar. 

Cake in a Wilton pan

Pour the cake mixture into the cake pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool for at least half an hour before frosting it. 

For this recipe, I used the pan that Wilton sent. The backside is decorated with colorful circles and decor.

The pan is great for cakes, brownies, cookie bars, and more. A 9″ x 13″ pan is the perfect size to hold the cake.

You can use the pan for cookie bars, like the ones here, cakes, brownies, and so much more. 

You can also make the cake in two 9-inch cake pans, as well.

Chocolate Frosting For Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Butter in a saucepan

Grab a clean saucepan and add the butter. Set the heat on medium again. 

Buttermilk being poured into butter

Once the butter melts pour in the buttermilk. 

Yep, buttermilk frosting. 

Unsweetened cocoa in buttermilk in a saucepan

Next, add the unsweetened cocoa. 

Powdered sugar in a saucepan

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix everything together.

I used a whisk to make sure everything mixed well and made sure I got all of the lumps out. Doesn’t take too much mixing action. 

Chocolate frosting in a saucepan

Let the frosting cool a little bit to thicken.

If you’re in a hurry, you can put it in the fridge. You want it to still be pourable consistency but not so thin that it runs off the side of the cake. 

Chocolate frosting on a cake in a Wilton pan

After you allow the frosting to cool for a little bit, pour it on the cake. Let it cool a little longer before cutting.

Chocolate cake with Adams Extract vanilla
Chocolate cake with Dixie Sugar
Cake on a plate

Sponsored Items Used In This Recipe:

  • Dixie Crystals Pure Cane Sugar
  • Adams Best Vanilla Extract
  • Wilton Cake Pan

How Do You Keep A Cake Moist For Days?

Place a covering over the top of the cake, such as plastic wrap. You can also place the cake in a sealed, airtight container.

What Makes A Cake More Moist?

There are several things that can help make a cake more moist. Don’t overmix. Use ingredients such as oil or buttermilk. Don’t overbake the cake.

What Does Adding Buttermilk To Cake Do?

Adding buttermilk to cake helps add a rich flavor. Buttermilk is also instrumental in helping the cake rise and stay moist.

More Delicious Recipes

Moist Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Recipe

Print out the recipe below. The easy chocolate cake recipe is such a great go-to recipe that it gets rave reviews.

Homemade chocolate buttermilk cake is a delicious treat any time of year.

Buttermilk chocolate cake recipe

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

There's nothing better than a slice of buttermilk chocolate cake with creamy and chocolatey buttermilk icing. This buttermilk cake recipe is an easy dessert to make and always turns out moist and delicious. 



  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Buttermilk Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven temperature 350 degrees.


  1. Add the cubed butter to a saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Next, add the unsweetened cocoa and water and mix well.
  3. Stir until everything is blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the buttermilk mixture.
  6. Next, add the sugar, flour, and salt. Mix together and pour into a greased 9" x 13" cake pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes.


  1. Add the butter to the saucepan on medium heat and melt.
  2. Next, add the buttermilk and unsweetened cocoa and mix together.
  3. Pour the powdered sugar and vanilla extract into the pan. Mix well with a whisk until all of the lumps are gone.
  4. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Pour onto cake. Allow the cake to continue cooling for a few minutes before cutting.


I used to put two cups of powdered sugar in the frosting, but it comes out a little thin. I've added another half cup, to help thicken it up a little.

If it's too thick, add one tablespoon of heavy cream to help thin it out.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 3g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Thursday 14th of September 2023

Just had to come back and say that my adult son said this was the best chocolate cake I've ever made. I agree! The numerous pictures you add to your recipes are an added bonus!

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 14th of September 2023

Oh wow! That's great to hear! Thanks for letting me know about the pictures, too. I am never sure if I am adding too many.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

I'm making it right now and I had to stop and comment on the flour mixture being so thick it was like a big glob of clay, so I added more buttermilk, not much but enough that a knife could cut through the clay mixture, I mean thr flour mixture. More to come. Done and out. Highly recommend.

Julie Pollitt

Wednesday 13th of September 2023

Glad you like it!


Friday 17th of March 2023

This cake was so moist and absolutely perfect. It is now on the top of my list for any cake. Everyone was raving on the moistness and flavor.

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 18th of March 2023

Great to hear! So glad you all loved it.


Saturday 17th of September 2022

Made this last week -- the problem that I think most of us are running into is that, as written, the recipe doesn't call for enough powdered sugar to hold it together. It essentiallly makes a chocolate sauce with the consistency of Hershey's syrup -- delicious, but ran everywhere and won't stay on the cake. I cooled the cake for hours before icing it so this is definitely not a temperature issue. Most similar recipes online call for at least double the amount of powdered sugar so I'd suggest starting there.

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 17th of September 2022

Hi Elizabeth, thank you for sharing! I will add something about this in the recipe notes. I appreciate you pointing it out!


Sunday 24th of July 2022

Will the frosting work if you make this into a layer cake instead of a sheet cake? Thank you!

Julie Pollitt

Monday 25th of July 2022

I think it would work. But it's not super thick, so it you would have to use a lot. Hope that helps!

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