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Spooky Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Happy Halloween! The BEST chocolate buttermilk cake gets festive with simple black-out frosting and a generous coating of spooky sprinkles.

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Two slices of spooky blackout chocolate buttermilk cake.

Happy Halloween! Just a short post today, because I’ve decided I simply can’t wait any longer to share this recipe. I know bloggers are prone to hyperbole, and as a result do my very best to avoid describing things as “the BEST” or “the ULTIMATE.” Most of the time. Today, it’s justified, because this is truly the BEST chocolate buttermilk cake you will find.

I make this aaaall the time, because it’s delicious, super easy, and feeds a crowd. But, ironically, I have never, not once, succeeded in taking pictures of the finished product that do it justice. There’s always some issue – in too much of a hurry, poor lighting, prop disaster, you name it. And this is why I’ve kept it from you for far too long already.

But, I decided today to throw caution to the wind and post it with mediocre photos anyway. This particular version I made as a sheet cake to bring to a friend’s Halloween party last weekend. A casual party full of sugar-crazed kids and imbibing adults calls for a simple sheet cake all the way. Add some blackout chocolate frosting and sprinkles, and we’re good to go!

A slice of spooky blackout chocolate buttermilk cake with one forkful removed.

A quick note on the frosting – no food coloring needed! It gets this dark and rich just from using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. Score!

And a quick note on the sprinkles – my absolute favorite source for not only sprinkles but also festive paper straws and the best cupcake liners I have ever used is this store. Quick shipping, too! Not sponsored, I just really love them, and my personal order history shows it. They have some adorable holiday things right now – check it out!

Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll manage to get some pictures of this cake that do right by it. In the meantime, though, don’t be deterred. Make it right away for any celebration, or just, you know, to get through the day, and enjoy! ♥

Blackout Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 1 9"x13" sheet cake

Happy Halloween! The BEST chocolate buttermilk cake gets festive with simple black-out frosting and a generous coating of spooky sprinkles.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) cocoa powder (regular cocoa powder may be used; use Hershey's Special Dark to achieve the darker cake color and a slightly more complex flavor) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) cocoa powder (again, regular cocoa powder may be used; use Hershey's Special Dark to achieve the darker cake color and a slightly more complex flavor)
  • 3 cups (681 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup (70 ml) milk (whole or skim is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Lightly coat a large (9x13") baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, or grease lightly with butter. 
  2. To make the cake, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and using an electric or hand mixer, blend for about 30 seconds on low speed. Turn the speed up to medium-high and blend for an additional 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl at least once with a spatula.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with loose crumbs. Allow cake to cool to room temperature before frosting.
  4. To prepare the frosting, melt the butter in a large bowl. Using an electric or hand mixer, stir in the cocoa powder. While beating the mixture on medium-high speed, alternately add powdered sugar and milk, until the frosting reaches a thick, spreadable consistency. Beat in vanilla extract. 
  5. Frost cake, decorate as desired, and serve.

Notes

This recipe can also be made in 2 9" round cake pans to make a layer cake.

If tightly wrapped, leftovers will keep very well at room temperature for 2-3 days.

This cake is a tried and true family recipe - it's what my mother-in-law made every year for every one of her four kids' birthdays! The frosting, well, that one I adapted from Hershey's. 🙂 

Looking for more spooky desserts? These ghoulish chocolate Linzer cookies or cute ghost cupcakes are both adorable and delicious!

More dessert in general? (Oh yeah!) Try this gorgeous champagne layer cake, small-batch triple chocolate cupcakes, a blood orange snack cake, chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish cream frosting, or a sweet little everyday chocolate snack cake.

Spooky chocolate buttermilk cake | The BEST chocolate buttermilk cake gets festive for Halloween with simple black-out frosting and a generous coating of spooky sprinkles.

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