Friday, May 01, 2009

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Recipe

Since I could hardly reach the kitchen counter, I always liked to cook. My Mother taught me how to make chocolate chip cookies at Christmastime. When I was only seven years old, I could whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies as good as Mom's. My Mother wasn't necessarily a good cook (sorry Mom) but she could make wonderful old fashion drop biscuits. I've never been able to match her skills biscuit making but I have surpassed her in most other areas of cooking food. Not that I'm a gourmet cook, I'm far from that. But I do have my favorite dishes that I prefer to anyone else's.

I remember so well how disappointed I was when I entered high school in 1954 and I wasn't allowed to take the Home Economics class. Remember this was back in the Eisenhower Fifties when boys were boys and girls were girls and never the twain should meet. What a shame. My first date, Bonnie, wanted to take shop and she wasn't allowed either because shop was for boys only just as "Home Ec" for the girls only. Thank goodness that way of thinking has changed (I assume it has anyway, I don't know for sure.)

I didn't start experimenting with cooking again until I moved in with my life partner Bill back in March of 1965. Since then I've tried all kinds of recipes. Some successful and some not so successful. Again, I'm not a gourmet cook but I do like to cook good food that taste good. My test of a good recipe is one that keeps you coming back for more.

In January of 2006 I put my house in Pennsylvania up for sale. I contracted to have a new house built in Delaware, confident that I would sell my Pennsylvania house in no time. How wrong I was. This was right at the beginning of the housing bust. For seven long months I carried two mortgages at a cost of $3,998 a month. I almost lost my new house to foreclosure. Through a bit of luck and taking on a new 30 year mortgage (which will be paid off when I'm 95 years old!), I sold my house in Pennsylvania and now live in my wonderful new home in Sussex County, Delaware near the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean (2 miles east of where I live the waves roll in daily.) From January 2006 until just last week I had lost just about all interest in cooking. That is how traumatic the house selling and relocation to Delaware was to me. This experience for me was the worst thing next to a terminal illness . It was so traumatic for me that I couldn't even write about it in my blog. I may never write about it except the little snippets of information that I just wrote about in this paragraph.

But last week I felt like life was returning to normal for me. I have a renewed interest in cooking again. I've cooked cakes over the past two years but they were the prepackaged box cakes like Duncan Hines. While good, they aren't the same as homemade. Last week I wanted a good chocolate cake. A homemade, from scratch chocolate cake. A cake made with cake flour, not all purpose flour. A cake in which the ingredients are at room temperature, not cold straight out of the refrigerator. I saw this recipe for Buttermilk Chocolate Cake on the side of the Swans Down Cake Flour box. It looked like a major effort. Not quite as convenient as a box cake in which you just add oil, water and eggs. This one would require many bowls, scrappers, measuring cups, and pans. I took one the challenge. It was well worth it. The finished chocolate cake was the best I have ever had in my life and I made it. I froze some, gave some to my good neighbor and promptly made two more (so I would have enough before the weather got too hot to use the oven.) Below is my Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Recipe. It is not my original recipe but rather from the box of Swans Down Cake Flour. You make this cake and you may not go back to any other chocolate cake recipe. It certainly far surpasses any box cake.

Deluxe Devil's Food Cake

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

Crisco No-Stick Cooking Spray with Flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups Softasilk Cake Flour
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (alkalized) or unsweetened coca powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup buttermilk

Butter cream Frosting

1 1/4 cup (2 1/12 sticks), butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract 8-9 tablespoons milk
7 1/2 cups (2 pounds) powdered sugar

HEAT: oven to 350F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans generously with no-stick cooking spray with flour.

BEAT: sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 teaspoon clear vanilla and 3/4 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; beat into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk on medium speed. Beat 1 minute longer. Pour into prepared pans.

BAKE: 26 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely.

