To celebrate the 30th anniversary of my move to New York City, I figured I needed to make a cake. I’ve already done two chocolate cake recipes (here and here) but I am compelled to share a third with you – my Buttermilk Chocolate-Chip Cake – to appropriately mark this milestone in my life. The idea of using buttermilk in a chocolate cake only recently dawned on me when I found dry/powdered buttermilk at my supermarket. Without any research (I mean – of COURSE there are cake recipes that use buttermilk), I brazenly attempted my own, starting with the ingredients of the other two chocolate cakes I’ve done. I was relieved to find that my buttermilk version differs enough from the ones I found online that I think it’s worthy of a blog post. The essential difference in this recipe from a regular chocolate cake recipe is the addition of powdered buttermilk (well, duh). This cake turns out moist and very chocolaty, and that buttermilk touch makes the taste buds on the sides of my tongue dance with glee. Now you can make it.
Buttermilk Chocolate-Chip Cake
For the Cake:
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of dry buttermilk*
- 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 sticks of room-temperature, unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups of full-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups white sugar
For the Frosting:
- 4-oz of softened cream cheese
- 1 stick unsalted, room-temperature butter
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon of dry buttermilk*
- 1 cup of your favorite chocolate chips
For the Cake:
- In a deep bowl combine the first five ingredients. Set aside.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add the milk and then the eggs one at a time, beating each for about 5 seconds before adding the next.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, blending on medium/low speed in between each batch until it is all smooth – about 2 minutes more. Do not overbeat.
- Divide the batter in three eight-inch baking pans that have been coated with vegetable oil and dusted with flour (do not use cocoa for dusting – I found that it does not do as good a job as flour does).
- In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, bake 25-27 minutes. A clean toothpick will tell you when your cake is done (keep an eye on it starting around the 20-minute mark – do not over-bake or you’ll dry it out and nobody likes dry cake!)
- Allow the layers to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to completely cool before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- In a large bowl, using a hand or a stand mixer, whip the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the cocoa, powdered buttermilk, and then the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
- Whip on medium speed until smooth. At this point, if it feels too thick, add milk – a tablespoon or so should do it – to get it to a nice, glossy consistency.
- Decorate with the chocolate chips.
*Dry/powdered buttermilk is preferable for this recipe. If you can’t find it in the baking section of your market, you can use one cup of regular, wet buttermilk, but you will need to reduce the amount of regular milk by one cup. Since you will not be able to add wet buttermilk to the frosting (another reason dry is preferable), the frosting will be plain chocolate, which isn’t going to destroy the end result.
Let me know how it turns out in the Contact section. And make sure to FOLLOW me! (form is on this page).
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Morris Ardoin’s book, STONE MOTEL – MEMOIRS of a CAJUN BOY can be purchased through the publisher, on the independent bookseller website Indibound, or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers, and is also available as an audiobook on Audible.