Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups packed brown sugar
- 4 large 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
- 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.
1 slice: 685 calories, 29g fat (18g saturated fat), 115mg cholesterol, 505mg sodium, 102g carbohydrate (81g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein
Reviews for Sandy's Chocolate Cake
"This is absolutely the BEST chocolate cake I have ever had. It is totally worth the effort. Thank you so much for sharing!"
"Everyone in my family agreed this was the best cake they'd ever had. I made just a few adjustments. I added in a tsp each of espresso powder and cinnamon and I just made a simple ganache frosting because I was out of powdered sugar. Will make again and again!"
"Any idea on how many cups of batter this makes?"
"This is an amazingly moist cake. And the icing is the easiest icing I've ever worked with. I did sub the sour cream for cream cheese but it turned out phenomenal. Definitely the ultimate chocolate cake."
"I agree with others. This is THE perfect chocolate cake and my new go-to recipe for birthday and other special occasions. I've never had good luck with layer cakes but this one worked perfectly. First time I forgot to add water (love the idea of using coffee instead of water) but it still turned out fine. Second time the batter at the bottom of the bowl did not get mixed well and it STILL turned out okay. Each time I spread raspberry preserves between layers and on top prior to frosting. Love the silky smooth frosting. Then I made genache and poured it over the top--so rich and yummy. Can't wait to make another one!!!"
"I baked mine in a Bundt pan omitting the icing. It is the BEST chocolate cake recipe I've ever tried."
"WOW... what can I say. Pulled out my cake from the oven about 3 hours ago and there is nothing left... DELICIOUS.... I did do a slight change. Instead of plain boiling water I used fresh brewed coffee.... Got to go, making another one.... thanks."
"Hi just wondering if I can use buttermilk instead of sour cream in this receipe ?? Very keen to try this chocolate cake version"
"Came out perfectly . A very delicious chocolate cake , however not too happy with frosting and may put some cream cheese or something to it the next time."
"Perfect. Light and Fluffy"
"I made this cake in a 9x13 pan. It took about an hour to bake. This is such a good cake. I am not a big fan of frosting so I didn't frost it and it sure didn't need it. Good job!"
"Best simple chocolate cake ever...........easy and yummy......5 stars easily"
"The cake is great! One of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had. However, I am surprised how many good reviews there are on the frosting. I didn't like the taste of it. Others I served it to liked it, but I could taste the sour cream. I think a homemade buttercream would be delicious on this cake!"
"This cake and frosting are absolutely delicious! It tastes even more delicious the second day. I made cupcakes for a large birthday party. It makes 48 cupcakes. A"
"One of the best ever among choc cakes. But sandy or anyone please tell me what's the ingredient(s) in this recipe that makes it stand out from an average choc cake?"
"This is undoubtedly the absolute best chocolate cake and frosting I've ever tasted. I ended up having to add an additional cup or so of powdered sugar. I sifted the sugar before measuring and probably shouldn't have - it didn't say to. I was afraid it might be lumpy if I didn't. Sifting probably made it not fill the measuring cup as full when measuring. Sandy, I can see why you won the contest.When reading the recipe, it had a few things completely different from all the methods I've ever used and made me want to try it to see how it turned out. It is absolutely wonderful"
"The first time I baked this, I forgot to add the boiling water. I thought it would be really dry, but it was still surprisingly delicious! Currently have this recipe in the oven with the boiling water added. This consistency after adding the boiling water worried me. It seemed a little too liquidy than other cake recipes I have made. Is this normal?"
"I made this and it turned out delicious! It was easy to follow and I will be making this again. My family love it!"
"Best cake ever! Been making this one since 1985 (it's a Mable Hoffman recipe, first showed up in the Ladie's Home Journal that year). I also often will freeze the third layer, and tote the other two to whatever event needs a great chocolate cake."
"This was a yummy, moist cake. The frosting threw me a bit. I think I will use cream cheese in it next time. Overall, good, easy to follow recipe the turns outs beautifully"
"What is sour cream....?...can we adjust it with yoghurt"
"PeggyCamp16, baking cocoa is Cocoa Powder. It is unsweetened and in the baking section of the store.As with a few other reviews, I always substitute coffee for the water--it enhances the chocolate. You will not taste the coffee."
