This Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is rich, sweet, and tender and perfect when you need an easy, impressive dessert recipe! An easy way to feed a crowd!

This past weekend, Bill and the kids took their annual trek to Green Bay to watch the Packers. I mentioned sending along a cheesecake, but when Bill hemmed and hawed about whether his brother would eat it, I rethought my decision. The chocoholic gene is definitely dominant in our DNA. This homemade Chocolate Bundt Cake went over well!

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake on a white cake stand garnished with fresh raspberries.

Why You Must Make

  • Adding buttermilk to a cake makes it nice and tender.
  • A Bundt cake will feed a crowd and no fussy frosting of layers.
  • You can drizzle the cake with ganache or smear it over the whole cake!

This chocolate buttermilk cake is made with the usual suspects: melted chocolate, sugar, eggs, butter, buttermilk, flour, etc. There is one exception. Hot cocoa mix!

A half-cup of a good quality hot cocoa mix is whisked with the flour, baking soda, and salt, then added alternately with the buttermilk. Don’t scrimp and use a bargain brand if you want the best results.

This cake was to be drizzled with chocolate ganache, but I ended up chilling mine too long and just frosted the cake. Drizzling is not my strong suit! Feel free to skip the frosting and just dust with powdered sugar or use the ganache any way you’d like to finish off the cake.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Butter, Sugar, All-Purpose Flour, Water, Baking Soda, Salt
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – I used Ghirardelli brand
  • Eggs – Large eggs, have at room temperature for easier incorporation into the batter.
  • Buttermilk – Use whole milk buttermilk. In a pinch, you can make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) in a cup of milk, stir, let it rest for about 5 minutes to let it thicken before using.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla extract. Check the label and if it says artificial, do not purchase. The flavor will not be the same.
  • Heavy Cream – Should be 36% butterfat.
  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips – I used Ghirardelli brand
  • Vegetable Oil – Use canola oil or another neutral-flavored oil. Olive oil’s flavor is too distinct to use in this cake.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate – I used Ghirardelli brand
  • Sweetened Hot Chocolate Mix – I used Ghirardelli brand
Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake on a white ceramic cake stand with a floral napkin.

Expert Tips

I love a dense and delicious Bundt cake. They’re easy to make compared to a multi-layered cake that requires finesse to frost perfectly. But there are a few key pointers you need to know to make a perfect Bundt cake.

  • PRO-Tip: First, and foremost, prep your pan properly so the Bundt cake releases perfectly. As a Bundt pan grows old from multiple uses, some of the non-stick coating (if you have a non-stick Bundt pan) wears off. This can make it difficult to remove.
  • I prefer using a non-stick Bundt pan.
  • I like to use a non-stick flour and oil spray like Baker’s Joy. Or grease your pan thoroughly shortening, then dust with flour.
  • After dusting with flour, turn your pan upside down over your sink or garbage can and tap out any excess flour. Check your pan to make sure every nook and cranny has been coated. If not, fix those areas by smearing on some more grease and then flour.
  • PRO-Tip: Do not pour batter more than ⅔ the way up the pan. Otherwise, you’ll have an overflow situation. If you have excess batter, make a few cupcakes!
  • Do not overbake as your cake will not be dry. Check it about 5-10 minutes early in case your oven runs hot.
  • Check to make sure your cake is done by inserting a (affiliate link)toothpick into the mid part of the cake in a couple of spots. There may be a few moist crumbs, but you don’t want to see any batter on your toothpick.
  • PRO-Tip: Remove the cake to a cooling rack and cool for about 15 minutes before carefully flipping it out of the pan onto the cooling rack. I like to use my hot pads and give it a couple of jiggles back and forth to make sure it’s loose.
  • Waiting much longer than 15 minutes to release your pan may make it very difficult to have it come out without leaving a few bits in the pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Buttermilk in Cake Recipes?

The acidic nature of buttermilk helps tenderize the gluten in the flour, yielding a softer crumb. It also gives a boost to the leavening agent. Note, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by mixing a scant cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or a neutral vinegar (your acid).

How to Decorate a Bundt Cake

There are many ways to jazz up a Bundt cake, from frosting and glazes to whipped cream and berries. This cake was meant to have chocolate ganache drizzled back and forth over the top of the cake, but I ended up frosting the whole cake with chilled ganache instead.

You can also pipe stars of whipped cream around the top of the cake and then insert a berry or any sort of round chocolate candy onto each swirl of cream. Even a simple dusting of powdered sugar before bringing the whole cake to the table is a simple, yet elegant garnish.

How Long Will a Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Stay Fresh?

If wrapped airtight, this cake will stay fresh at room temperature for 3-4 days or refrigerated for up to a week. If you want to freeze this cake, wrap it in plastic wrap, then heavy-duty foil, and freeze for up to 2 months.

To protect the frosting, freeze the cake for a couple of hours until the frosting gets hard, then wrap and freeze. Or freeze the cake before frosting, then defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and frost once it’s defrosted.

Slice of Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake on a square white dessert plate.

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Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake | Easy, rich and delicious!

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 12 servings

A tender chocolate buttermilk cake drizzled with semisweet chocolate ganache.



  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ cup (high quality) hot chocolate mix, sweetened, I used Ghirardelli
  • 2½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch fluted bundt pan with Pam w/flour and sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa.
  2. In a pot combine water, butter, oil, and bittersweet chocolate. Cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Remove from heat. Transfer to a mixer and stir in sugar until blended. Cool for 10 minutes.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, hot chocolate mix, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add eggs to the cooled chocolate, one at a time. Beat well with a whisk.
  6. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, stirring just until blended.
  7. Add vanilla.
  8. Pour batter into pan.
  9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 15 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
  11. To make the ganache, microwave all ingredients until melted and smooth, stirring.
  12. Let sit for 10 minutes or however long it takes for yours to thicken.
  13. Drizzle on the cake or spread a light coating over the surface, and chill until set.


Total time does not reflect cooling times.

Adapted from Betty Crocker via Hugs & Cookies XOXO

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 712Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 503mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 5gSugar: 45gProtein: 9g


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