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Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

This Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is sure to become your go to chocolate cake recipe. It can be made into layers, as a sheet cake, divide into cupcakes or bake in mini cupcake pans. You can frost it with whatever flavor of frosting your heart desires.

 Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Best Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe

This chocolate buttermilk cake recipe is suitable for most any event you can imagine where cake is in order. Be it the holidays or a birthday celebration, this cake will always hit the sweet spot. I believe it’s important to master the basics and classic cake flavors are  must-have in your recipe index. Once you have the basic flavors under wraps you can turn them into whatever cake and shape that you like. The sky’s the limit with frosting flavors you could use a classicvanilla buttercream, 7 Minute frosting, peanut buttercream like the one I use for my double chocolate cupcakes, strawberry cake frosting, and for the salted caramel fans my dulce de leche cream cheese icing and more.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

How to Make Southern Style Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe

  • This chocolate buttermilk cake is made using all purpose flour. In this instance, you could adapt with cake flour but it’s not necessary. The buttermilk lends such a tender crumb to the cake, all purpose flour works perfectly.
  • You’ll need classic unsweetened cocoa powder to make this chocolate cake. You could use Dutch process or Hershey’s special dark cocoa for a more intense chocolate flavor.
  • Whole buttermilk is best for the cake batter. If you’re unable to find it, low fat will work but this is one instance fat free isn’t the best choice.
  • How do you make your own buttermilk? To make your own buttermilk, to one cup of whole milk add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. Let it stand on the counter for 5 minutes then stir and proceed with the recipe.
  • When making a chocolate layer cake, you can make, bake and cool the layers then wrap in plastic wrap. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 day or in the freezer for up to one month for a future dessert.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Other Classic Layer Cake Recipes to Add to the Menu

Other cake homemade cake flavors you may enjoy are my recipes for White Buttermilk Cake,  Double Chocolate Cake and Old Fashioned Butter Cake. Along with this chocolate cake recipe, they remain very popular on the website and each can be found in the recipe index for future reference. Hardly a day goes by that one of these homemade cake recipes isn’t downloaded for use by my visitors. I totally understand, they’re scrumptious and incredibly versatile and just happen to be my top four favorites, too. See how to make your own cake flour here by Baked by an Introvert.

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Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Prep Time15 minutes
Cooling time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate-buttermilk-cake
Servings: 16 servings (may vary)
Calories: 396kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 [9] inch round cake pans. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and flavorings. Cream for 2-3 minutes until combined. Add the eggs 1 at a time beating well after each.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixer alternately with the buttermilk starting and ending with flour.
  • After all of the dry ingredients have been added, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium-high until creamy. Divide between the pans.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes until the sides release from the pan. 
  • Carefully remove from the pans and cool completely on a cooling rack. Frost as desired. 
  • Makes: 2 [9] inch rounds, 3 [8] inch rounds, 24-30 regular cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes, 1 [9 x 13] sheet cake, 1 bundt cake


This recipe makes: 2 [9] inch rounds, 3 [8] inch rounds, 24-30 regular cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes, 1 [13 x 9] sheet cake 1 bundt cake
Bake time varies by shape, please adjust using the toothpick method to check the middle for doneness: 
Rounds 30-40 minutes
Cupcakes 20-25 minutes
Sheet Cake 30-40 minutes
Mini Cupcakes 10-12 minutes


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. Hello! This looks absolutely divine and I plan to make it for my mother’s birthday. Can it be made with GF flour?

    1. I haven’t specifically tested it using gluten free flour, but my thought is that it could be adapted. If you try it let us know how it goes.

  2. I want to make this cake !!!
    Do you know any special way I can do this in A convection oven? My oven does not allow me to switch from convection to conventional and all the cakes I bake from scratch seem to settle.

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe strictly using a convection oven. Cakes do best rising with steady heat and baking in a convection oven can affect that process as the hot air circulates around all of the batter removing air. It could be why you have an issue. You can bake cakes in a convection oven but it’s a trickier process.

