RECIPES | Inkomazi is the secret for a very good chocolate cake – SowetanLIVE

Dorah Sitole’s moist chocolate cake.

Dorah Sitole’s moist chocolate cake.
Image: Dorah Sitole: 40 Years of Iconic Food

Instead of being caught up in the commercial whirlwind of celebrating your mother with expensive gifts, there’s nothing nicer and more appreciated than a good home baked chocolate cake.

The allure of chocolate is universal and long associated with all celebrations, and a good chocolate cake is no exception. A flop-proof recipe is one to treasure, and these two are keepers. Both feature inkomazi/buttermilk, which makes a rich and moist cake.

The first recipe is from the late Dorah Sitole’s last cookbook Dorah Sitole: 40 Years of Iconic Food before she passed away in early 2021. It’s a fitting Mother’s Day tribute to Dorah, a mother and a grandmother who loved nothing more than cooking and baking for her family.  

Dorah so enjoyed a good slice of chocolate cake that she added a little coffee to her fabulous recipe for a choc/coffee flavour and made it lovely and dark.

My recipe is one I’ve been making for years. It’s so easy and doesn’t need any fancy equipment, not even a mixer. It’s dark, delicious and super moist and both the cake and icing are made using inkomazi/buttermilk. I find it tastes better the second day — if you can wait that long.



250g (2 cups) cake wheat flour

190ml (¾ cup) cocoa powder

10ml (2 tsp) baking powder

5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

5ml (1 tsp) salt

15ml (1 tbsp) instant coffee

400g (2 cups) sugar

250ml (1 cup) inkomazi/buttermilk or plain yoghurt

125ml (½ cup) vegetable oil

2 extra large eggs

5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence

250ml (1 cup) boiling water

Chocolate ganache frosting:

65g (¼ cup) butter, melted

250ml (1 cup) cream

200g (about 2 cups) dark chocolate, chopped or use chocolate chips

3ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract

30ml (2 tbsp) brewed coffee

Extra dark chocolate for decorating


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C. Grease a 20cm Bundt tin well.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and coffee in a large bowl and then add the sugar.
  3. Whisk together the inkomazi, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and mix together until well combined.
  4. Carefully add the boiling water to the cake batter. Beat together thoroughly until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool completely.
  6. For the frosting combine the butter and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
  7. Place the chocolate pieces in a glass bowl, pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir in the vanilla and coffee. Allow to stand for 3-5 minutes to soften the chocolate or chocolate chips completely. Stir until smooth.
  8. Cover the cake with chocolate ganache frosting and decorate with the chocolate shavings or grated chocolate.

Recipe: Dorah Sitole, 40 Years of Iconic Food

Hilary Biller's moist chocolate buttermilk cake.

Hilary Biller’s moist chocolate buttermilk cake.
Image: 123RF/belchonock



500ml (2 cups) cake wheat flour

375ml (1 ½ cups) sugar

Pinch of salt

5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

125g butter

250ml (1 cup) water

125ml (½ cup) sunflower oil

125ml (½ cup) cocoa powder, sifted

2 extra large eggs

125ml inkomazi/buttermilk or plain yoghurt


60g (4 tbsp) butter

30ml (2 tbsp) cocoa powder, sifted

45ml (3 tbsp) inkomazi/buttermilk or plain yoghurt

5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence

375ml (1 ½ cups) icing sugar, sifted


  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Heat the butter, water, oil and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan. Stir to combine, bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat and cool slightly. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and inkomazi/buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture.
  4. Prepare a 23cm cake pan or large ring pan by spraying with cooking spray.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven 180° C for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the icing melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir in the cocoa, inkomazi/buttermilk, vanilla essence and icing sugar. Mix until smooth then spread over the cake. Decorate with glace cherries, toasted nuts or mini marshmallows.

Recipe: Hilary Biller