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Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe

Indulge in a chocolate lover's dream with this fudgy buttermilk cake. Its rich, moist texture paired with a decadent cocoa frosting makes it the perfect treat for any special occasion. Made with simple, everyday ingredients, this cake is not only delicious but also easy to whip up in your kitchen.

Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe
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Photos of Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe

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All the ingredients in this recipe should be readily available in your local supermarket. However, buttermilk is a key ingredient for this cake, it adds a tangy flavor and creates a tender, moist crumb. If you can't find it, don't fret. You can make your own substitute by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it curdles.

Key Ingredients for the Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

Butter: Provides rich, creamy flavor and helps in achieving a tender crumb.

Water: Used to dissolve the cocoa powder for a smooth batter.

Cocoa: Gives the cake its rich, chocolate flavor.

Buttermilk: Adds a tangy flavor and creates a tender, moist crumb.

Eggs: Adds structure and stability to the cake. Also contributes to its moistness.

Baking soda: A leavening agent that helps the cake rise.

Vanilla: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Sugar: Sweetens the cake and helps in browning.

Flour: The base of the cake providing structure.

Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Powdered sugar: Used in the frosting for a smooth, sweet finish.

Pecans: Adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the frosting.

One reader, Hervey Jack says:

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This fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is a game-changer! The cake is moist and rich, and the frosting is to die for. It's a crowd-pleaser and always a hit at gatherings. The pecans add a delightful crunch. I highly recommend trying this recipe - it's a definite winner!

Hervey Jack

How To Make Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

This buttermilk cake is a rich and fudgy treat loaded with chocolate flavors. The moist treat is topped with a chocolate-loaded frosting as well.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes



For Cake:

  • 1cupbutter
  • 1cupwater
  • ¼cupcocoa
  • ½cupbuttermilk
  • 2eggs
  • 1tspbaking soda
  • 1tspvanilla
  • 2cupssugar
  • 2cupsflour
  • ½tspsalt

For Frosting:

  • ½cupbutter
  • ¼cupcocoa
  • ½cupbuttermilk,add a little more if needed
  • 16ozpowdered sugar
  • 1tspvanilla
  • ¼cuppecans,chopped, optional


  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter, water and cocoa over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

  2. With an electric mixer, beat buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla until smooth. Add butter mixture and beat until blended.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Gradually add to buttermilk mixture, beating until blended.

  4. Pour into a greased 15×10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes until cake is set.

  5. Meanwhile, In a saucepan, cook butter, cocoa and buttermilk over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and pecans.

  7. Spread Frosting over warm cake. Cut into squares, while warm.


  • Calories: 299.09kcal
  • Fat: 13.03g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.68g
  • Trans Fat: 0.47g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.65g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.78g
  • Carbohydrates: 45.22g
  • Fiber: 1.04g
  • Sugar: 35.77g
  • Protein: 2.43g
  • Cholesterol: 44.24mg
  • Sodium: 128.49mg
  • Calcium: 22.55mg
  • Potassium: 67.68mg
  • Iron: 0.49mg
  • Vitamin A: 104.24µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.11mg

Crucial Technique Tip for the Perfect Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

To ensure a moist and fudgy texture in your buttermilk cake, make sure not to overbake it. Start checking the cake around the 15-minute mark. It's done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. If it comes out clean, the cake is overbaked and may end up dry. Also, spreading the frosting while the cake is still warm helps it seep into the cake, making it even more moist and flavorful.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

Prep ahead: Measure and prepare all your ingredients before you start. This will streamline the cooking process and prevent any last-minute scrambling.

Efficient workspace: Keep your kitchen organized and clean as you work. This will help you move through the recipe with ease and avoid any unnecessary delays.

Multi-task: Look for opportunities to multitask, such as preheating the oven while you prepare the batter or chopping ingredients while something is simmering on the stove.

Use quality tools: Invest in good quality kitchen tools and equipment. Sharp knives, reliable cookware, and efficient appliances can significantly speed up the cooking process.

