Save on Pinterest

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

"My 12 children, 26 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren always request this cake for their birthdays," says Imogene Koepnick of Delavan, Wisconsin. "People call it 'Imogene's Cake'!"
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Makes
    12-16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream


  • In a saucepan, bring butter, water and cocoa to a boil. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cocoa mixture; mix well. Combine buttermilk and vanilla; add to batter and mix well. Beat in eggs. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir butter and cocoa until smooth. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt. Add cocoa mixture and enough milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Frost cake.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • Jacquelyn
    Jun 16, 2019

    Very similar to a family recipe that’s at least 120 years old. Our recipe calls for cinnamon which adds to the overall flavor. My dads family prefers this cake without frosting. They slice a pice in half and put a square of butter in the middle while the cake is still hot.

  • delowenstein
    Apr 6, 2014

    I baked this cake for the first time. I added 1 tsp. salt instead of using 1/2 tsp. salt. I think that when baking this cake, I would probably use a 12x8" baking pan-I'd used one 12x8" baking pan and one 8x8x2" baking pan. I greased and floured pans & divided batter between the 2 pans. I tried to keep batter evenly distributed, but the cakes were lopsided! I used 1 can of chocolate frosting and frosted the cakes after letting it cool for about 10 minutes to cover the thinner corners which showed markedly compared to the other corners of this cake recipe! Other than that, the cake did rise! It's possible that I'd use 2 miniature loaf pans and a 12x8" pan! I think that the batter isn't enough for a 13x9x2" cake! I CAN try it, though! Thank you for sharing! I wish that I could rate it higher, but I feel that this recipe would be considered as a 4 for me! delowenstein

  • Carmella1
    Jan 21, 2014

    .This cake did NOT have a nice chocolate taste or texture. Very pale and watery batter. Frosting proportions were WAY off too - took more than 6 tablespoons of cream to make it spreadable. Would not make again. Waste of ingredients!

  • mtjp
    Sep 22, 2012

    i have the same recipe only with double the cocoa and buttermilk in the frosting. its been a famiily recipe for over 100 years. cooking time can varie. just cook it until its done. frost it after 5 minutes of cooling the cake. its the best cake there is in my opinion.

  • tinglis
    Sep 17, 2011

    I have made this cake many times. I never have trouble with it being done. I make all the birthday cakes for my co-workers and this cake is requested many times throughout the year. Excellent! Love it!

  • San357
    Mar 27, 2011

    I made this today using two 8" cake pans & it took almost one hour at 350 degrees. I found the batter to be very, very thin unlike any other cake I have made before. Every time I thought it should be done, the centers were a liquid. I do have an Oven thermometer that I use all the time, so something is not right with this Recipe.

  • San357
    Mar 27, 2011

    I was very disappointed in this recipe. I hadHoped for a dark fudge taste& a deep darkChocolate flavor. This tasted like a mocha instead.

  • doreensanzone
    Oct 20, 2009

    I bake this as cupcakes. Although there are alot of ingredients, it's a snap to prepare, and it always comes out delicious!

  • reginaginy
    Dec 29, 2008

    The cooking time does not seem to be correct for this recipe.  23 to 27 minutes for a 13 x 9" cake just seems to be not enough time.  Has anyone  tried it to see if a longer time is needed?