I call this a “Quick Cake,” not because it is quick in the oven but because it is quick to mix together, and bakes up like a quick bread, like banana bread or zucchini bread.
I have been searching for a good buttermilk chocolate cake for a long time—ever since I heard the terms chocolate and buttermilk in the same sentence. It sounds so rich and moist, but in my search for a good recipe, many reviews I’ve seen say the cake turns out dry and crumbly.
I’m not really a chocolate person, in that I won’t take it any way it comes. I’d rather skip the chocolate cake and brownies if they aren’t moist and dense and fudgy. That said, today I looked at some other recipes and came up with this. I wanted it to be in the shape of a loaf so that it can be used in a trifle or served at tea time. It’s simple and versatile. It can be frosted, left plain, cut in slices, or whatever you can think of. I plan on using any leftovers next week in a chocolate bread pudding.
To formulate this recipe, I tried to fit as much moisture in as I possibly could, without making it so light that it crumbled. What resulted (sorry I can’t give an accurate review of this at sea level—I made this at 4,500 feet, so I can only tell you how it came out up here) was a moist, dense, yet light chocolate cake with a very old fashioned chocolate flavor. I’m really pleased with it.
If you want to make this as a layer cake, reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes.
Chocolate Buttermilk Quick Cake
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water, plus a little more if needed*
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1. Spray 5 small loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cocoa powder with boiling water and stir until smooth. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. With the mixer turned off, add in buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Pour in cocoa powder and water mixture and mix everything to combine. Incorporate melted chocolate chips, and mix until everything is smooth. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cakes spring back when touched.
*If you are baking this as a layer cake, butter 2 9 inch cake pans, lay in a round of parchment paper, butter, and dust with cocoa powder.
*Thanks to many comments from our readers, it is clear 1/4 cup of water may not be enough. Add about a teaspoon at a time to dissolve the cocoa.