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Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe
Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Years ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you'll see why this velvety beauty won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES:16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1-1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 685 calories, 29 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 115 mg cholesterol, 505 mg sodium, 102 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 9-in. round baking pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Stir in water until blended.
  3. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, in a metal bowl over simmering water, melt butter and chocolates; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
  5. In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture; beat until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.
Originally published as Sandy's Chocolate Cake in Taste of Home February/March 1994, p15

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 685 calories, 29 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 115 mg cholesterol, 505 mg sodium, 102 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.

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Reviewed Jan. 26, 2015

"I'm a sucker for chocolate cake, but was surprised to see the hot water is added at the end of mixing the batter. I use Hershey's special dark cocoa and I always 'pre-disolve' the cocoa with hot, strong coffee. Then I add it to the batter, making for a super dark cake. The only change I made in this recipe was taking 1/3 cup water and replacing with hot coffee to dissolve my cocoa powder. Delicious cake!!"

Reviewed Jan. 17, 2015

"This is one the best if not the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted or made!!!! I always use a little extra chocolate in all my recipes plus I used pure Mexican vanilla in this recipe. Thanks for sharing, Sandy!!!"

Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

"I made this for Christmas and it was so, so, good!! Too much for my husband and I but we finished it 4 days later and pounds heavier!! Truly a wonderful cake! Thank you for the recipe. Oh, and the frosting was THE best ever!!!!"

Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

"Wow! Rich and moist and chocolate pow! I think this is the best scratch cake recipe I have tried yet. I am not a baker, so I steer clear of those recipes calling for cake flour and super careful measuring. The hot water part scared me a little but I followed the directions exactly and it was perfect. The amount of frosting is very generous, and my husband thought it was perfect even though it was a little too sweet for my taste. I will be making this again and again. Thanks for sharing this, I can see why it won a prize!"

Reviewed Dec. 23, 2014

"This is truly the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted. It's rich and creamy. I will be making it for Christmas Eve. I have no doubt it will be a hit. Thanks you for sharing."

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