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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


Need a slice of chocolate decadence?  This super easy recipe for sour cream chocolate cake makes an ultra moist dessert with sour cream and coffee.  It would be a fun treat for a birthday or Valentine’s Day.



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)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup milk (78-157 ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder


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

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three 9-inch 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 comes out clean.  Be careful not to overbake, or they 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 bottom.  Use the raspberry buttercream to sandwich them 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.


  • Use room-temperature ingredients to ensure a smooth, well-mixed batter.
  • Warm up the eggs quickly by submerging them in hot tap water for 10 minutes.
  • Don't overmix the batter, or the cakes may be tough.
  • Check the cakes early, as overbaked ones will be dry.
  • Icing too thick?  Add a splash of milk or cream to thin it.
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: moist, recipe