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Buttermilk Cocoa Cake

Moist and tender with a delightful frosting, this cake is one I've made time and again after finding the recipe in an old community cookbook. It's perfect for a family dinner, picnic or potluck.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-15 servings


  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional


  • In a large saucepan, combine the cocoa and water until smooth; add butter. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking soda; add cocoa mixture. Combine eggs, oil and buttermilk; add to cocoa mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • In a large saucepan, bring the cocoa, butter and buttermilk to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over the warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans if desired. Cool on a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 504 calories, 23g fat (9g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 234mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate (55g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • jeanemed
    Jul 15, 2019

    Made this many time. To keep the frosting from being to runny, I cook the frosting low and slow until thickened.

  • Taunajune
    Jul 11, 2015

    I've made this several times and it is really good. Very moist.

  • remcleaney
    Apr 20, 2015

    I must have done something wrong with this one. The frosting was extremely sweet and very runny. I don't feel the chocolate cake has any real flavor either. It is moist and great texture, but lacking any real flavor. Won't be making this one again.

  • spavinaw
    Jan 24, 2013

    No comment left

  • tysgirl
    May 18, 2012

    No comment left

  • MayK
    Nov 20, 2011

    To reduce calaries and sugar in this recipe, I cut the sugar in half, added the nuts to the batter, used light butter, and sprinkled confectionary sugar over the top in place of the frosting. I served it to company, and they loved it. I'm sure the original is as good as everyone says it is, but I needed to make it a little lighter.

  • jmkasprak
    Nov 7, 2011

    I wasn't expecting this cake to be so good. It's quite moist and so very "chocolatey".

  • emmapeighsmom
    Oct 7, 2011

    It was so moist!! I made this for a family dinner and had ZERO leftovers! Amazing taste and so easy to make! This will be a chocolate cake staple!!

  • lvs2bake
    Nov 18, 2010

    I've made this cake twice.It goes together with such ease. And everyone enjoys it around here. (Even those who are picky)!

  • xicota
    May 12, 2010

    This seems to be another variation of Texas Sheet Cake. Having said that, TSC is one of my favorite desserts, so I will probably make this again. Cut the squares on the small side---with the frosting, this cake is quite rich.