BEAT: 1 1/4 cups butter, 2 teaspoons clear vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extracts in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add milk and powdered sugar, scraping bowl as needed. Bet on high speed adding additional milk by the tablespoon until desired spreading consistency is achieved. Brush any loose crumbs from cooled layers. Place first layer, rounded side down, on plate. Spread with Butter cream Frosting to within 1/4 inch of edge. Level off top of second layer. Top with second layer, topside down. Sp;read with frosting. Top with third layer, top side up. Coat side of cake with thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs. Frost side and top of cake. If desired, draw cake comb through frosting to make decorative designs and top with shaved chocolate curls. Refrigerate cake to set the frosting; allow cake to stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 16 servings.

The buttermilk gives the cake a nice old fashion chocolate flavor. Enjoy!

Since then I had a hankering for that wonderful carrot cake I had at Cracker Barrel last year. I looked up the recipe on the Internet, made it and here is what is left after one day. Bill is crazy over carrot cake. My neighbor Bob Murphy loves it. My good friend Bob McCamley says it is his favorite cake. I love it. I'm back cooking again and I love it. Future postings will feature my one and only chicken salad recipe. One think I want to make clear to anyone who is thinking that I'm a gourmet cook. I am not. I don't cook seafood, lamb, or veal. I just like to cook food that taste good. I cook mostly chicken and some beef. I love to cook vegetables and I make the best mashed (we called them "squashed") potatoes around. Cooking is another relaxing past time I have in addition to my genealogy research, taking digital pictures, and posting to my blog and personal journal. This is what I do in my retirement and I love it.


  1. Oh my g., I will have to try this. I was a lucky kid. I took home ec. when I was 12. My aunt was the home ec. teacher in our 4H club. Plus I could care less what my wicked step father thought. I entered my cookies and bread in the county fair and won 2 blues and 1 red ribbon. I pulled out my family tree papers. My cousin did the work. one bunch of papers says will let you know more later. Mike, studio city ca.

  2. Also, I will send this recipe to my aunt. She is soon to be 81 and still bakes up a storm. She lives in Yuma Az. My home town, Mike, studio city, ca

  3. You were a lucky kid to be able to take home economics. How I envied those girls, especially the ones who didn't want to be there. They could have switched places with me in Shop anytime. has a wealth of information. However, you need a subscription to access it. To me it's worth it.

  4. I also have old family photos that fo back 100yrs+. My great grt grt grandfathers also fought in the civil war for the south. The history is rewarding. Who ate all the cake in that photo? Later, Mike,

  5. Hey Ron,

    you were born too soon. Darryl had cooking in high school. Full big kitchen and all. It was an elective, you cooked meals and served them to students and teachers.

    And remember, my son was in the Girl's Club, my oldest daughter was in the Boy Scouts, my middle daughter was in the Army, my wife was a Road Runner and I was a Cookie Mother. Oh, and both my daughters had shop in high school.


  6. You remember those bad old days Lar. It was totally out of the question for a boy to go to the Home Ec. class. Remember Bonnie Walton? She hated Home Ec. She wanted to go into Shop the worst way. How ironic. I turned out to be gay and she's now a lesbian. What are the odds?

  7. Have you seen my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog. My last several postings were about my great great grandfather who fought in the Civil War (Union) in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. He was ambushed and killed by a Confederate Calvary while returning to his base camp after recruiting more of his fellow farmers up in the mountains for the Union Cause.

    The carrot cake went three ways. A big chunk went to my neighbor, another chunk went to my good friend Big Bob, and Bill took a couple of pieces. I had my first piece tonight. The Buttermilk Chocolate cake I sliced it and froze most of it for later consumption. Fresh made cake only taste good for a day or two so I usually freeze about 3/4's of it.

    I would love to see your Civil War pictures. My e-mail address is:

  8. I do not have civil war pics. Only my dirt farming clan in Oklahoma. That would be around the turn of the century. 1890's. We were pre dust bowl. Left Ok. for Az. and Ca. in the late 20's early 30's. Kind of like the "Grapes of Rath" but not as poor. I love that movie. Later, Mike s.c. ca.

  9. I love those old pictures.

  10. My sister's favourite was the Buttermilk Chocolate Cake that she got from one of her friends. She always talks about it whenever we meet! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!


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