Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake
This Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake is super moist (thanks to the buttermilk and vegetable oil), super rich (thanks to blooming the cocoa powder) and has a deliciously smooth chocolate ganache frosting that rolls beautifully down the sides of the bundt cake! It’s chocolate cake perfection!
Looking for some more delicious bundt cakes to make in your fun bundt pans? Be sure to try my Apple Cider Bundt Cake, Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, Blood Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake, or Gingerbread Bundt Cake recipes! There’s one for every time of the year!
Why This Recipe Works
- Chocolate bundt cake with buttermilk. Using buttermilk in the cake tenderizes the cake and makes it really moist!
- Chocolate ganache frosting with melted chocolate. The melted chocolate in the frosting produces a much richer chocolate flavor than if cocoa powder were used. It also makes the frosting more of a ganache texture.
- Perfectly textured chocolate frosting. I know I already talked about the frosting, but it’s just seriously SO good! It is thick but it isn’t globby. It’s the perfect consistency and texture so that it rolls beautifully down the sides of the cake without running off the cake completely. Using half and half instead of heavy cream makes a big difference since half and half is more liquidy than heavy cream. We want the frosting to roll down the sides and using heavy cream would make it too thick.
- Blooming cocoa powder. In this recipe, we bloom the cocoa powder. What does it mean to bloom cocoa powder? It’s adding hot water to cocoa powder in order to bring out a much richer chocolate flavor.
- Eggs + Egg Yolk: Adding an extra egg yolk into the batter means additional fat; additional fat means more moistness in the cake!
- Buttermilk: The buttermilk tenderizes the crumb of the cake. It also adds a subtle tang to the cake that creates a more complex flavor profile.
- Vegetable Oil/Canola Oil: Making a cake with oil instead of butter will contribute to a cake that is more moist.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Using unsweetened cocoa powder (also known as natural cocoa powder) + baking soda means the acid of the cocoa powder will react with the base (the baking soda) and contribute to the rise in the cake.
- Baking Soda: Baked goods made with baking soda traditional use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of Dutched cocoa powder. The baking soda will react with the acid in the unsweetened cocoa powder to help rise the cake.
- Very Hot Water: The process of blooming cocoa powder is when very hot water is added to cocoa powder. Blooming cocoa powder brings out a richer cocoa flavor than if you weren’t to bloom it.
- Unsweetened Chocolate: Cut the unsweetened chocolate into pieces to make the chocolate frosting glaze.
- Half and Half: Using half in half instead of heavy cream helps the frosting be more like a glaze than a thick frosting, so it can roll down the sides of the cake. Heavy cream would make the chocolate frosting too thick.
- Powdered Sugar: Sift the powdered sugar to ensure a smooth ganache frosting.
- Combine the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients for the chocolate buttermilk bundt cake in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda and mix on low speed.
- Bloom the cocoa powder. Once the dry ingredients are starting to combine with the wet ingredients, slowly stream in the hot water. Once the hot water has combined, continue mixing on low speed for 1 minute.
- Bake. Pour the cake batter into a bundt pan that is very well greased and floured. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Make the chocolate ganache frosting. Combine chocolate, butter, and half and half in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20-second increments (stirring very well in between) until the chocolate and butter are completely melted. Whisk the salt and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture. Then whisk the powdered sugar until smooth. Let the frosting sit for up to 5 minutes before frosting the cake.
- Frost the bundt cake. Spoon the chocolate frosting with melted chocolate overtop of the chocolate bundt cake and let the frosting roll down the sides.
Make sure to spray the bundt pan liberally with nonstick spray that contains flour in it! Or better yet grease and flour with butter or shortening and THEN spray the pan too. 😊
For the frosting, after you’ve melted the chocolate, butter and half and half, the mixture will appear slightly gritty. Don’t worry, it will smooth out when you add the powdered sugar!
Make sure the cake has cooled to room temperature and the chocolate glaze frosting has sat for up to 5 minutes. If you were to frost the cake right away, the frosting would slide down the sides of the cake.
Don’t over mix the cake when you add the dry ingredients to the wet. Over mixing cake batter at this stage in the process will result in a tough batter, which will affect the rise of the cake. If you are looking for ways to help your cakes rise, make sure you are using baking soda that isn’t expired and make sure your oven temperature is correct by using an oven thermometer! You’d be surprised how often ovens will say they are a certain temperature when in fact they are cooler or warmer than the temperature shown.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Store the chocolate bundt cake with buttermilk covered in the fridge for 3-5 days. It needs to be refrigerated because of the half and half in the frosting.
You can make the cake ahead of time, but I wouldn’t recommend making the chocolate frosting ahead of time. Once chilled, the frosting shouldn’t be reheated. Since it’s a ganache frosting, reheating it or cooling it down (by chilling it in the fridge) then stirring or whisking it could cause the chocolate to go gritty again in the frosting. Because of this, I recommend making the cake ahead of time, but then making the chocolate ganache frosting the day of.
You can freeze this cake! Flash freeze it in the freezer until solid, then wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight, then remove, uncover and continue thawing at room temperature.
Yes it is! It’s super moist thanks to a few things: using vegetable oil helps make cakes moist. This is because vegetable oil is a liquid at room temperature. The acidity in the buttermilk breaks down the gluten in the flour, making the cake much more tender, too.
Just the shape! I guess the point of a bundt cake is to not only taste delicious but to have a fun shape to it!
Lots of grease and flour! I would recommend greasing the pan, flouring the pan, and then topping that with some cooking spray that contains flour in it!
More Chocolate Cake Recipes
- Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Chocolate Cake Pops
- German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk - at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil - or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/3 cup very hot water
Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, flour and then generously spray a 12 cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray that contains flour. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda and mix on low speed. Once the dry ingredients are starting to combine with the wet ingredients, slowly stream in the hot water. Once the hot water has combined, continue mixing on low speed for 1 additional minute.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepped bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Combine chocolate, butter, and half and half in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments (stirring very well in between) until chocolate and butter are completely melted. At this stage the mixture will appear slightly gritty but don't worry, it will smooth out when you add the powdered sugar.
- Whisk the salt and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture. Lastly, whisk the powdered sugar until smooth. Let the frosting sit for 1-5 minutes. If you were to frost the cake right away, the frosting will slide off the sides of the cake.