  3. 5 stars
    Hello Melissa, I made your “Chocolate Buttermilk Cake” for my husband’s birthday and, wow, are we ever glad I did! It is now my “go to” chocolate cake recipe, too! Buttermilk is one of my favorite ingredients to use in baked goods, so that is what initially drew me to this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly, including the almond extract and am so happy I didn’t leave that ingredient out. Although, I couldn’t taste it in the cake, it added depth to the flavor and paired well with the chocolate, taking it up a notch. You have encouraged me to not shy away from using it in other baked goods when called for! Thank you and I look forward to trying more of your recipes in the future.

    1. Hi Deborah, I’m delighted you chose this recipe for such a special occasion. Almond is very intense but, if you go easy, it does just as you said, adds dimension to the flavor. Thanks so much!

  4. Hello! I am making this cake tonight. Does it matter if Dutch process cocoa powder is used or not?

  5. Hey Linda,

    Your recipe looks amazing! Just the texture I was looking for. I’m thinking of trying these in a doberge cake (traditional New Orleans cake) that uses buttermilk sponge, which is typically 6 layers. Would 2 9″ cakes be sturdy enough to be torted into 3 layers each or should I try to scale the recipe up to make 3 cakes to split in half? Let me know, thanks!

    – Daniel

    1. Hi Daniel, great question. If you’re really good at splitting cake layers you might be OK with the amount from one batch. My thought is that you may need to make enough batter for 3 nine inch layers that can be split in half. I think you’d likely be more happy with the result.

  6. Hi Melissa, do you use real butter or margarine for the chocolate buttermilk cake? I make a buttermilk cake and have made it both ways. I didn’t know if one is better to use than the other since this has chocolate in it.
    I’m prepping to make this today. Can’t wait; it sounds delish!!

    1. Hi Dana, I use butter pretty much always when baking unless there’s a specific reason shortening or margarine is preferred. Since I can’t remember the last time I actually bought any margarine, it’s safe to say butter is my go-to.

  7. Hello ☆♡☆ I came across your wonderful recipe on fb and thought this is the recipe I need in my life for all occasion. Thank you! Could you share the cooking times on all your different size of pans please, since I’m sure they will be different …. 2 [9] inch rounds, 3 [8] inch rounds, 24-30 regular cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes, 1 [9 x 13] sheet cake, bunt cake. Thank you so much in advance and for sharing☆♡☆ Oralia

  8. Miss Melissa, can I use this cake recipe in a bundt cake pan? The bundt pan I have holds about 10cup plumb full. Also should I add more baking soda we’re at about 4800ft above sea level. Sorry if these questions are dumb to you but I’m new to this cooking deal and mom is gone so I need some guidance at times. Can I use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer, and a hammer or rolling pin to crush up them cookies? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Sonny, this cake can be made in a bundt pan, sure. As far a adding baking soda, I don’t think so however, it will take longer to bake due to elevation and using a bundt pan. You can use a hand mixer to make he batter, use whatever you have on hand. A rolling pin can be used to break-up cookies.

      1. Ma’am can you give me frosting recipe for this cake,or will a generic ganache in chocolate work? Thanks

      2. Miss.Melissa , you have made this cake a bunch I’m sure. Please recomend a icing or frosting or maybe powdered sugar thru a strainer. Making this cake for a stock dog handlers supper. Mostly middle aged adults. I had made a Dr Pepper before , it was great if you are 16yrs old .kinda on the sweet side. So any recommendations will be appreciated

      3. You can’t go wrong with chocolate cake, however have you thought about a German Chocolate Cake? You can see my recipe here. Also, search here for icings in the MSSK recipe index.

    1. That’s the beauty of this cake you can turn it into anything you want. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel are all delicious frosting choices.

    1. Hi Robin, whole buttermilk gives it a richer flavor. However, if you can find a lower fat version it will still be tasty. Alternatively, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar per 1 cup of whole milk called for in the recipe. Let it sit for 5 minutes on the counter then proceed with the recipe.

  9. This sounds yummy and would like to make it…but can you tell me the baking times for all the different pans please…thanks

  10. Made this cake tonight…before I start my 5 week clean eating diet. The cake is so moist and delicious!! The buttermilk makes it taste heavenly rich!! Love it!

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