"Is the baking cocoa, for the cake, semi-sweet or unsweetened?Thank you! PJ"
"Beautiful, moist cake. It's my new go-to chocolate cake recipe when I don't want to make a flourless cake and I don't want to make one with a brownie/decadence density. One thing I do is add espresso powder, though. It's almost a knee-jerk reaction for me to find some way to add more flavor to a baked item that requires water than simply adding water. Substituting the water with hot coffee or just adding a teaspoon or so of espresso powder to the boiling water is a great way to accent the chocolate flavor. Wonderful recipe!"
"One of the best chocolate cake recipes I've ever followed!"
"Best chocolate cake ever. Moist delicious and looked beautiful... Will definitely be my go to cake..."
"So long chocolate store box cake. This cake was very moist!! I will definitely be making it again the the future. The frosting was a little sweet for us so I will just cut back on the confectioners sugar next time but a great recipe!!!!"
"I made this for my husband's birthday party since he requested chocolate cake, and everyone raved about it. There were 10 people at the party and we still had lots leftover, even though some guests had seconds and thirds! It tastes so much better after being refrigerated overnight. I highly recomend this recipe!Note: I used only semisweet chocolate since i didn't have unsweetened, and it still tasted wonderful - not too sweet."
"Followed recipe as written; the cake was moist and delicious. Would definitely make again. Only change I would make is to line bottom of pan with parchment or waxed paper to make it easier to remove from pan."
"Divine! This has become my go to chocolate cake recipe."
"Hands down the BEST chocolate cake we have ever made. My daughter and I made this as the centerpiece of our family holiday meal and it did not disappoint. The frosting is on the sweet side but it balances the cake. We made the cake with coffee instead of water and it was wonderful. First dessert to go on a well stocked dessert table :) This recipe is a keeper."
"One of the best. Everyone loved it."
"So decadent! I made this for my "Sweetheart" on his birthday. We had 17 guests. Everyone raved about how velvety smooth is was. My house smelled like chocolate for hours on end. I found it to be rich but not heavy. Amazing chocolate flavor."
"My cake turned out heavy and didn't rise. I loved the frosting but I obviously did something wrong as it was not fluffy, but more solid, like the texture of clay."
"This will be the only chocolate cake recipe I make from here on out!! So delicious AND beautiful!!!THANK YOU!!!"
"my family loved this Chocolate Cake. It is a very large cake so today I made it again and cut everything in half and put it in a 9 x 13 cake pan. It turned out just a great as the first time I make it. It is our family's new favorite cake. Thanks Sandy"
"Very moist and delicious , perfect chocolate cake recipe!"
"I made this cake the other day and passed out pieces to my friends. Now everybody wants the recipe. Excellent cake JUST THE WAY IT IS. No changes needed!!"
"I shared with family and friends. They said it was the best chocolate cake they had ever put in their mouths!! Will definitely make it again!"
"Made this cake for my husbands birthday...followed directions exactly as written and it turned out perfectly! I did not use the frosting, my husband requested a different kind (coconut), but I look forward to trying the frosting out in the future."
"This cake is wonderful! I followed the recipe exactly except I only made 2 round cakes instead of 3 and it was perfect!"
"Excellent, good for a crowd."
"I'm rating 5 stars because it's really delish, but I would not take mine anywhere because of how it looked. The layers rose in the oven but sunk in the middle as they cooled. And, no, nothing happened to make them fall. What could I have done wrong?I think I packed the brown sugar too firmly because it took forever to cream with the amount of butter and to me, never got the fluffy texture. So, would overbeating have done it?Thanks for your input.Thanks"
"This is the best chocolate cake I have ever baked. It has become my friends and family's favorite. I melt a bar of bittersweet chocolate and spread it each layer and then top it with the frosting. I gives it a slight crunch with a burst of chocolate. Yummy!!!"
"Amazing cake!!!! I made this cake for the first time and it is wonderful!! My husband and many of the individuals that we shared with stated that it was the best chocolate cake that they ever had. I totally agree and will make it many times again. It is one of our favorites. Also, I agree with other reviewers, each layer of cake is a nice size and there is plenty of icing to coat the whole cake nicely."
"Loved the consistency of the cake and the frosting was very easy to work.The cake is not as sweet as a typical cake due to the brown sugar, but rather, has a very rich, complex flavor and is wonderfully dense. If you have to bring a showstopper dessert to impress your friends, fire up the oven."
"Easy enough to make... and very professional and glamorous looking (a real showpiece!). I thought cake was a little "dry". Frosting was good, but I've made better with less expensive ingredients."
"I am a eleven year old girl I used your resipy to make cupkakes and I got first place. Thank you so much ^.^"
"Makes a very tall cake with perfect amount of frosting for between and over the cake, will make again!"
