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Chocolate-Buttermilk Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

This simple recipe makes two moist chocolate cakes. Stash the second one in the freezer for another day when you need a quick homemade dessert.

Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes two 10-inch cakes

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  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • Two 1.4-ounce Skor bars, finely crushed
  • Cornstarch, for rolling
  • 1 1/2 pounds prepared fondant
  • Colored fondant and diluted food coloring, for decorating


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 10-inch round cake pans. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs with the vanilla until blended, then whisk in the buttermilk, melted butter and coffee. Whisk the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake; invert the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
  3. Set 1 of the cakes on a cake circle. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally; set the top aside. Spread a 1/3-inch-thick layer of Vanilla Buttercream over the cake bottom; be sure to spread it all the way to the edge of the cake. Sprinkle the Skor bits over the buttercream and cover with the top cake layer. Frost the top and side of the cake with a thin, even layer of Vanilla Buttercream. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour.
  4. Dust a work surface with cornstarch and roll out the fondant to a 13 1/2-inch round. Roll the fondant onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the cake. Smooth the surface of the fondant and trim around the base of the cake. Decorate the cake as desired

Make Ahead

The chocolate-buttermilk cakes can be wrapped in plastic and then in foil and frozen for 1 month. The decorated fondant-covered cake can be refrigerated uncovered for up to 5 days.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published December 2004

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