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Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe

Sandy's Chocolate Cake Recipe

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 YIELD:16 servings


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

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

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Amber User ID: 9226738 269870
Reviewed Jul. 23, 2017

"This cake turned out great! Really moist and fudgy. I did take others suggestions and use coffee instead of the water. I can't rate the frosting though. Some people said it tasted strange and I couldn't risk my picky eaters' b-day cake tasting weird..."

Sherin User ID: 9220258 269548
Reviewed Jul. 16, 2017

"Perfect chocolate cake recipe. I used half of all ingredients and used a bundt pan. It looked beautiful garnished with ganache and strawbwrries."

buttermilk maid User ID: 2350303 269542
Reviewed Jul. 16, 2017

"Great cake from a great cook, my friend Sandy!"

mindysmama User ID: 6929696 269538
Reviewed Jul. 16, 2017

"ronnir1 I use a 9X13 pan all the time to bake my cakes and I always use 350. Hope this helps"

ronnir1 User ID: 1166986 269526
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"What temp and time would you use for 9x11 cake or is it 9x13? Sounds great"

Ronda User ID: 8630894 269525
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"Coffee seems to enhance the taste of chocolate so I tried this cake with some espresso and OMFG it makes this cake as if it was made from one of those best high dollar bakeries you always want to try but could never afford! LOL I did tweak it a little hear and there in a few other places as well to make it mine. Used Irish butter because after all I am Irish. An Irish woman married to a Mexican. Believe me, I am paying for it in spades. My daughter is giving me fits by way of showing me her temper at times --- who would have thought a half Mexican half Irish kid would have had much of a temper *coughcough* but she absolutely loves this cake too!"

mugsymom2010 User ID: 8296594 269522
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"This recipe is like the Hershey chocolate cake recipe except for sour cream. I've made the Hershey numerous times and it's wonderful so I'm sure this one is too"

KookieB User ID: 8859340 269519
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"Now this is what chocolate cake is all about! Rich & Oh soooo decadent. One of the best recipes ever and not too difficult. Thanks for sharing, Sandy!"

Corneilius User ID: 7635585 269518
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"I have tried a lot of chocolate cake recipes and this one is by far the best. It also makes quite a bit of cake. This is the only recipe I use for chocolate cake."

Terryebeatty User ID: 285619 269509
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2017

"Taste great my family lived ut"

CakenGifts User ID: 9166983 269253
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2017

"What a lovely cake!!! Definitely it can be the best gift on my friend's birthday, which is helding on next tomorrow.

I saw such cakes on other site :"

elrollinero User ID: 8803875 268029
Reviewed Jun. 16, 2017

"I just wonder why so much sugar? it is a little too much from my point of view."

Kristine User ID: 9163416 267467
Reviewed May. 30, 2017

"cake is dense with deep rich flavor. Icing is complex. Together it's a little too rich. Next time I'm going to make it with butter cream frosting. This cake shows pretty and serves 16-20 easilt."

alex User ID: 9168135 265952
Reviewed May. 14, 2017

"I made a version of this cake for mothers day. It is truly one of the best cakes we have ever had, all while being easy to make. Thank you for this recipe!"

HomeChefColleen User ID: 7305751 265810
Reviewed May. 10, 2017

"Unbelievable! Super moist and full of flavour! Love it!"

2124arizona User ID: 845443 265630
Reviewed May. 7, 2017

"This cake is amazing. It doesn't last long around this house!!!"

kramerstacey15 User ID: 5709757 263829
Reviewed Mar. 24, 2017

"easy to make. Tasty. I halved the recipe and made 18 cupcakes. Baked for about 22 minutes. They were a little too full. Next time I will make a few more so they don't overflow."

Victor User ID: 9112712 263599
Reviewed Mar. 18, 2017

"Excellent cake. I use cake flour and substitute hot black coffee for the hot water. I have tried other substitutions but they do not improve the cake. This is a very rich cake because of the sour cream, so a small piece of cake is very filling. To keep the cake tender, go easy on the mixing and get the cake in the oven as soon as the mixing is complete."

