Old-fashioned chocolate buttermilk cake

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Nothing beats an old-fashioned chocolate layer cake with lashings of chocolate frosting. The buttermilk in this cake gives it an extra special something – perfect for a celebration, though any excuse will do.


  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

chocolate icing

  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-2 tbsp hot water


Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line the base and sides of two 18cm cake tins.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using handheld beaters, beat together sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla essence. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk and beat until just combined. Add water and continue beating for 2 minutes until very smooth.
Divide mixture evenly between cake tins. Bake for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in tin, then remove to a rack and allow to cool completely.
To make icing, sift flour and cocoa together into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and milk and mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed and beat well for 1-2 minutes until very smooth, adding as much hot water as necessary.
Place one cake on a serving platter. Spread some icing over it, then top with second cake. Cover the entire thing with icing and spread it out smoothly.

recipe notes

If the cakes have domed in the oven, you can carefully cut off the top to level the cakes.
A cake turntable is very handy – you can turn the cake as you ice it, making for a much neater finish.

Credits: Best Recipes