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

Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe

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For a cake contest, I held this velvety cake on my lap during a 4-1/2 hour drive, but it paid off. You’ll love this prize-winning beauty. —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 McCormick® Pure 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 McCormick® Pure 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 Nov. 21, 2014

"Perfect recipe!"

Reviewed Nov. 18, 2014

"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 ."

Reviewed Nov. 16, 2014

"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."

Reviewed Sep. 20, 2014

"this was really good. very easy to make. will need to make it again"

Reviewed Jul. 5, 2014

"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!"

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