EsterP User ID: 7970995 260129
Reviewed Jan. 23, 2017

"Made this cake this weekend, wonderful. It is not a fluffy cake but a moist fudge texture . I was hoping for a much richer chocolate flavor. The frosting goes on smooth and make the frosting cake look nice. I will definitly make this again but next time I will add expresso powder to the cake."

mjlouk User ID: 1712085 258668
Reviewed Dec. 26, 2016

"5 stars doesn't cover it! This was the most amazing cake. This was the first time I made a cake from scratch. My daughter requested it for Christmas. So moist and fudgy. You will not be disappointed!"

ebohuch User ID: 8820941 257030
Reviewed Nov. 20, 2016

"Just made the cake for a birthday in a Darth Vader shaped cake pan and it came out beautifully and made a dozen cupcakes with the leftover batter. It's very moist and was such a hit. This recipe is definitely a keeper!"

christine8520 User ID: 7365522 256224
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2016

"Looks very similar to the one on the Hershey Cocoa Powder can. My mom make it all the time. I am looking forward to see how this recipe compares."

Shar2621 User ID: 7422232 253286
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2016

"Best cake I have ever made."

kpauling User ID: 8896493 250639
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2016

"This is absolutely the BEST chocolate cake I have ever had. It is totally worth the effort. Thank you so much for sharing!"

pope7446 User ID: 8894000 250453
Reviewed Jul. 14, 2016

"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!"

cacharles3 User ID: 8891855 250285
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2016

"Any idea on how many cups of batter this makes?"

smile_e2003 User ID: 7111430 249901
Reviewed Jun. 29, 2016

"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."

toolbarsco User ID: 6725667 249220
Reviewed Jun. 8, 2016

"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!!!"

AnninMS User ID: 2021686 248996
Reviewed Jun. 3, 2016

"I baked mine in a Bundt pan omitting the icing. It is the BEST chocolate cake recipe I've ever tried."

melel1717 User ID: 8768688 246482
Reviewed Apr. 2, 2016

"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."

Mohimabegum User ID: 8821988 246404
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2016

"Hi just wondering if I can use buttermilk instead of sour cream in this receipe ?? Very keen to try this chocolate cake version"

manjitkaur User ID: 8275007 245417
Reviewed Mar. 14, 2016

"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."

DanielaEch890 User ID: 8797939 245134
Reviewed Mar. 8, 2016

"Perfect. Light and Fluffy"

Sclawson1975 User ID: 8315472 244996
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2016

"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!"

badjrsgord User ID: 7743929 244739
Reviewed Mar. 1, 2016

"Best simple chocolate cake ever...........easy and yummy......5 stars easily"

SallyPepper1234 User ID: 8785517 244540
Reviewed Feb. 26, 2016

"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!"

Jolena User ID: 87898 243449
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2016

"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"

yorkie16 User ID: 8692725 243344
Reviewed Feb. 6, 2016

"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?"

annsews74 User ID: 7476984 243330
Reviewed Feb. 6, 2016

"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"

Bwarren2009 User ID: 8761576 243274
Reviewed Feb. 5, 2016

"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?"

Cherry658 User ID: 7725141 243041
Reviewed Feb. 2, 2016

"I made this and it turned out delicious! It was easy to follow and I will be making this again. My family love it!"

BunrattyBaker User ID: 8050951 242811
Reviewed Jan. 29, 2016

"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."

vballchick87 User ID: 5221949 242714
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2016

"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"

leenanaik User ID: 8342033 242659
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2016

"What is sour cream....?...can we adjust it with yoghurt"

[email protected] User ID: 3287370 242645
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2016

"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."

PeggyCamp16 User ID: 8633880 242618
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2016

"Is the baking cocoa, for the cake, semi-sweet or unsweetened?

Thank you! PJ"

Magiccook157 User ID: 6046460 242596
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2016 Edited Mar. 5, 2016

"I made this cake for a potluck luncheon. I put a layer of vanilla cream pudding between the layers. It was a big hit at the potluck! This cake is very rich and dense."

MizOtis User ID: 7344112 242595
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2016

"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!"

