Need a slice of chocolate decadence?  This super easy recipe for sour cream chocolate cake makes an ultra moist cake with sour cream and coffee.  It would be a fun treat for a birthday or Valentine’s Day!  Who needs a box mix when you can make an awesome cake from scratch?

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
slice of sour cream chocolate cake on a plate
Cakes

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

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This sour cream chocolate cake (and its highly coveted raspberry buttercream) has been a deep dark family secret for several years.  We love this recipe for its fluffy crumb, moist texture, and rich chocolate flavor.  It’s the perfect birthday or Valentine’s Day cake!

forkful of sour cream chocolate cake on a plate

Why do you put sour cream in cake?

Sour cream helps make the cake fluffy and moist, and its slight acidity helps counteract the sweetness of the other ingredients.  For more information, read this article from Food Crumbles.

slice of sour cream chocolate cake on a plate

Why do you mix dry and wet ingredients separately?

It’s important to mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls before mixing them together.  If you try to mix everything together at the same time, it’s easy to overmix the batter, which would result in a tough cake.

holding a forkful of sour cream chocolate cake

How to Make Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Gather the ingredients for the cake, making sure they are all at room temperature.

ingredients for sour cream chocolate cake

Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl to remove any lumps, then whisk until blended.

whisking the dry ingredients for sour cream chocolate cake batter

Whisk together all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl until fully combined.

whisking the wet ingredients for sour cream chocolate cake batter

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then stir until fully combined.  Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to get all the flour mixed in–you don’t want any streaks or lumps of flour in the batter.

bowl of sour cream chocolate cake batter

Divide the cake batter among three 9-inch cake pans that have been buttered and lined with parchment paper.

sour cream chocolate cake batter in the pans

Bake the cakes at 350 F for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack, about another 40 minutes.

baked sour cream chocolate cake

While the cakes are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream.  You’ll need unsalted butter, powdered sugar, seedless raspberry jam, and a pinch of salt.

raspberry buttercream ingredients for sour cream chocolate cake

Beat together the butter, salt, and jam until smooth.

butter and raspberry jam mixture for sour cream chocolate cake

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then sift in the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.

raspberry buttercream in a mixing bowl for sour cream chocolate cake

Once the cakes have cooled, flip them over onto pieces of plastic wrap (the cakes will be moist and sticky) and peel off the parchment paper from their bases.  Sandwich the cakes together with the raspberry buttercream.

sour cream chocolate cake layers sandwiched with raspberry buttercream

Now, gather the ingredients for the chocolate buttercream.  You’ll need unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar, unsalted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and espresso powder.

chocolate buttercream ingredients for sour cream chocolate cake

Beat the butter until smooth, then sift in the cocoa powder and beat until well mixed.

butter and cocoa for sour cream chocolate cake icing

Scrape the bowl and paddle, sift in the powdered sugar, and mix until blended.

adding sugar to icing for sour cream chocolate cake

Add the vanilla and espresso powder to taste, then gradually add enough milk to make the icing a beautifully silky and spreadable consistency.  Be careful not to overbeat, or the icing will have lots of air bubbles in it, making it hard to smoothly ice the cake.

chocolate buttercream for sour cream chocolate cake

Spread a thin coat of icing over the top and sides of the cake with an angled spatula, then scrape off the excess.  This is called the crumb coat, and is a crucial step for getting a smooth, crumb-free finish on the cake.

crumb coat for sour cream chocolate cake

Chill the crumb coated cake for 30 minutes to harden up the buttercream, then spread on the remaining chocolate buttercream.  Pipe swirls of icing and top with chocolate curls as desired.

sour cream chocolate cake with roses

Variations

  • Want to make this a sheet cake?  Cut the batter in half and bake the cake in a 9 by 13-inch pan.  You may need to bake the cake a few minutes longer, but check it a little early just to make sure it’s not overbaked.
  • Don’t want to make any icing?  Use raspberry jam instead of the raspberry buttercream, and sprinkle icing sugar on top of the cake to decorate.
  • Want to prep ahead of time?  Mix together a batch of the dry ingredients up to 3 months ahead of time and store in an airtight container or zip-top bag until needed.  Just make sure that you use fresh baking powder in the mix, as it loses its effectiveness after 3 months.  You can also freeze it.

slice of sour cream chocolate cake on a plate

Pro Tips

  • Use good-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture.
  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start.  Cold eggs will not incorporate as well as room temperature ones.  (Quickly warm them up by submerging them in warm water for 10 minutes.)
  • Don’t overmix the cake batter, or the cakes may be tough.
  • Check the cakes a little before you think they may be done, as overbaked cakes will be dry.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  • Add a little milk to the icing if it is too thick.
  • Crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin layer of icing over the top and sides, then scraping most of it off.  This will keep most of the crumbs from getting into the frosting later.
  • Store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Freeze leftover cake in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags for 1-3 months.

Wow your family and friends with these delicious layer cakes.

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Did you make this sour cream chocolate cake?  Please leave a star rating below to share how you enjoyed it.

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slice of sour cream chocolate cake on a plate

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 17 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x

Description

Need a slice of chocolate decadence?  This super easy recipe for sour cream chocolate cake makes an ultra moist cake with sour cream and coffee.  It would be a fun treat for a birthday or Valentine’s Day!  Who needs a box mix when you can make an awesome cake from scratch?


Scale

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (107g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream (225g)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (118 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup hot coffee (236 ml)

For the Raspberry Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (230g)
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (240g)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (195g)
  • pinch of salt

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (230g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (80g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (475g)
  • 1/31/2 cup milk (78157 ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Instructions

Making the Cakes (25 minutes + 20 minutes baking + 1 hour cooling)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three 9-inch cake pans and line their bases with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then whisk until blended.  Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl until smooth, then dump the wet into the dry and stir until no lumps of flour remain.  Be sure to scrape all the way down to the bottom, but don’t stir too long, or the cake will be tough.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans, then tap the pans gently on the counter to release air bubbles.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Be careful not to overbake, or the cakes will be dry.
  5. Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 40 minutes.

Making the Raspberry Buttercream (20 minutes)

  1. Beat the butter and salt until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the jam and beat until fluffy, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and sift in the powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.
  2. Flip the cakes over onto pieces of plastic wrap so you can peel the parchment circles off of the cakes.  Use the raspberry buttercream to sandwich the cakes together.  Cover any leftover buttercream and store in the fridge.

Making the Chocolate Buttercream (45 minutes + 30 minutes chilling)

  1. Beat the butter until soft. Sift in the cocoa powder and beat until fluffy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then sift in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and espresso powder to taste, and use the milk to thin the icing to a spreadable consistency.  Be careful not to overbeat the frosting, or it will have big air bubbles.
  3. Crumb coat the top and sides of the cake by spreading a thin layer of frosting on, then gently scraping most of it off.  This will trap most of the crumbs to keep them from getting in the final frosting.  Chill the cake for 30 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
  4. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate buttercream, then decorate with chocolate curls or shavings as desired.

  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: moist, recipe

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4 thoughts on “Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

  1. I like this moist chocolate cake. The raspberry icing and creamy chocolate icing compliment the chocolate cake so well!

  2. I absolutely love chocolate cake. And not any chocolate cake, I like homemade from scratch. This cake is super moist and has a strong chocolate flavour. The layers of raspberry icing in the middle bring it up a notch. It looks amazing and it’s not too hard. The azaleas are such a nice color!🍫🍰🌹😍❤️

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