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Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake 16.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Washington Cooks May 18, 2011

The cake has a subtle chocolate flavor, and the smooth, luscious cream cheese frosting has a touch of coffee. Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, it's best to keep this cake refrigerated. Let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead: The frosting can be made a day or two in advance. You'll have leftovers, which can be frozen for making cupcakes.

Servings: 16
  • For the cake
  • Vegetable shortening, for greasing the cake pans
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the cake pans
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • For the frosting
  • 16 ounces (2 packages) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use nonfat)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use a little vegetable shortening to grease two 9-inch cake pans that are at least 2 inches deep, then use a little flour to coat them completely. Shake out any excess flour.

Combine the sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder in a liquid measuring cup, stirring to form a smooth, thick paste.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, placing the whites in a separate clean mixing bowl.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low speed, then on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the milk mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

Use a flexible spatula to stir a third of the flour mixture into the butter batter, then stir in a third of the buttermilk. Repeat two more times, alternating the flour mixture and buttermilk additions, stirring until well incorporated after each addition.

Use clean beaters to beat the egg whites on low speed to start, then on high speed to form stiff peaks. Gradually fold the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter’s consistency. Divide the batter between the cake pans; use an offset spatula to smooth the surfaces. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes or until the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan and the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Transfer the cake pans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake layers from the pans and place them on the rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer. Beat for at least 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until fluffy and well blended. Reduce the speed to low; add the vanilla extract.

Combine the cooled coffee, sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder in a liquid measuring cup. Stir until well incorporated, then add to the cream cheese-butter mixture and beat on low speed to combine. Add the confectioners’ sugar in 1/2-cup increments, beating until well incorporated after each addition. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Invert one of the cooled cake layers on a serving plate. Plop a generous amount of frosting on top; place the second cake layer, right side up, squarely on the frosted bottom layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Recipe Source

From Waldorf cook Decoyise Brown.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 550

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 26g 40%

Saturated Fat: 16g 80%

Cholesterol: 150mg 50%

Sodium: 300mg 12%

Total Carbohydrates: 71g 24%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 49g

Protein: 10g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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