Follow the recipe: While it may seem obvious, following the recipe accurately can save time by preventing mistakes that require backtracking and adjustments.

Substitute Ingredients For Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe

  • butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the cake while also adding a hint of coconut flavor.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with plain yogurt mixed with milk: This mixture can mimic the tangy flavor and acidity of buttermilk, providing a similar texture and taste to the cake.

  • cocoa - Substitute with carob powder: Carob powder has a similar chocolatey flavor and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for cocoa in the recipe.

  • eggs - Substitute with applesauce: Applesauce can add moisture and binding properties to the cake, similar to eggs, while also reducing the cholesterol content.

  • baking soda - Substitute with baking powder: Baking powder can be used as a substitute for baking soda in this recipe, although the leavening effect may be slightly different.

  • sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a natural sweetener and can add a unique flavor profile to the cake.

  • flour - Substitute with almond flour: Almond flour can be used as a gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour, adding a nutty flavor and a denser texture to the cake.

  • butter - Substitute with margarine: Margarine can be used as a substitute for butter in this recipe, providing a similar fat content and texture to the cake.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with vinegar or lemon juice mixed with milk: This mixture can mimic the tangy flavor and acidity of buttermilk, providing a similar texture and taste to the cake.

  • cocoa - Substitute with melted chocolate: Melted chocolate can be used as a substitute for cocoa, providing a richer and more intense chocolate flavor to the cake.

  • butter - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for butter, providing moisture and a lighter texture to the cake.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with sour cream: Sour cream can provide a tangy flavor and richness similar to buttermilk, adding moisture and depth to the cake.

  • cocoa - Substitute with chocolate chips: Chocolate chips can be used as a substitute for cocoa, adding pockets of chocolatey goodness throughout the cake.

  • butter - Substitute with shortening: Shortening can be used as a substitute for butter, providing a similar fat content and texture to the cake.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with kefir: Kefir can provide a tangy flavor and acidity similar to buttermilk, adding a unique taste and texture to the cake.

  • cocoa - Substitute with nutella: Nutella can be used as a substitute for cocoa, adding a hazelnut-chocolate flavor to the cake.

  • butter - Substitute with ghee: Ghee can be used as a substitute for butter, providing a rich and nutty flavor to the cake.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with coconut milk mixed with vinegar: This mixture can mimic the tangy flavor and acidity of buttermilk, providing a similar texture and taste to the cake.

Best Way to Present a Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the fudgy buttermilk cake, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use clean lines and minimalistic design to showcase the richness of the cake.

  2. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Enhance the visual appeal of the cake by incorporating a delicate and artistic drizzle of the chocolate buttermilk frosting. This adds a touch of sophistication to the presentation.

  3. Garnish with edible flowers: Add a pop of color and a touch of delicacy to the presentation by garnishing the cake with edible flowers. This not only adds visual appeal but also introduces a subtle floral aroma to the dish.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the cake to be the focal point. This technique creates a sense of balance and elegance in the presentation.

  5. Incorporate texture contrast: Introduce a textural element to the plating by adding a sprinkle of finely chopped pecans around the cake. This provides a delightful contrast in both flavor and visual appeal.

  6. Consider the use of gold leaf: For an extra touch of luxury, consider delicately placing a small piece of edible gold leaf on the cake. This adds a touch of opulence and sophistication to the presentation.

  7. Precision in portioning: Pay close attention to portion sizes and ensure that each serving is meticulously cut and presented with precision, reflecting attention to detail and culinary expertise.

  8. Embrace asymmetry: Embrace the beauty of asymmetry in the plating, allowing the cake and its garnishes to flow naturally on the plate, creating an organic and visually captivating presentation.

