This cake was an excuse to try a new kind of buttermilk. Or maybe the new buttermilk was an excuse to try the cake? Whatever the case, the recipe is adapted from the side of a carton of Kemps Cultured Buttermilk Blend made with Whole Milk, a full fat buttermilk suited for baking chocolate cakes, biscuits, cornmeal and buttermilk pie.
Kemps calls this recipe Family Celebration Chocolate Cake. It’s a relatively small three layer cake with measurements that are simple yet still pretty different from the chocolate buttermilk cake to which I compare all others. The most interesting measurement is the 1 tablespoon of baking soda, which I suppose is necessary to react with the acid in the cultured buttermilk. And the recipe only calls for one egg, but makes up for it with a little oil. In addition it has less cocoa powder, and the usual sugar and flour amounts are reversed. So it may look like the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate at first glance, but it’s its own cake and worth trying.
Here’s a picture of the recipe, but I’ve also typed up my slightly revised version which includes the weights with the volume, a dash of vanilla and a frosting recipe. This is a good every day, not-too-expensive chocolate cake. If you can’t find the whole milk buttermilk you could try it with low fat buttermilk, but the whole milk probably makes it better.
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (350 grams)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, natural or half natural & half Dutch
- 1 cup buttermilk, whole milk blend if possible
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup softened butter (114 grams)
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
- 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
- 4 tablespoons whole milk to start, plus more as needed (probably 4 to 6 more)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- Grease 3 8 inch round cake pans, line with rounds of parchment, grease again and dust with flour. I didn't use the parchment and regretted it! It's a sticky cake.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour through cocoa powder). Stir very well.
- In a large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Pour in the hot coffee and stir until blended, then beat on low speed with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds or until velvety smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between three pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The original recipe said 35 to 40 but that would have been WAY too long, so start checking at 25..
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen from pans and let cool completely.
- Prepare the icing. Combine softened butter and 1 cup of the sugar and stir until blended, then stir in cocoa powder and remaining sugar. Add the sour cream and stir into a big goopy blob, then add 2 tablespoon of milk and vanilla and stir well. Continue adding milk and beating with an electric mixer, scraping side of bowl often, until icing is smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of salt (if you used unsalted butter) and beat well. Frost the cake.