Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

I’m not quite sure how this chocolate sour cream cake got made. My Mom had asked if I’d be willing to make a birthday cake for my sister for us all to enjoy while my family was in town last week. I gladly agreed, though I wasn’t sure how I’d manage it with my darling, but demanding, two month old.

The secret to my success probably lies in the fact that this is actually a simple layer cake to make. Neither the cake or the icing require a stand mixer and both are a cinch to put together. Intrigued? You should be.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

This is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. It’s got all the great qualities of a boxed cake mix, but without all of the chemicals and processing. It’s light, moist, and very tender. Most importantly, it’s deeply chocolaty. And every girl deserves an ultra chocolate cake for her birthday.

Would you believe that there is no butter in this icing? Made mostly of melted chocolate and sour cream, it is the silkiest icing I’ve ever used. It glides onto the cake like a dream, I had the whole thing frosted in a matter of minutes. And look how pretty it is! If layer cakes intimidate you, you need to make this cake. You’ll be so glad you did.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Chocolate sour cream cake with chocolate sour cream icing. Bakers of all levels can bake it. And chocolate lovers will absolutely love it.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
Incredibly rich and moist chocolate cake. The secret ingredient in both the cake and the icing is sour cream!
Yield: One 2-layer 9-inch cake
For the cake:
  • 1¼ cup (295 milliliters) hot coffee
  • 1 cup (110 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ cup (330 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon (5 grams) salt
  • 2½ teaspoon (11 grams) baking soda
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups (282 grams) sour cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (267 milliliters) vegetable oil
For the icing:
  • 15 ounces (425 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1¼ teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
  • 2 cups (450 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • ¼-1/2 cup (59-118 milliliters) light corn syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder until no lumps remain. Set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together until smooth and pale yellow in color. Stir in the sour cream, followed by the vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir until combined. Stir in the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and instant espresso (if using) in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla extract, and corn syrup. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Taste for flavor and add additional corn syrup a tablespoon at a time to reach the desired sweetness. ¼ cup was just the right amount for me. The icing will have a thin consistency. Refrigerating it for about 10-15 minutes will help it firm up a bit.
  6. To frost the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate and cover the top with about ⅔ cup of the icing. Place the other cake layer on top and frost the entire cake. Store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve, along with any leftovers.

You may also like these posts:

Keep in touch! Subscribe to Completely Delicious and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

This page contains affiliate links, which provide me a small percentage of all purchases made through them.


52 Responses to Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

  1. Spencer says:

    Looks absolutely delicious! I would so love to try some. I reckon I would polish the lot off in 5 minutes flat!

    • Sarah says:

      Your cake looks great, I’m planning on making it tomorrow for my husbands birthday. I’m from Australia, we don’t use corn syrup here, what could I use instead. We have Golden Syrup which has the consistency of honey, but made from sugar cane, do you think that will do.

  2. Priya says:

    Incredible cake, simply makes me drool..

  3. Looks very glossy and smooth. ‘Pweety ‘pweety I say. Thanks for posting

  4. You forgot to mention how beautiful this cake is. Your sister is one lucky gal, it’s stunning, Annalise. I love a good chocolate cake and this looks like it would be the perfect accompaniment to a cold glass of milk and a good gossip magazine!

  5. Oh man, this post is reminding me that I haven’t had chocolate cake in ages!

  6. Deborah says:

    I’m always on the lookout for a good chocolate cake recipe – I have to try this one. It sure looks gorgeous!

  7. Jenelle says:

    I made this cake yesterday and took it into work for a friend’s birthday. It is ridiculous how delicious this cake is! It is by far the best cake I have ever made… and I make a lot of cake. {I love cake}. It is heavenly and chocolately… are those the same thing? Plus it is super easy to make and I already had all the ingredients.

    Thank you for this recipe! I am making a small cake for my wedding to cut at the reception (we are having a cupcake tower for the main event). I will be using your recipe!

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks so much for coming back to tell me how much you like this cake. You made my day!

      • doha says:

        I absolutely loveee this cake, but my mum hates chocolate. Any way to swap the cocoa power and coffee out of this to make it more of a vanilla cake?

        Thanks heaps xx

      • Annalise says:

        If you’re looking for something other than chocolate, I’ve got a lot in my archives! Just search the recipe index.

  8. Alison Lewis says:

    wow so fabulous! Can’t wait to see you next week!

  9. kaykay says:

    I haven’t made this yet but I want to. Can you taste the coffee in it? Bad as I hate to say it the taste of coffee just turning my tummy and makes me sick as a dog. What could be substituted for the coffee?

    • Annalise says:

      You absolutely can’t taste the coffee, it just helps to bring out the chocolate flavor. I hope you’ll try it with the coffee, but water could be substituted.

  10. Abigail says:

    Can u tell me how much of the ingredients in the frosting and the cake?
    I want to make it as quick as possible…

  11. Abigail says:

    Wait… Never mind….. Thanks soooo much!!! Ur awesome!

  12. Barbara says:

    I made this cake and it’s simply wonderful. I also made a modified version for a Super Bowl party, using a 13 x 9 pan with a cream cheese frosting. Everyone raved about it…very moist and delicious.

  13. Lucille says:

    “Chocolate Sour Cream Cake | Completely Delicious” was
    in fact a good post and I personally was in fact very
    content to discover it. Thanks for the post,Jenifer

  14. Ria says:

    Did you double your recipe with your cake coz mine was way too thin compared to yours. Thanks.

  15. Emily says:

    This cake was delicious! Moist, fluffy, and chocolaty. I’ve never made a cake from scratch, and it was surprisingly easy. I made it with the peanut butter cream frosting, and it was enjoyed by all!

