I know that some of you looked at the title of this recipe and thought sourdough chocolate what? Or perhaps you thought it was a typo and that this is actually a sour cream chocolate cake.
Actually, it is a sour cream chocolate cake, but the recipe title is also correct. This chocolate cake includes a cup of sourdough starter in the batter, which is awesome for those of us who keep sourdough starters for bread and are sometimes looking for ways to use up the cup of sourdough discard we end up with when feeding our bubbly little pets.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter, don’t worry, this cake can easily be made without one and it will still be an absolutely delicious chocolate sour cream cake. Instructions for doing this are in the recipe notes. If you would like to experiment with sourdough, here are my instructions for creating your own starter.
The great thing about this cake, other than the fact that it’s a great way to use sourdough starter discard, is that this cake is super easy to make. It’s a dump everything into one bowl and mix for three minutes kind of cake.
It’s also one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted– rich, moist, sweet, intense. And the chocolate cream cheese frosting? It’s easily my new favorite chocolate frosting recipe. Hands down. The frosting is simple to make, too.
While I’m sure this cake will be very good made with pretty much any brand of unsweetened natural cocoa powder, including the Hershey’s that I usually have in the pantry, I used some Scharffen Berger that Phil brought home from work and it really took the cake and frosting to the next level.
Although this isn’t a fancy layer cake, it is such a delicious recipe that I think it’s worth splurging on the best quality cocoa powder you can afford, especially if you’re making this for a gift or a special occasion.
I had planned on putting chopped walnuts on top of the cake but the last of my walnuts were pretty old and not tasting so great. Luckily I found some pecans in the freezer and they were the perfect addition. If you don’t like nuts on your chocolate cake, just leave them off. But please, please try the frosting.
This recipe was created after reading through several recipes, including the Sourdough Chocolate Cake from King Arthur Flour, and Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Two Peas and Their Pod. I made notes, adjusted ingredients according to what I had on hand and what sounded good to me, and came up with this, which will now be my go-to chocolate cake for every occasion that requires a chocolate cake.
My husband, who has been saying over and over “I don’t even like chocolate cake!” as he shoves another piece into his mouth, told me that this is a perfect cake.
- Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Maple Sourdough Cake
- Lemon Jello Cake with Tart Lemon Glaze
- Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Praline Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
Around the Web:
- German Chocolate Sheet Cake from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
- Texas Sheet Cake from My Baking Addiction
- Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Tea Peas and Their Pod
- Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Rich Coffee Icing from King Arthur Flour
- Sourdough Coffee Cake from House of Bakes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
- 1 cup sourdough starter*
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and stir to combine, breaking up any large lumps of cocoa powder.
- Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl using a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula to make sure all ingredients get incorporated.
- Pour batter into the greased cake pan (batter will seem thin, but this is okay) and bake on the center rack of preheated oven for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and/or the top of center of the cake springs back when touched lightly. It's best to start checking the cake a bit early.
- Let cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once completely cool spread the top of the cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and sprinkle with chopped pecans or walnuts if you like.
- If using the cream cheese frosting, store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator. If making the cake a day before serving, store the cake covered in the refrigerator but remove it an hour or two before serving as the flavor and texture are best at room temperature (although it's delicious straight out of the fridge as well). I think the cake tastes just as good if not better the next day so it's a great make-ahead cake.
*This can be made with starter straight from the fridge as long as it has been regularly fed and isn't too funky. If your starter has been neglected for a while, I would feed it once before using it in this recipe. I keep my starter at 100% hydration, if your starter is very stiff, add a bit of water to make it a batter-like consistency before measuring for this recipe.
To make this cake without sourdough starter, simply omit the starter, increase the flour to 2 cups and add 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (water or milk could be substituted for the buttermilk or yogurt if that's all you have on hand).
I used Diamond Crystal kosher salt when testing this recipe, if using table salt, please decrease the salt amount to 1/2 teaspoon. Plain yogurt (Greek-style or regular) may be substituted for sour cream.
Any light-flavored oil can be used in place of canola oil. This recipe has not been tested by me with melted unsalted butter or coconut oil. If you want to try using melted butter in place of the oil, make sure that it is unsalted.
- 2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder together into a bowl then set aside.
- Beat cream cheese and butter together with a hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment until light and creamy.
- On low speed gradually beat in the sugar and cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you go. Once it's all incorporated, increase the speed on your mixer to medium and beat for another minute.
- Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for a day or two (frosting will need to come to room temperature before frosting a cake)
If you decide to make the frosting ahead of time, you will need to let the frosting sit out and come to room temperature (then maybe give it another brief mixing to make it creamy and spreadable again) before frosting the cake.
Recipe can be doubled to frost a layer cake or two dozen cupcakes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
Don’t miss out on any recipes! Sign up to receive Pinch My Salt updates by email.