cartoon by marc johns.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rich & Moist Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Deep, rich chocolate flavor & color.
Close-up of frosting.
This cake is hard to mess up: perpetually moist with a deep chocolate flavor. The secret to the moist cake is twofold - buttermilk and coconut oil. There is no butter in this recipe. The secret to the deep, intense chocolatey flavor is the coffee added to the batter. The light fluffy texture is due to the baking soda. The icing is a bit tart because I used the leftover buttermilk in place of whole milk in the recipe; if you like a tart, not sweet icing, I recommend this trick (you can always add extra sugar to compensate). If you like a sweeter frosting, I suggest using whole milk in place of the buttermilk, and using the leftover buttermilk to make my garlic roasted chicken (recipe here). This cake is also delicious with a raspberry jam or a peanut butter frosting between the layers.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups melted (liquid) coconut oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups rich black coffee, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To the baking:

1. Make the coffee, and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9" baking pans.
2. Whisk dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, & cocoa powder - together in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps. 

3. Add in coconut oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Mix until blended. The batter will be thick and somewhat dry. Don't worry - you still have a whole bunch of coffee to add.

Ready to mix.

Somewhat dry batter.
4. Slowly add coffee in parts and mix to combine. Then add vanilla and mix again. The batter should now look more liquidy, like what you expect from a cake batter.

Coffee in.

Nice batter.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake tins, only filling each about halfway.

Ready to bake.
6. Bake about 40 minutes, or until knife down the center comes out clean.

7. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before turning cake layers out, and allow to completely cool before frosting.

Chocolate Buttermilk Buttercream Frosting:


Frosting ingredients.
5 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (or more if you'd like a sweeter frosting - maybe up to 1 cup more)
1 1/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
12 tablespoons of unsalted room temperature butter
12 tablespoons of buttermilk (or whole milk if you don't want tart frosting - in which case, do not add extra sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla 

1. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa, making sure there are no lumps.
Dry ingredients.
No lumps!
2. Add the butter and buttermilk (or milk) and using a hand mixer, beat until smooth.

Ready to mix.
3. Add vanilla and beat one last time, until glossy and smooth.

4. Frost cake. Start by doing a crumb coating (a light coat of frosting all over so that your later, thicker coat will have no crumbs caught in it).

Crumb coat.

Putting on second layer.

Nice & shiny frosting.

Moist slice of cake.


Ready to enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

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