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Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream

This luscious chocolate layer cake gets wonderful moistness from sour cream. Its irresistible topping and marvelous from-scratch goodness make it a classic! I keep the recipe handy for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-16 servings


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, water sour cream, shortening, vanilla and eggs; mix well. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder; gradually add to chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed just until moistened. Beat on high for 3 minutes.
  • Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, combine frosting ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread between layers and over top and side of cake. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 477 calories, 15g fat (8g saturated fat), 55mg cholesterol, 356mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate (67g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Lou
    Nov 28, 2018

    Absolutely wonderful recipe! Not sure I understand folks rating a recipe poorly when it’s their ability to follow the recipe at fault. Never get that! This cake is moist and has wonderful texture and taste.

  • Hudady
    Jan 1, 2016

    I made it for Christmas dinner and it was a hit! My seven year old daughter loves it and just requested it for her next birthday!

  • JenandBry
    Jan 19, 2015

    This cake turns out beautifully and was a great hit with my family. I followed the instructions to the letter. Rich & smooth flavor. Wonderful presentation!

  • MommyJJ92
    Nov 19, 2014

    I don't know how this tastes yet, but I had big clumps of chocolate in my batter. I think that if I try this again (a big if) I might mix the chocolate with just 1 other ingredient before combining all the liquids.

  • avassalo
    Jul 13, 2014

    Made this for a work potluck- it was a huge hit! I accidentally cooked the cake for too long so it ended up just a little dry, however it still tasted great. I will definitely make this again!

  • Hane52
    May 26, 2013

    This is my all-time favorite go-to chocolate cake recipe. I first found it on the back of a Gold Medal flour bag years ago.To the reviewer who mentioned getting clumps of chocolate in the batter and the frosting: After melting the chocolate at a low heat and stirring it to make sure it's smooth, add it to the rest of the mixture as quickly as possible and beat it in at once very thoroughly. I've had those clumps form when I've let the chocolate cool too much--but don't add it when it's too warm, either. It can be tricky.To the reviewer who found the cake a little dry: Try baking it for a shorter time. When you test it with a toothpick, a few crumbs might adhere to the pick. Take it out of the oven to cool--the cake will continue baking even though it's out of the oven during the 10 min. cooling time.

  • 2124arizona
    May 15, 2012

    This cake is sooo moist and chocolaty! I took it to work and coworkers said the cake was so good that it ought to be a sin to to indulge in it.:)

  • amypantzer
    Oct 1, 2011

    This is my all-time favorite chocolate cake. It's very moist and quite rich.

  • Sharon Lynn
    Mar 31, 2010

    I've made this several times for family and friends and they all rave about it and want the recipe. It is now my husbands favorite

  • ruckyroses
    Jan 6, 2009

    This cake was good, but why doesthe chocolate end up in small chunks that didn't even bake out? Same with the frosting...what am I doing wrong?