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Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Buttermilk chocolate cake recipe

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

This recipe and post were created for #SummerDessertWeek! Sponsor companies sent me samples, but as always opinions are 100% mine.

And let me tell ya, the samples were delicious and fun to use!

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. You really haven’t had good chicken strips until you’ve tried those. 

chocolate cake with frosting in a cake pan

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

Chocolate cake with Adams Extract vanilla

Moist Chocolate Cake

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. 

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake on a plate

What do I need to make a buttermilk chocolate cake?

  • Large 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

Buttermilk chocolate cake

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 thing, 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 a half of an hour before frosting it. 

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

Chocolate frosting for buttermilk chocolate cake

Butter in a saucepan

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

Buttermilk being poured into butter

Once the butter is melted, 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 in a pan
Cake on a plate

Sponsored Items Used In This Recipe:

How do you keep a cake moist for days?

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

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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 a 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
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Buttermilk Frosting

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


Preheat oven to 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.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 3g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

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

Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Wilton, Sweets and Treats Shop and Anolon ! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.


Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Loved the cake. Would definitely make it again but probably make a different frosting. Mine never didn’t thicken up and was too much for the cake. It overflowed into the sides and bottom of cake.

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Hi Lynn, I am glad you liked the cake, but sorry about the frosting! You can always add a little more powdered sugar to help thicken the frosting. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday 21st of February 2022

Cake was delicious but frosting turned out too thin and watery. Hoping it will thicken up a little. Didn't look like the picture shown.

Julie Pollitt

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Hi Christy, I am so glad you liked the cake. If you make the cake again, you can add a little bit more powdered sugar to the frosting and it won't be as runny. I hope that helps!

Charlene Gomez

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

I just made this cake and I am not sure how it is going to turn out yet. But one thing I am confused about with the frosting is, after you add the powdered sugar, do you keep cooking it for a bit or turn off the heat at that point and stir until smooth?

Charlene Gomez

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

@Julie Pollitt, Thank you. That’s what I did. Cake turned out wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

Julie Pollitt

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Hi Charlene,

How did the cake turn out? I hope wonderful. You can turn off the heat at that point and stir until combined and then take it off the burner so it will start to thicken as it cools.

Basic Powdered Sugar Chocolate Icing Recipe - Back To My Southern Roots

Sunday 29th of August 2021

[…] Buttermilk chocolate cake is another delicious recipe with chocolate icing. […]


Thursday 12th of August 2021

This was the first time I made a cake completely from scratch and not from a box. This was the best cake I've ever made and the only way I'm going to bake from now. The only issue I had was with the frosting, it never got thick and hardened. Two days later and it's still like a sauce. Good but would like to figure out what I did wrong. I'm also wondering if I could substitute the chocolate with a flavored extract to make other flavors?

Julie Pollitt

Friday 13th of August 2021

Hi Jeffrey,

That's fantastic to hear! I'm so glad you loved it. This frosting will never get that hard. It will sort of remain soft. Carlee, over at Cooking with Carlee, has some really great frosting recipes that you might like and can try on top of the cake.

I think you can try different flavors. You might have to experiment a little, but could get some great other flavors!

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