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Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

The BEST Homemade Buttermilk Chocolate Cake! Moist, rich, and super chocolatey! You won’t want anything else!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 people
Calories 399kcal
Author Lisa


  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso
  • cup boiling water
  • cup special dark cocoa powder*
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ⅔ cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large yolk at room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Best Chocolate Frosting- make 2 batches of this!


  • Preheat oven to Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9 inch round cake pans, bottoms and sides, then sprinkle the pans with flour, then cut out parchment in circles to fit the bottom of the cake pans and place those in the pan.
  • Boil water and add espresso to it, stirring until dissolved.
    1 teaspoon instant espresso, ⅔ cup boiling water
  • Whisk cocoa powder, then buttermilk and vanilla into water/espresso mixture.
    ⅔ cup special dark cocoa powder*, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl.
    2 ⅔ cup cake flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Using a stand mixer, whisk sugar and butter until fluffy. About 10 minutes.
    2 ½ cup sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter
  • Add each egg and the yolk, one at a time, into the butter mixture, letting each one fully mix into the batter before adding the next. Add in oil and mix until fully combined. The beat mixture on medium high speed for a minute- the mixture will be light and fluffy.
    4 extra-large eggs at room temperature, 2 extra-large yolk at room temperature, ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Fold in ½ of the flour and then fold in ½ of the buttermilk mixture to the batter. Then fold in remaining flour and then remaining buttermilk mixture.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Try baking the cakes on the same rack, or baking them one at a time. This will ensure even baking.
  • Once the cakes are done let them cool completely before decorating. While cakes are cooling make a double batch of my easy chocolate buttercream. Then frost and enjoy!
    Best Chocolate Frosting- make 2 batches of this!


Tips and Tricks
  • *I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder for the cake to make it a dark chocolate cake, but you can use any cocoa powder you have.
  • *A double batch of frosting is perfect if you are not doing a crumb coat. If you are doing a crumb coat and a final coat, plus piping on decorations you will need at least a 3rd batch of frosting.
  • *If you want to make a smaller cake see notes in post above.
  • *For a buttermilk substitute mix 1 cup milk with 1 tbs vinegar, let sit 5 minutes, then use in place of buttermilk in recipe. 


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg