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closeup of a slice of chocolate cake on a plate

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is so moist, tender, and fluffy. It’s the perfect rich chocolate cake topped with dark chocolate buttermilk frosting.


For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) sour cream, at room temperature 
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ cup (55 gDutch processed cocoa powder , sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (5g)  espresso powder or finely ground coffee (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons (7g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (296 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature 

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup  (226g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (55 g) cocoa powder
  • 23 cups (260347 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (44 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate sprinkles for garnish


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the buttermilk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining buttermilk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into a 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 26-28 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Cut the butter into pieces about 1 tablespoon size. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until butter looks light in color and has more volume.
  2. Next, add the cocoa powder and confectionary sugar, followed by two tablespoons of buttermilk and beat for 60-90 seconds until completely smooth.
  3. Add the remaining buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat until desired consistency, at least 2 minutes.
  4. Spread frosting over cooled cake and then cover with sprinkles. Keep in an airtight container.



  • Sour cream: Lite sour cream, plain or Greek yogurt will work
  • Buttermilk: If you have milk on hand, make this buttermilk substitute with lemon juice or vinegar. 

To Make Cupcakes

  • This recipe can be made into 24 cupcakes. Baked for 14-16 minutes. The frosting recipe will be to be 1.5 times what’s listed here. 

Storing and Freezing

  • Storing a frosted cake: This cake is best served in the first 2-3 days as long as it’s stored in an airtight container at room temperature. A frosted cake will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. You should only need to refrigerate it if you live in a hot or humid climate. In that cake, allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Freezing: You can store it unfrosted in the freezer for up to 2 months. Simply bake it as directed, let it cool completely, wrap it tightly, then store it. When you’re ready to serve, simply let it thaw at room temperature, add the frosting, then enjoy.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 459
  • Sugar: 45g
  • Sodium: 353g
  • Fat: 23g
  • Carbohydrates: 62g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg