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Sandy’s Chocolate Cake

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 was named the best chocolate cake recipe won first prize. —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 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 sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 9-in. round baking pans.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 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.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a metal bowl over simmering water, melt butter and chocolates; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 685 calories, 29g fat (18g saturated fat), 115mg cholesterol, 505mg sodium, 102g carbohydrate (81g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • 5717rees
    Sep 28, 2020

    Cathy is it possible whatever device you viewed the frosting is not functioning correctly? I can see the entire list of ingredients as well as the Technique in the preparation. It’s a great cake having made it previously for my church choir party.

  • Debra
    Sep 3, 2020

    This message is for the lady who's family does not like mayo or some of the other ingredients, and is worried how the sour cream looked in the finished cake. You will in no way taste those ingredients in the finished cake, they are used for volume, moisture and texture, this cake should taste wonderful. This recipe is quite similar to how a red velvet cake would be made. I have an award winning chocolate cake recipe from good housekeeping magazine, that used vinegar for the rising agent and you would never in a million years believe that the cakes is made with vinegar! Try the recipe, your family will love this cake.

  • Cathy
    Sep 2, 2020

    The ingredient list for frosting was incomplete. Can't make it until I have the rest of the stuff.

  • patsyrbernard
    Jul 29, 2020

    This is one of my favorite chocolate cakes and really easy to make

  • Cooki
    Jul 19, 2020

    Can't rate until I make. How many cups of cake mix per pan also how many cups of frosting for sides & top & decorating bag & what size decorating tip for swirling the frosting. You made a number of times so you should be able to give the information.

  • Mariam
    Jun 13, 2020

    This is my 4th year in a row baking this cake. It is outstanding!!! Don’t forget to add boiling water or boiling coffee as your last step to making the batter. It’s easy to read past it in the directions. This is my favorite chocolate cake and my husband loves having it every year on his birthday... also his favorite!

  • Cheryl
    May 30, 2020

    I made this and took it to a party, and everybody seemed to like it. I have not tried it nor has my family because none of us like mayo, cream cheese or sour cream. I have made a chocolate cream cheese frosting that I was able to eat, but I was unsure of the sour cream in this recipe. Can anybody tell me how noticeable it is? Otherwise the cake looks just delicious.

  • Denise
    May 28, 2020

    This is my new go to chocolate cake. It is just right. It’s kind of a milk chocolate flavor, not a deep devils food chocolate. Just a regular chocolate cake, but excellent flavor and moistness.

  • Refilwe
    May 7, 2020

    Wow I would love to try this cake- please post the ingredients in metrics measurements do I can bake this beauty !! Tia

  • Faaterehau
    Apr 20, 2020

    So scrumptious!!!! Just what you expect from a chocolate cake! Will make it again!!!