VeraAzar User ID: 8265264 242074
Reviewed Jan. 19, 2016

"One of the best chocolate cake recipes I've ever followed!"

Lort320 User ID: 8583662 242003
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2016

"Best chocolate cake ever. Moist delicious and looked beautiful... Will definitely be my go to cake..."

NJ_mommy_1 User ID: 3034114 239735
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2015

"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!!!!"

Jayaina User ID: 8664893 239522
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2015

"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."

Laurelsinthekitchen User ID: 8250122 239394
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2015

"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."

robbrd User ID: 1292786 238638
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2015

"Divine! This has become my go to chocolate cake recipe."

tracyrburton User ID: 8638936 238211
Reviewed Nov. 27, 2015

"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."

[email protected] User ID: 934660 237654
Reviewed Nov. 19, 2015

"One of the best. Everyone loved it."

ReneeMurby User ID: 7119369 237493
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2015

"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."

bearrib1 User ID: 6708780 236951
Reviewed Nov. 8, 2015

"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."

Moemoe67 User ID: 7639077 236003
Reviewed Oct. 30, 2015

"This will be the only chocolate cake recipe I make from here on out!! So delicious AND beautiful!!!


judyjaa User ID: 8413519 234312
Reviewed Oct. 10, 2015

"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"

Trixismomcats User ID: 8145911 234130
Reviewed Oct. 6, 2015

"Very moist and delicious , perfect chocolate cake recipe!"

Pnpbec User ID: 4187511 234017
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2015

"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!!"

MY REVIEW User ID: 8345310 233872
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2015

"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!"

madismom77 User ID: 8553170 233756
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2015

"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."

pgoedl User ID: 7812172 233641
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2015

"This cake is wonderful! I followed the recipe exactly except I only made 2 round cakes instead of 3 and it was perfect!"

Janadele User ID: 7087902 233636
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2015

"Excellent, good for a crowd."

MemeBrad User ID: 7770261 233621
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2015

"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.

buffstaxi User ID: 6147696 233606
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2015

"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!!!"

Tishscook User ID: 5799188 232059
Reviewed Aug. 31, 2015

"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."

dressager User ID: 5183006 231493
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2015

"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."

EileenCu User ID: 2888735 230063
Reviewed Jul. 23, 2015

"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."

DebbieSchipper User ID: 8421618 229217
Reviewed Jul. 8, 2015

"I am a eleven year old girl I used your resipy to make cupkakes and I got first place. Thank you so much ^.^"

Kasha User ID: 179140 228030
Reviewed Jun. 16, 2015

"Makes a very tall cake with perfect amount of frosting for between and over the cake, will make again!"

luvyah User ID: 8374566 226320
Reviewed May. 14, 2015

"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!!"

Armstras07 User ID: 8309866 225097
Reviewed Apr. 19, 2015

"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."

GStaelens User ID: 1765741 224694
Reviewed Apr. 12, 2015

"Frosting was good."

baking_learner User ID: 8322738 224383
Reviewed Apr. 7, 2015

"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"

phyl4jesus12 User ID: 2646063 223732
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2015

"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."

Hoarses5214 User ID: 8275054 223371
Reviewed Mar. 22, 2015

"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. :)"

martylb User ID: 1456305 222971
Reviewed Mar. 17, 2015

"This is a fabulous cake. It's almost as good as my go-to chocolate cake recipe."

jgeraghty User ID: 7909745 222963
Reviewed Mar. 17, 2015

"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."

Summy User ID: 1386846 222805
Reviewed Mar. 15, 2015

"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."

jackie.baker User ID: 3555282 222668
Reviewed Mar. 13, 2015

"Very moist, exactly what I was looking for."

LindaLaffyTaffy User ID: 8116685 222338
Reviewed Mar. 8, 2015

"Love the chocolate lay flavor without being too sweet"

sarahlovesbaking User ID: 8238328 220807
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2015


gkhummingbird User ID: 8257863 220742
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

"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."

didi1013 User ID: 6541964 220180
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2015

"This really is the BEST chocolate cake! I'm throwing away all of my other chocolate cake recipes."

billybrycebennett3 User ID: 7553280 220170
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2015

"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!!!"

