For better or worse, these days baking has become my respite. And that means that on weekends I bake bread and during the week I often find myself cooking sweet breads and cakes. I try to keep the amount of sugar that my kids eat and the amount of fat to a minimum. So, buttermilk has become an essential ingredient for adding moistness without too much fat. One night last week I just HAD to have chocolate cake. I found the recipe below and literally made it in minutes. Other websites note that you can even make this cake directly in your cake pan for minimal clean up. The end result: a moist, chocolate cake that wasn't too sweet or too rich. More importantly, it was so quick and easy that this will be my new go-to recipe for potlucks, birthdays and nights that chocolate cravings strike.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake (adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 2/3 cup flour (I suspect you could use white whole wheat flour here, too. I love the King Arthur brand)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (the better the cocoa, the better the cake)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
(walnuts, toasted and cooled or chocolate chips, optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and lightly flour two 8 inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in another bowl. Mix the dry and liquid ingredients together until smooth. Add in the optional nuts or chocolate chips. Spread in the pans.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes for the small round pans, and about 35 to 45 minutes if using the large pan. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.