  16. zabliznacite says:

    Very delicios cake! We are just enjoying it for my birthday 🙂
    Do you think baking powder can be used in place of the baking soda I did not dare to try…

  17. Danielle says:

    Usually frosting that is NOT cream cheese based is just glops of sugary Crisco, and is utterly oily disgusting. I always wipe it off. How does the sour cream frosting compare to cream cheese frosting?

    • Annalise says:

      Well, it’s definitely not cream cheese buttercream and isn’t at all like your typical buttercream since there’s not sugar in the recipe. It’s super chocolaty and the sour cream gives it a smooth texture and tangy flavor. I absolutely love it. Give it a try!

  18. Leslie says:

    I’m not usually a chocolate cake fan, but since finding this recipe almost 2 months ago, I’ve made this cake 6 times…everyone just loves it!!

  19. Cor says:

    Love the softness of the cake ! But I wish it could be more chocolatey

    Thank you very much for Sharing the recipe

  20. Geraldine says:

    Your cake and the photo are all wonderful! Beautifully presented.

    I’m going to make this cake as cupcakes. I like the addition of the coffee but I will definitely be cutting back on the sugar. I don’t like oversweet desserts of any kind, including cakes. Other than that, sounds yummy! ;<)

  21. kelis says:

    Has anyone made this in a bundt pan as a pound cake? I am curious as to how that would turn out.

    • Annalise says:

      Yes! This recipe is originally a bundt cake recipe, and I just adapted it to be a layer cake. It is fabulous either way! To make as a bundt, follow recipe exactly and bake in 1 bundt pan instead of 2 cake pans. Drizzle the icing on top. Enjoy!

  22. Beverly says:

    Baked this yesterday and have eaten 3 pieces already !!
    Absolutely my new chocolate cake recipe for all occasions…so chocolaty with the coffee making it the richest most delicious cake I have ever made. Thank You for sharing this one, didn’t try the frosting yet but will next time…hubby wanted a vanilla frosting this time.

  23. Cristina says:

    What should be the percentage of fat of sour cream?

    • Annalise says:

      I always use full-fat dairy products in my baking for optimal flavor. You may be able to use low-fat and be okay, but since I’ve never tried it I couldn’t say for sure.

  24. thom says:

    …dry, and the icing became a war between the semi-sweet chocolate, and the sour cream…thanks for posting the recipe though….good thing we all have our own taste…..wont make it again….

  25. Christine says:

    Definitely NOT dry.
    This is the first cake I’ve ever made from scratch.
    It was a little bitter/not sweet…I may have added extra cocoa powder because I’m a chocolate junkie.
    The texture and moisture were perfect.I did have to cook longer thanrecommended by about 7 minutes.
    Thanks so much!

  26. Vickie says:

    I made this cake today and there was too much batter for 8 inch pans.

  27. Mary Baker says:

    We are a gluten and egg free household, so I tried Tom Sawyer’s gluten free flour in place of regular flour and ener-g egg replacer instead of the eggs. Also used coconut oil in place of veg oil and it turned out terrific. I also added chopped walnuts. So yummy! Makes great cupcakes too. 1/2 the recipe will make about 12-14 cupcakes. Thanks!!

  28. Melissa Parsons says:

    Cake and frosting were delicious! Very rich, chocolate cake with velvety, smooth chocolate frosting. My new favorite chocolate cake. I’m going to try to adapt recipe to make a vanilla cake (hold the chocolate…) Thanks! I appreciate you sharing!

  29. Christine says:

    I’ve made this cake 10 times, and while I’ve always overdone the cocoa powder I learned to add more sugar.It’s prefect every time.tonight I baked cupcakes for all my September birthday students. They’ll love em.

  30. JT says:

    Hi, this recipe looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it. I was just wondering…the “velvety, silky smooth” frosting sounds glorious, but is it stiff enough to pipe? If I was to use it on cupcakes for example, or wanted to pipe a more elaborate border with it? Thanks for your help!

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Jennifer! The frosting actually needs to be firmed up in the fridge before it can be used at all. So just chill it as long as necessary to get the consistency you’d like. If you go with cupcakes, I would store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, particularly if your home/kitchen is warm. But in general I have never had an issue with piping this frosting. It holds up beautifully!

  31. Beth says:

    Made this cake for my daughter’s 21st birthday party. Everyone raved about it. Tonight I am making it for my son’s birthday. 🙂

  32. Jenny says:

    Is there any substitute for cornsyrup or do you mind sharing the reciepe of corn syrup? Thank you

  33. Candi says:

    Can u use cake flour for this recipe? I have made your southern coconut cake and it was great!!

  34. Kylie says:

    This is my absolutely favourite chocolate cake recipe now…. I find it hard to even contemplate using anything else. I have used it for kid’s cakes, cupcakes (especially delicious with salted caramel buttercream) and wedding cakes…..
    Although not surprised given every one of your recipes I have tried from the site has been completely delicious!

  35. Kari says:

    This was my first cake from scratch! I made it for my son’s 3rd birthday party today, and it turned out SO GOOD!!! Lots of compliments! Thank you!!!

  36. Jay says:


    Could you please let me know which cake tastes better in your opinion. This or the chocolate coffee cake?

    Many thanks,

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Jay! It’s all a matter of personal preference. The cake layers themselves are pretty much the same, so it comes down to whether you want a coffee flavored frosting or a chocolate frosting. I love both!

  37. Tammy says:

    Question: the cake recipe calls for hot coffee…what if I just use hot water? would that be alright? I don’t know how to make coffee…I’m not a coffee drinker…

    • Annalise says:

      Yes, that will be fine. The coffee is there to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, not give the cake a coffee flavor. You could always pick up a cup of black coffee from your local coffee shop. However, you can also just choose to leave it out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *