• 1/2 cup (115 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (190 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt


  1. Dutched cocoa makes this cake much darker and more rich. If you don’t have it, however, many people have made it with natural or non-Dutched cocoa (think: classic Hershey’s or Hershey’s dark) but it tends to sink in the middle a little. Nothing a little extra whipped cream cannot cover up though, right?
  2. Heat your oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a standard loaf pan (shown in a 9″x5″, but not so full in it that you couldn’t use an 8″x4″ or something in-between), or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan.
  4. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, if you’re feeling fancy.
  5. Planning ahead? This cake is even better on days 2 and 3; wrap it tightly in foil and store it at room temperature.