Essential Tools for Making a Delicious Fudgy Cake

  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle, used for cooking on the stovetop. It's great for making sauces, boiling liquids, and simmering ingredients.
  • Electric mixer: A kitchen appliance used for mixing, beating, and whipping ingredients. It's a versatile tool for making cake batters, frosting, and more.
  • Jelly roll pan: A shallow baking pan with raised edges, ideal for baking thin cakes, cookies, and sheet pastries.
  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, flexible blade, used for lifting, spreading, and flipping ingredients while cooking and baking.
  • Mixing bowl: A deep bowl used for combining ingredients, stirring batters, and marinating foods. It's an essential tool for cake making.
  • Greased: Coating the cooking surface with a thin layer of butter, oil, or non-stick spray to prevent food from sticking during baking or cooking.
  • Food processor: A versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients. It's helpful for preparing nuts, fruits, and other cake components.
  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking and roasting. It's essential for baking the cake at the specified temperature.
  • Sifter: A tool used to aerate and break up clumps in dry ingredients such as flour and cocoa, ensuring a smooth and even texture in the cake batter.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Essential tools for accurately measuring ingredients such as flour, sugar, and cocoa for the cake and frosting.

Storing and Freezing Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

  • Let the fudgy buttermilk cake cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the cake soggy.

  • To store the cake, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. The cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • If you want to keep the cake fresh for longer, you can store it in the refrigerator. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container. The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

  • To freeze the cake, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label the package with the date and contents. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • When you're ready to serve the frozen cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • If you want to freeze individual slices of the cake, wrap each slice tightly with plastic wrap and then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. This will make it easy to grab a single serving of cake whenever you want one.

  • To prevent the frosting from sticking to the plastic wrap, you can place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake before wrapping it.

  • If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or an off odor, discard the cake immediately.

How To Reheat Leftover Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

  • To reheat leftover fudgy buttermilk cake, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cake is heated through and the frosting is melted and gooey. This method helps to retain the cake's moisture and prevents it from drying out.

  • If you prefer a quicker method, you can reheat individual slices of fudgy buttermilk cake in the microwave. Place a slice on a microwave-safe plate and heat it for 15-20 seconds on high power. Check the cake and heat it for an additional 5-10 seconds if needed. Be careful not to overheat the cake, as it can cause the frosting to become too runny and the cake to become rubbery.

  • For a crispy exterior and a warm, gooey interior, try reheating leftover fudgy buttermilk cake in a skillet. Melt a small amount of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place a slice of cake in the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the exterior is crispy and the interior is heated through. This method works best for smaller pieces of cake and creates a delightful contrast in texture.

  • If you want to maintain the cake's original texture and appearance, consider reheating it using a steamer. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a simmer. Place the leftover fudgy buttermilk cake in a heat-proof dish and set it inside the steamer basket. Cover the pot and steam the cake for 5-7 minutes, or until it is heated through. This gentle reheating method helps to preserve the cake's moisture and keeps the frosting intact.

Interesting Fact About Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

The fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is a classic Southern dessert that is perfect for potlucks and gatherings. It's a moist and rich cake with a delicious fudgy frosting that adds a perfect finishing touch. This cake is often enjoyed with a glass of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee. It's a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed on any occasion, and it's a favorite among many who love a good homemade cake.

Is Making Fudgy Buttermilk Cake at Home Cost-Effective?

This fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are commonly found in most kitchens, and the recipe makes a large cake that can serve a family of four for several days. The use of basic pantry staples like butter, sugar, and flour keeps the cost low. The addition of buttermilk adds a delightful tanginess and richness to the cake. Overall, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its simplicity, flavor, and affordability. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $10-$15, making it a budget-friendly dessert option.

Is This Fudgy Cake Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

This fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is undeniably delicious, but it's not the healthiest choice. The cake is high in sugar, butter, and refined flour, which can contribute to weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, and blood sugar imbalances. The frosting also contains a significant amount of sugar and butter, further increasing the calorie and fat content of the dessert.