"This Cake was Amaazzzing!!..made it for a graduation party as cupcakes with a brown butter cream frosting and people could not stop raving about how good it was!! It's definitely a must try!!"
"Made this cake at Christmas when I saw it on the magazine, it was so amazing. Everyone loved it. Now I am making it again this week. Best Chocolate cake recipe ever."
"Frosting was good."
"I see that the cake is amazing but it say servers 16 i would like to make it for 10 , may be still smaller. How do i get the correct measure of ingredients. Please anyone, let me know"
"This dreamy, extremely rich chocolate dake is the bomb! Tasted like it was made by a professional cake baker, provided 12 good-sized tasty slices. Very rich, extremely smooth frosting. The brown sugar cake baked precisely and was a good foil for the extremely rich icing. I made this cake exactly as instructed. Is the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted."
"This cake wasn't great it was awesome. Totally delicious we kinda ran out of baking cocoa so we had to add chocolate chips. And we changed the brown sugar to 1 cup and 1/2 of cup of white sugar. Still went out great my parents said it was really moist thank you for creating this recipe. :)"
"This is a fabulous cake. It's almost as good as my go-to chocolate cake recipe."
"This is the first time I made a cake from scratch and it came out great. Made it for my grandsons birthday. Everybody loved it. I love how it's sweet but not overly sweet. The icing will now be the chocolate icing I will always make. Plan on making this recipe again real soon. Thanks Sandy!! I tasted why you came in 1st place."
"My five stars is for the frosting. WOW!!! I've never tasted better. I have the feeling that the cake is just as good, but because I live at high altitude and have no idea how to alter cake recipes to rise properly, I did not make the cake."
"Very moist, exactly what I was looking for."
"Love the chocolate lay flavor without being too sweet"
"I chose this recipe as my maiden voyage into the "from scratch" baking world. I received a mixer for Christmas and have been nervous about trying it out. I have never been much of a baker but at the age of 55 i decided to go for it. I made a big mess in the kitchen & ended up with dry cake mixture all over the place & myself, and despite trying to be careful I made the same big mess while mixing the frosting. Nonetheless, the cake turned out beautifully in spite of my inexperience. I had a ball, but must admit - it was a lot of work. Hubby said it was worth it,but he didn't do anything but eat it, LOL. Good recipe-particularly love the frosting."
"This really is the BEST chocolate cake! I'm throwing away all of my other chocolate cake recipes."
"The best chocolate cake I have ever had!!!! It was absolutely amazing!! I made this for my moms birthday cake and everyone loved it!! I wouldn't change anything about it! Thank you for such an amazing recipe!!!"
"Decadent. No need to say more."
"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!!"
"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!!!"
"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!!!!"
"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!"
"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."
"AMAZING CAKE!!!!!I just made this cake 2 days ago !My husband's coworkers loved this cake!!!I used 3 cups of cake flourI didn't have enough sour cream to prepare the frosting so I used half cup of sour cream and half cup of philadelphia cream cheese and it was DELICIOSO!!!!Thank you for such a good recipe!!!"
"Best chocolate cake recipe in a long time. Easy to make and a big WOW effect at the table :) I put some sour cherry jam between the layers. Goes great with the sweet chocolate. Thanks for sharing this recipe Sandra, I will make another one for Christmas eve :)"
"This is absolutely fabulous! It is very moist with a creamy chocolate frosting that is quite addicting. I used cake flour and it turned out great. This is a show stopper and special enough for a holiday dessert. Yum!"
"I consider myself a serious cake baker, and pride myself in knowing a great cake from just a good one. Great chocolate cake recipes are very hard to find. This is a great chocolate cake recipe. I made it with cake flour because I didn't have any AP flour. It turned out super, it was moist but not heavy , just light. The flavors were well rounded but not too sweet and the texture was super. I believe the brown sugar and the sour cream really set it apart from any other chocolate cake I ever made. This one was perfect. I didn't perfect the frosting but the cake is definitely a keeper ."
"This was on the cover and pg58 of the latest issue and I decided to try it for a formal dinner dance I was attending. I was pleased that I had all the ingredients and that the directions were very simple. It was easy to make and then when i put it together the next day it came together beautifully--best frosting. So yummy! It was so fancy when sliced and displayed and all my close friends were demanding slices as soon as they saw it. My dessert was the first to go and EVERYONE declared it to be one of the best chocolate cakes they had ever had. The balance of the sour cream with the sugar kept it from being overwhelmingly sweet and it was more old school in recipe without the white sugar and with the boiling water and sour cream. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet bakers chocolate. The frosting is plentiful and delicious. And for a garnish, I crushed up some chocolate chips and dusted the top. It was a massive hit. Everyone declared it to be so moist and to taste like it came from a bakery. Definitely an awesome cake. Will be making it again for Thanksgiving."