KimberlyRL User ID: 4851499 219983
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2015

"Decadent. No need to say more."

suefalk User ID: 6736080 218931
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!!"

DF1956 User ID: 8216406 218072
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!!!"

debmansur User ID: 1542916 216886
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!!!!"

mg3works4me User ID: 3315484 216849
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!"

[email protected] User ID: 6301811 215701
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."

Lisantana User ID: 7301365 214622
Reviewed Dec. 11, 2014

"AMAZING cake!!!!!

I just made this cake 2 days ago !
My husband's coworkers loved this cake!!!
I used 3 cups of cake flour
I 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!!!"

NiciBells User ID: 7385795 214146
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2014

"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 :)"

KapaluaPrincess User ID: 6515781 6741
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2014

"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!"

ejshellabarger User ID: 3870843 6739
Reviewed Nov. 21, 2014

"Perfect recipe!"

lbeaver1 User ID: 3875561 6390
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 ."

FarmFreshLisa User ID: 8104071 6370
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."

mikibunny31 User ID: 7066772 2393
Reviewed Sep. 20, 2014

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

lalalisa123 User ID: 7877958 2392
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!"

jeanemed User ID: 1512060 199131
Reviewed Nov. 3, 2013 Edited Apr. 8, 2016

"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."

kathypq User ID: 7401280 7425
Reviewed Sep. 9, 2013

"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"

engelshanon User ID: 1198065 7421
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2013

"Made this for my husband for his birthday!! He loves chocolate and this cake made his birthday. I found it was a very easy recipe and does not require a whole lot of work considering its from scratch."

lydia54 User ID: 7303063 8554
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2013

"This cake was delicious. It was so beautiful the frosting was sweet and creamy. It is a great recipe."

Culinarycaitey User ID: 7206473 6094
Reviewed Mar. 30, 2013

"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."

kathybrox User ID: 7190993 5304
Reviewed Mar. 21, 2013

"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!"

amanda1989 User ID: 4170658 7418
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2012

"Best chocolate cake I've ever had, My family raved about it and said they want it for every birthday."

kkay52 User ID: 6998402 6738
Reviewed Nov. 29, 2012

"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 is a must for the holidays. Thank you Sandy...thank you!"

Lswright15 User ID: 6969005 4524
Reviewed Nov. 13, 2012

"My favorite cake ever!!!!"

Lswright15 User ID: 6969005 5055
Reviewed Nov. 13, 2012

"My favorite cake ever!!!!!"

kristaleecosta User ID: 6869502 6389
Reviewed Sep. 18, 2012

"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!"

atticus User ID: 3489329 2390
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2011

"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"

jlastov1 User ID: 2803963 6384
Reviewed Mar. 17, 2011

"We all enjoyed this cake. I did the math and made it a two layer cake for our small family. Worked just fine."

Halfways User ID: 1025770 6368
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2011

"I have made this recipe many times and ALWAYS get great reviews..very moist and flavorful. Thanks for sharing."

tablefor4 User ID: 5285576 6382
Reviewed Aug. 8, 2010

"Wonderfully moist and delicious chocolate cake. I reduced the 10X sugar to 41/4 cups and the icing had just the right sweetness."

kel dehnert User ID: 4315865 4518
Reviewed Mar. 25, 2010

"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."

urantian User ID: 1997174 4558
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2010

"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 Carr
Pinole CA"

Sue Zappa User ID: 1094741 4516
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2010

"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."

dudekdp User ID: 4460464 2843
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2010

"So yummy...cut small slices because it's rich."

Lgtbrnsugr User ID: 4346777 4557
Reviewed Sep. 8, 2009

"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"

just2good User ID: 4378459 5300
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2009

"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!"

cruisejunkie User ID: 372282 5567
Reviewed Aug. 16, 2009

"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!"

adh User ID: 643790 7707
Reviewed Jun. 21, 2009

"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"

carolynstowers User ID: 4001197 7416
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2009

"This is the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted. Making another one to send to my Son's house for Easter dinner. Thank you Sandy."

jacky1234 User ID: 3173983 6093
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2008

"very good cake"

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