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Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Impressive to look at but easy to make, this cake is a good old-fashioned "Sunday supper" dessert that melts in your mouth. —Marsha Lawson, Pflugerville, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Assorted gold sprinkles, optional


  • Dissolve cocoa in boiling water; cool. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa mixture and mix well.
  • Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 692 calories, 30g fat (18g saturated fat), 119mg cholesterol, 451mg sodium, 102g carbohydrate (75g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • shannondobos
    Jul 22, 2020

    I am surprised at those that say the cake was dry and crumbly. I really question how they measured their flour? This cake was so chocolaty and had such a light texture because of the cake flour. The layers baked up so evenly, so it was so easy to frost and didn't require any trimming. This cake is HUGE. Make sure to have a large crowd or freeze the leftovers!

  • Ayana
    Feb 3, 2020

    I’ve made this cake twice and both times it wasn’t great. I think I’m comfortable with saying it’s not a good recipe.

  • Jennifer
    Jan 4, 2020

    Made it exactly as described and it was dryer than it should have been. Also was not very chocolatey.Not sure what went wrong!

  • Kristens198
    Mar 9, 2019

    I made the cake with ingredients as directed. I baked it for just under 30 minutes and it came out great! It filled 2 9x13 pans. I didn't make the frosting from this recipe.

  • Pugsyri16
    Jan 9, 2018

    I too had trouble with this recipe, it came out quite dry. Wondering what I may have done? The taste was definitely there just dry.

  • Thom
    Dec 9, 2017

    I prepared this recipe to the "T" the cake was dry and crumbly...very little "chocolate" taste...the frosting was OK, but not up to my chocolate standard either...reading others' comments it appears they have, or will go to great lengths to alter the recipe to meet their standards, or taste...which in my opinion should not have to be done...

  • Julia
    May 21, 2017

    I made this cake for the first time for my husband's birthday party and it got raves! Really delicious with a great consistency and just the right amount of sweetness. The frosting also got raves.

  • Osum
    Nov 21, 2016

    This cake baked up beautifully ! I used all purpose flour with great results. The layers were even and there was the perfect amount of icing to do the whole cake. The icing is a bit on the sweet side for me so next time I might try milk chocolate chips but it is definitely a keeper. I will make it again without hesitation. The presentation alone is stunning plus it tastes GREAT !Update * I had thought the icing was a bit too sweet just after assembling but tasted a few days later and it was perfect so I guess it needed time to do its thing. Still awesome !

  • Katemckib
    Nov 17, 2015

    Love, Love Love this frosting. It is creamy and so easy to spread. It is chocolatey but balanced by the sour cream. Simply the best chocolate frosting I have ever made.

  • lailabakes
    Oct 23, 2015

    A cup of butter, a cup of sour cream and 1 cup water, 4 eggs ... with 3 cups CAKE way this cake will come out dry... I am willing to bet anyone getting a dry cake did not measure the flour right. Cake flour weighs less than all purpose flour. A cup of cake flour is 115 grams not 130 grams as in AP flour. Either use a scale and measure 345 grams for 3 cups cake flour or whisk the flour and then SCOOP with a spoon in measuring cup and swipe top... some people measure a cup and remove 2 tablespoons... not accurate but better than scoop from a compacted flour with measuring cup and swipe...... BIG DIFFERENCE...that is why good recipes are written in weights not volume... 2 other reasons for dry cake... over baking and over mixing after flour is added... I did not make the frosting....Happy Baking...