"this was really good. very easy to make. will need to make it again"
"This is my go to chocolate cake! I've made it many many times. For Birthdays I just make a buttercream frosting so I can make it fun colors. The only thing I ever alter is the type of frosting. LOVE LOVE LOVE!"
"Excellent. I reduced the recipe in size so I only made one layer with no frosting so I could test it. I live at a high altitude (4600 ft). I wouldn't make this cake without adjusting for altitude as it is so tender that it would cave in if it weren't adjusted. I removed a 1/4 of the butter and 1/4 of the sugar. It turned out great. Other than that, it is very tasty. It will be my "go to" chocolate cake recipe.Oh, I'm not a fan of sour cream. I used the sour cream in the cake with very good results--but I didn't use the frosting recipe though, as I didn't think I'd like it. Instead I used a cocoa buttercream frosting from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. I put whipped cream in the frosting instead of the milk and then whipped it. Very fluffy."
"I made cupcakes, first the cake boss (all without frosting) and then sandy's. I had my daughters and husband taste both, sandy's won! I didn't even have to put frosting on them. I like to make cakes for people on the side, now sandy's recipe will be my chocolate cake recipe in my cake book"
"This cake was delicious. It was so beautiful the frosting was sweet and creamy. It is a great recipe."
"I have made this cake several times! It works great for cupcakes too. I even won a couple of work Bake-off competitions. This one is definitely a keeper."
"I have made this recipe for my two daughters birthdays since 1993. They request it every time and it is now known as THE birthday cake in our family!"
"Best Chocolate cake I've ever had, My family raved about it and said they want it for every birthday."
"I made this for the first time for Thanksgiving. It came out perfectly just like the picture, but because I was taking it to my sis in law for dinner I iced two layers and kept one home for my family and boy am I glad I did. My in-laws devoured it and gave it very high scores. I will definitely make this again, again, and again...it is a must for the holidays. Thank you Sandy...thank you!"
"My favorite cake ever!!!!"
"My favorite cake ever!!!!!"
"First time I have written a review and I have tried ALOT of recipes for chocolate cake online. Husband is a chocoholic and complains I haven't made a really great chocolate cake..much to my bruised ego... but this recipe is fabulous made exactly as written here. Light and moist and looks great as well. Perfect chocolate flavor. Thanks Sandy!"
"This is one of the best chocolate cake I have even make. It is fool proof. I use if for everything. You can never go wrong with this one. Thanks for the great recipe"
"We all enjoyed this cake. I did the math and made it a two layer cake for our small family. Worked just fine."
"I have made this recipe many times and ALWAYS get great reviews..very moist and flavorful. Thanks for sharing."
"Wonderfully moist and delicious chocolate cake. I reduced the 10X sugar to 41/4 cups and the icing had just the right sweetness."
"I made this for a teacher's birthday. Everyone, including the 1st graders, loved it! It's a very easy recipe to follow and turns out just like the picture."
"The “frosting was awful“, way to sweet; in fact my husband and I had to “eat around it”. I will keep the cake recipe, it’s “very moist”, the frostings got to go.Tamara CarrPinole CA"
"The best chocolate cake I've ever made. I made this for our family of 8 on Valentine's Day 1996, and we shared it with friends who are still talking about it. It's easy to make and well-worth the effort."
"So yummy...cut small slices because it's rich."
"I made this cake and it was such a big hit, I have had to make it several times over for friends. This is the best chocolate cake I have had, it is so moist and good that beware it WILL get you into trouble. My boss says this is the best chocolate cake she has ever tasted as well. Thanks for sharing"
"I made this cake the other night. Takes a little time but the results are fabulous! The finished product taste kinda like a fudge brownie! Yummy!"
"Delicious and very moist cake. I usually don't risk trying out a new recipe for company, but since it won a contest over 59 other cakes, I made it and took it to a party and everyone loved it!"
"Outstanding! I made this cake for my husband's birthday and it was a huge hit. We love very nice restaurants and this reminded us of a dessert there. Just add a dallop of real whipped cream and you have an elegant dessert. Cut the pieces thin because it is rich. This is a new family favorite. Deena"
"very good cake"