However, there are some redeeming qualities to this recipe. Buttermilk is a good source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from harmful free radicals. Pecans are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar in both the cake and frosting by 25-50%
  • Replace some of the butter with healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt, applesauce, or mashed avocado
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour to increase the fiber content
  • Add more pecans or other nuts to the batter for an extra boost of healthy fats and protein
  • Serve smaller portions and pair with fresh fruit to balance out the sweetness

By making these simple modifications, you can still enjoy the delicious flavors of this fudgy buttermilk cake while minimizing the negative health impacts. Remember, moderation is key when it comes to indulging in sweet treats like this one.

Editor's Opinion on This Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe

This fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is a delightful combination of rich flavors and moist texture. The use of buttermilk adds a subtle tanginess, while the cocoa and pecans provide depth and crunch. The frosting, with its creamy texture and hint of pecans, complements the cake perfectly. The simplicity of the preparation makes it an ideal choice for any occasion. Whether served as a sweet treat with coffee or as a dessert at a gathering, this cake is sure to impress with its fudgy, decadent taste.

Enhance Your Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for balancing out the sweetness of the fudgy buttermilk cake.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus grilled to perfection and topped with a zesty lemon zest, providing a refreshing contrast to the rich fudgy buttermilk cake.
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts: Caramelized Brussels sprouts drizzled with a tangy balsamic glaze, offering a savory and slightly sweet accompaniment to the decadent fudgy buttermilk cake.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Fudgy Buttermilk Cake

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. It's packed with rich tomato flavor and aromatic basil, making it a delicious and satisfying meal.
Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken: Grilled lemon herb chicken is a light and refreshing dish that is perfect for a summer barbecue. The zesty lemon and fragrant herbs create a flavorful marinade that infuses the chicken with delicious taste.
Fresh Berry Parfait: This fresh berry parfait is a delightful and healthy dessert option that is perfect for a light and refreshing treat. Layered with creamy yogurt and sweet, juicy berries, it's a simple yet elegant dish that is sure to impress.

Appetizers and Main Courses to Serve with This Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. They are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful and refreshing caprese skewers are a delightful way to start any gathering. The combination of juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze, will leave your guests wanting more.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Create a creamy and indulgent pasta dish by combining tender chicken with a rich and velvety Alfredo sauce. Serve it over a bed of al dente fettuccine for a satisfying and comforting meal.
Beef Stir Fry: Whip up a flavorful and colorful beef stir fry by sautéing thinly sliced beef with an assortment of crisp vegetables in a savory sauce. Serve it over steamed rice for a delicious and well-balanced dinner option.

Why trust this Fudgy Buttermilk Cake Recipe:

This fudgy buttermilk cake recipe is a tried and tested classic, guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth. The combination of butter, cocoa, and buttermilk creates a rich and moist cake, while the addition of pecans in the frosting adds a delightful crunch. With a perfect balance of sweetness and depth of flavor, this recipe is a testament to the timeless appeal of homemade desserts. Trust in the simplicity and reliability of these ingredients to deliver a delectable treat that will surely become a household favorite.

Want to share your experience making this Fudgy Buttermilk Cake or discuss variations on the recipe? Join the conversation in the Baking and Desserts forum!
Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk in this recipe?
Yes, you can substitute regular milk for buttermilk in this recipe. Simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe. This will create a similar acidic environment to buttermilk and work well in the cake.
Can I make this cake in a different pan size?
Yes, you can adjust the pan size to your preference. Just keep in mind that the baking time may vary depending on the size and depth of the pan. For a thicker cake, use a smaller pan and increase the baking time accordingly. For a thinner cake, use a larger pan and reduce the baking time.
Can I omit the pecans from the frosting?
Absolutely! If you prefer the frosting without pecans, feel free to leave them out. The frosting will still be delicious and fudgy without the addition of pecans.
Can I use a different type of nut in the frosting?
Of course! You can customize the frosting by using your favorite nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts. Simply chop them finely and use them as a substitute for pecans in the frosting.
Can I freeze the cake with the frosting?
Yes, you can freeze the cake with the frosting. Make sure the cake is completely cooled and the frosting is set before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving for best results.

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