Tuesdays with Jill: My favorite chocolate cake

March 10, 2009

When I made the Devil’s Food White Out Cake a few weeks ago, it was not a hit with me or my taste testers.  All I could think about was the chocolate cake I usually make and how much I like it. I compared the two recipes and, well, I don’t know what it is about this recipe that makes me like it better. So I stopped analyzing the recipes and made this cake. I’ve been making this cake since 2003 and the recipe has never failed me (or should I say I’ve never failed it?). It’s tasty, dense but not super-dense, and makes a great layer cake and great cupcakes. It’s easy to cut the recipe in half to make 12 cupcakes.


Here's a slice with lots of frosting and mini chips in the cake

Here’s a tip for any layer cake: Freeze the layers before frosting them and you won’t get crumbs mixed in with the frosting as you spread it. I usually make the cake the day before, cool it, wrap it and put it in the freezer. Frost immediately after taking out of the freezer. It doesn’t take long to defrost.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

from The Perfect Cake: 150 Cakes for EveryTaste and Occasion by Susan G Purdy

This recipe makes about 7 cups of batter, which can be baked in two 9-inch round pans, one 9×13 inch pan, or two standard size cupcake pans (for about 24 cupcakes).

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (8.5 oz; 240g)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I usually don’t add this)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (1/2 cup; 110g)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks; 230g), at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces; 350g)
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (5.5 ounces; 160g), tossed together with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture from step 2. 

  1. Grease pan(s) and dust with flour or unsweetened cocoa. Tap out excess flour or cocoa.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir to make sure it is completely melted and smooth, then set aside to cool until comfortable to the touch.
  4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beaters several times. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the vanilla and cooled chocolate, blending until the color is even. Stir in the mini chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Turn mixture into the prepared pan(s). Smooth it level and then spread it slightly from the center toward the edges of the pan so it will rise evenly. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 40-50 minutes for a 9×13 inch pan, 35-45 minutes for 9″ round pans, or until the top is lightly springy to the touch and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (Note: the recipe doesn’t provide a time for cupcakes, but they will bake faster.) Leave the cake in its pan(s) on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Or, if you are using a 9×13″ pan, you can cool it in the pan and frost and serve from the pan.

I was going to post a frosting recipe too, but the frosting I made for this cake ended up being a hybrid of two different recipes. My new favorite frosting was Italian Buttercream, but when I made it this time it just tasted like butter. Happily, I was able to rescue it by adding cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and a little milk. In the end, I think it tasted good, but next time I’ll try out another recipe.


  1. Ciao ! I liked the other so I’ll have to try yours !!

  2. I love a good chocolate cake. Yours looks fabulous and that frosting sounds wonderful!

  3. Ooops… meant to say that frosting LOOKS wonderful – it looks like you put a lot on the top. I love frosting!

  4. Mmmm that cake recipe looks delicious! I have to try this one!

  5. You’ve convinced me! This one looks great. I will try it next time I’m making a chocolate cake (which will hopefully be soon!)

  6. Sounds like a keeper! It’s always nice when you find a cake recipe you love.

    It looks wonderful.

  7. Very nice! Buttermilk in chocolate cake is the way to go!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: