Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

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Sour Cream Chocolate Cake — a ridiculously fluffy and moist chocolate cake made with dark cocoa powder and sour cream.

slice of chocolate sour cream cake on a white plate with a fork

This Sour Cream Chocolate Cake recipe beats out all other chocolate cakes. It is definitely the moistest cake I have ever had. The crumb is soft and fluffy with the perfect amount of bounce. It’s one of my favorite cakes to make and there isn’t a person who had it who would disagree.

Frosting recipes

cake covered with whipped cream cheese frosting

This chocolate cake tastes wonderful with any type of frosting. I topped the cake in the photos with yummy Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting but it would be amazing with Strawberry Cream Cheese Buttercream, Chocolate Buttercream, or Almond Cream Cheese Frosting!

Sour cream chocolate cake ingredients

sour cream chocolate cake ingredients

All-purpose flour
Dutch-processed cocoa– I use Hershey’s Special Dark 100% cocoa powder for a deep chocolate flavor but any dutch processed cocoa will work.
Baking powder
Baking soda
Salt
Sugar
Butter
Canola oil
Eggs
Sour cream
Whole milk

Cake pan prep and sizes

poring batter into a prepared pan

Prepare your cake pan with butter and flour or use my tutorial for lining cake pans with parchment paper. For this cake, I just butter my sheet cake because I didn’t want to risk the bottom of the cake being dusty looking. This batter will render:
1 9×13
2 9” cakes for double layers
3 8” cakes for triple layers
2 dozen cupcakes

Chocolate cake instructions

beaten butter and sugar in a bowl

This cake is as easy as pie. It does require that all of the ingredients be at room temperature, so you will need to set them out in advance.Start by beating the the butter until fluffy followed by the sugar, canola oil, then eggs until smooth.

sifting flour into the batter

Next, sift into the butter, the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. This can be done in a separate bowl or directly into the batter as demonstrated. Either way, you will beat the dry mix into the butter on medium speed until crumbly before adding the milk.

folding sour cream into the batter

Once smooth, fold in the sour cream. Folding helps to avoid over-mixing the batter with the machine.

chocolate cake batter in a sheet pan

Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan and bake for 22-28 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.

cake cooling in a pan

Use a toothpick to check for doneness (I used a butterknife; whatever works).

a piece of chocolate cake on a white plate

Cool the cake completely before frosting. The instructions for the frosting are in the recipe card below.

This recipe was edited on 7/16/18 and again on 12/2/2020 for improved recipe and content. It was first published on 12/8/2017.

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slice of chocolate sour cream cake on a white plate with a fork
4.34 from 6 votes

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Print Recipe
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake — a ridiculously fluffy and moist chocolate cake made with dark cocoa powder and sour cream.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:50 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (210 grams)
  • 3/4 c Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cocoa Powder (60 grams)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c unsalted butter softened at room temp
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 2 eggs room temp
  • 1 1/3 c sour cream
  • 2/3 c whole milk warm

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream cold
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Beat the softened butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and canola oil until creamy. Then, beat in both eggs until smooth.
  • Next, sift into the butter, the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into the creamed butter. Beat on medium speed to combine partially then add the milk.
  • Once smooth, fold in the sour cream. Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan and bake for 22-28 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Cool the cake completely before frosting.

Frosting

  • In a stand mixer using a balloon whisk attachment, whip the softened cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Turn off the machine and scrape the bowl down. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Set the machine to low speed to incorporate.
  • Once the sugar is mixed in well, adjust the speed to medium-high. Begin to slowly pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into the bowl. Run the machine for 2-3 minutes to fluff the heavy cream. It should be firm enough to hold shape on the tip of the whisk. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Notes

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from (https://chelsweets.com/2020/06/11/whipped-cream-frosting-with-cream-cheese/).

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 388mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, chocolate, cream cheese icing, frosting, whipped cream
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 526kcal
Author: Ty

14 Comments

  1. Ty, I’ve baked this cake twice now, I followed the recipe exactly and didn’t make any alterations. The first time I did it in two 9-in pans, the batter was incredibly thick and they spilled over onto the oven floor during the baking process, and then sunk in the middle. Not being one to give up I baked this again tonight. I didn’t change anything except the size of my cake pans. This time I used two 8 – in x 3- in pans. The batter was still crazy thick and SANK. Both cakes were moist and tasted great but they both sank in quite a bit and took 50 minutes to bake 🤷‍♀️. No clue what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Hi Rene. First, thank you for trying the recipe; it really is a delicious cake. But I’m truly sorry that you’re having so mich trouble with this cake. It sounds like it could be the chemistry between the baking soda and sour cream that’s making the batter thick and spill over. I suggest using only 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder only with 1 cup of sour cream instead of the 1 and 1/3 cups. This should help it to be more stable during baking.

  2. 5 stars
    This was SO delicious!! I followed your exact recipe and I don’t think it was too thick at all. It was nice and creamy and the flavors were great! My husband ate two bowlfuls and wanted more. We had plenty for leftovers. Thanks–this is a keeper!

  3. 1 star
    Am I the only one who had a problem with this cake. It takes great but sunk in the middle. Soda and baking powder were measured correct and don’t expire until 2022 and 2023. Oven temp was correct. I’ve baked professionally so I know I followed the recipe and was extra careful, as usual, when measuring. Only change I made was to use Valrhona Cocoa instead of Hershey. The batter tasted great 🙂 Even after 30 years in the business apparently you can always learn something.

    1. Sorry you had issues, Vicki. I’ve never had the cake collapse but it has come out less firm when I’ve used different sour cream brands. Some seem to be more liquid then others. Maybe use just 1 cup of sour cream instead of the 1 1/3 cups if you decided to make it again.

  4. If you use two 9 inch round cake pans, do you bake them at the same time for the same amount of time (22-28 minutes)?

  5. 5 stars
    This was an amazing cake, and just as you described. Thank you for the great step by step directions. It was easy to make and turned out perfectly! I usually am not a good cake maker, and this cake was perfection- moist, chocolatey, light in texture (bouncy). I highly recommend. This will be my go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on. I didn’t have enough sour cream so I substituted with half yogurt, and I also added a tsp of almond extract. My daughter made a cream cheese frosting for it and added almond extract to that too. It took a little longer to bake than your recommended time but that’s probably my oven. I used 11 x 13 glass lasagna pan. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I made HALF the recipe a couple hours ago. I used two 6″x2″ square aluminum Wilton pans and made a layer cake, and they baked in 26 minutes. This is honestly the moistest cake I’ve ever made. It has good flavor and the right amount of salt. I did add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. I didn’t use your frosting recipe. https://i.imgur.com/YYhsP0m.jpg

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