Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

DessertValentine's DayBakingChocolate Cake

This easy chocolate sour cream cake is made with sour cream, cocoa powder, and hot coffee. It's the perfect balance of decadence and simplicity! Don't forget the chocolate frosting...

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

Cake is a favorite among birthday celebrations, but there is no need to relegate it to a yearly treat.

This Chocolate Sour Cream Cake is tender, soft, and rich with chocolate flavor!

The Secret Ingredient

The secret ingredient is coffee! Coffee is to chocolate what vanilla is to custard. It provides richness and depth, intensifying the best qualities of chocolate without overpowering it.

If you don’t like coffee don’t worry. You can’t detect the taste of coffee in this cake–only chocolate.

And if you don’t do caffeine don’t worry. You can easily replace regular coffee with decaffeinated.

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream and Coffee - slicing the cake

The Best Pan Size

This Chocolate Sour Cream Cake is intended for a 9×13 cake pan, but you can just as easily bake it in two rounds and layer it or in muffin tins for cupcakes. It will make your mouth happy, anyway you shape it.

Round cakes and cupcakes won’t need to bake as long as a 9×13. Start checking the centers with toothpicks after 20 minutes for cupcakes, and 30 minutes for rounds. They are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The Best Frosting

The frosting choice is up to you, but these two are favorites. Try this Extra-Rich Chocolate Frosting for double-dose of chocolate. Or if you prefer a study in contrast and want white frosting, this cream cheese frosting is simple to make and always a hit.

Just make sure the cake is completely cool before you frost it.

Chocolate Cake with Coffee - single slice on plate

Make the Cake Ahead of Time

You can make the cake a day in advance: bake it, cool it, frost it, cover it with plastic wrap or tinfoil and keep it in the fridge. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before you want to serve it.

Cakes like this should always be served at room temperature.

How to Freeze this Cake

Wrap the unfrosted cake in plastic wrap at least twice, and then in aluminum foil. Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw, frost and serve.

MORE GREAT CAKES TO SLICE AND SHARE

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: one 9x13 cake (10 to 12 servings)

Be sure to let the cake cool completely before spreading the top with frosting.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (250g)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (360 g)
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (70 g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong piping hot coffee
  • 1 batch chocolate or cream cheese frosting

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter and flour a 9x13 cake pan.  Set aside.

2 Sift the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the kosher salt.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Fudge Frosting - sifting the flour

3 Whisk the wet ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, canola oil and vanilla extract until it looks homogenous and creamy.

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream - mixing the wet ingredients

4 Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir together with a stiff spatula. The batter will be thick like frosting.

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream Added - making the batter Chocolate and Sour Cream Cake - batter almost mixed

5 Add the coffee: Pour in the piping hot coffee. The batter will look like mud pies in a muddy lake. Keep stirring until all the liquid is incorporated and it is a homogenized cake batter.

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream and Coffee - add the coffee to the batter Chocolate Cake with Coffee - begin mixing the coffee in Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Fudge Frosting - batter mixed!

6 Bake the cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream - Pouring the batter in the pan Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream Added - testing the cake for doneness

7 Cool the cake: Take the cake out of the oven and set it on a baking rack to cool. After about 30 minutes spread the frosting on top.

Cut and serve the cake straight from the pan like it’s 1983 and you’re rockin’ your favorite knee-high tube socks with the yellow stripe. Aw, yeah!

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream - baked cake cooling Chocolate and Sour Cream Cake - topping with frosting Chocolate Cake with Coffee - spreading the frosting on top

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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72 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSour Cream Chocolate Cake

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sharon sheppard

    Moist and not overly sweet I topped it with the sour cream frosting

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Phoebemama

    Great tasting cake! Flavorful, fluffy, spongy. Easy to make!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. JIWA

    Well, came looking for a sour cream chocolate cake recipe and this came up in my search. Looks really good. I am reduced to a toaster oven, so halved the recipe. Used2 heaping teaspoons of expresso powder mixed in with the dry ingredients and a cup of milk in place of the cup of hot coffee. Nancy’s sour cream. Regular dutched process cocoa powder. Also melted butter instead of oil, as I don’t like oil cakes. Topped it with coconut walnut (didn’t have pecans) frosting. Really wanted German’s chocolate cake or a variation. This cake is light, moist with an excellent crumb.. Thank you so much for the recipe! It was an excellent jumping off point for me for ratios. So good….

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Barbara

    Darned good cake. Only tweak was to increase cocoa powder to 1 cup. Used the cream cheese frosting and topped it off with a bit of chocolate sprinkles. Gonna give away a good chunk of the cake so I don’t eat it all!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Debbie

    The best! I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. Very moist and the kind of 9×13 chocolate cake I remember from the early 1960’s.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
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