Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

I make a lot of cultured butter at work. I’m always trying to find creative ways to use up the buttermilk, the liquid byproduct of the butter-making process. Here is one such endeavor – a lovely, little cake. Easy to whip up and satisfying without feeling decadent. Serve with fresh berries and whipped cream for a satisfying afternoon snack.

Makes: 1 cake


  • 9-inch round springform or other cake pan
  • parchment paper


  • 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour, but choose your own adventure)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (or milk or yogurt)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (Optional) 1 cup mix-ins such as chopped nuts, chocolate, and/or coconut flakes


  • Preheat oven to 375 °F. Cut a round piece of parchment and line the cake pan so the bottom and most of the sides are covered. Lightly rub a splash of olive oil onto parchment.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Crack the eggs directly into the flour mixture, breaking the yolks with a wooden spoon. Add buttermilk, olive oil, and vanilla extract and mix until there are no more dry bits of flour.
  • If adding optional mix-ins, gently fold into the batter now.
  • Pour batter into the parchment-lined pan, and bake on the middle rack in the oven for about 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick to be sure the cake is cooked all the way through (There should be no wet batter sticking to the toothpick). Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cake from the pan. Gently peel away parchment, and let it finish cooling, ideally on a wire rack.