Dessert/ Sourdough Recipes

Chocolate Sourdough Cake

This decadent and rich chocolate sourdough cake recipe is a showstopping dessert!


Delicious chocolate cake made with sourdough starter!
a moist and decadent chocolate cake made with sourdough starter!
This dark chocolate cake is lightly topped with creamy cheese frosting. And it is everything a cake should be – rich, moist, so decadent. Cut this cake thin, guys. And don’t even bother serving ice cream with it – you seriously don’t need it. Or will be able to eat it. No one I served this cake to was able to finish their piece, but not because they didn’t want to. It’s so delicious you want to force yourself to eat it all, but you just can’t. This cake totally calls for a stand mixer, though – don’t even think about attempting it by hand, or killing your hand mixer with it. You need to slowly mix it with a stand mixer until you don’t see any white specs of your starter.
This simple and rustic cake is made with sourdough discard and yields a moist, flavorful and decadent cake!
You might notice that my cake is leaning a little… I ended up being about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar short, so my frosting was a little loose. I was going to put it in the fridge to set up a bit, but as it turns out a 3 layer cake on my tallest cake stand does not actually fit in my refrigerator… The only option was to place it in my pantry and hope it didn’t fall (or that a mouse wouldn’t happen to make its way into my pantry at that moment…what can I say, I live in a 100 year old house, I wouldn’t be surprised!) Luckily, the cake didn’t topple over, there were no unwanted visitors to the pantry, and the cake was completely gone in less than 24 hours.
Chocolate Sourdough Cake

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Chocolate Sourdough Cake

  • Author: Jenni
  • Prep Time: 4 Hours
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3- 9″ cake rounds 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This decadent and rich sourdough cake recipe is a showstopping dessert!




  • 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, optional
  • 2 large eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 (8oz) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar



  1. In a large bowl mix together the starter, milk and flour.
  2. Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 hours (it won’t bubble but will expand a tiny bit).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Trace 3 cake pan circles onto parchment paper.
  5. Grease 3- 9″ round cake pans with butter, lay a parchment circle in the bottom, grease that and then tap a layer of flour in.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat together sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder (the mixture will be grainy).
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  8. Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour mixture, stirring until smooth (this will be really goopy at first, but as you continue to beat it, the batter will smooth out).
  9. Equally distribute the batter among the three cake pans.
  10. Bake 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  12. Turn the cakes out onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add in the vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly begin adding in the powdered sugar, mixing until all the sugar is added and combined..
  4. (If the frosting is too thin, add more sugar – if too thick, add a tsp or two of water).


+Note: This cake totally calls for a stand mixer. Don’t even attempt to kill your arms by mixing it by hand, or using a hand mixer. Then batter is very thick and strong. Use a stand mixer!+

 (slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour and  Gimme Some Oven)


  • Reply
    Jessica Kuligowski
    March 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Glad to see I wasn't the only one with frosting troubles :-). Nice job on the cake though – it certainly looks yummy!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I've never had a sourdough cake — it sounds interesting and looks really delicious!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Wow!!! This looks insanely delicious!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    That looks heavenly! I love sourdough chocolate cake!

  • Reply
    Robyn Fuoco
    March 20, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    This is the ultimate and it looks soooo pretty. I just want to swipe my finger across that frosting! Great job!!

    • Reply
      March 22, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Thanks! It was hard to resist a frosting swipe! Luckily I made enough I could lick the bowl after… LOL

  • Reply
    Rachael Cleveland
    March 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Awesome! I saw this recipe through KA, but wasn't sure if it was for me. I'm really, really happy to see that it worked out for you, and it looks decandently divine. Yum! 🙂

    So glad to be baking with you through Sourdough Surprises.

  • Reply
    Lynn Huntley
    March 20, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Hi~ I used this same recipe from King Arthur and thought it was a great recipe! Your cake looks delicious:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines Irish Cream Chocolate Sourdough Cake~

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Now THAT is a cake! It looks so beautiful with those swoops of white icing & deep dark sponge. Aw, yum. I'm pinning this.

    • Reply
      March 22, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      Thanks Suz! For some reason I can't comment on your blog, but I think your ginger cake looks delicious! I would definitely trade you for a piece of that!

  • Reply
    shelley c.
    March 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I love that you switched the oil for butter – I bet it was absolutely delicious. And it looks so pretty, leaning or not. YUM!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    One word: YUM. I could murder a piece of that right now! I love your cake stand, too.

    • Reply
      March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Haha Thanks! It was my grandmother's cake stand! 🙂

  • Reply
    My Italian Smorgasbord
    March 20, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    I truly love this cake! spectacular looking and the ingredients for the dough are just a few, the way I prefer it. and chocolate!!! my cake was also leaning, loose filling and 6 mini layers, of course 🙂 ciao, Barbara

  • Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    What a showpiece! What was I thinking, looking at this first thing in the morning?

  • Reply
    March 21, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Oh, my! I would love to just dive into that, mouth open!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    I'm so enjoying being a part of Sourdough Surprises-thanks! Chocolate and cream cheese…sounds like a perfect combination!

  • Reply
    Nicole Cathey
    June 12, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Hi was wondering when you mix the sourdoigh starter flour and milk together, what consistency it should be, mine is a sticky dough like ball, but was thinking it should be more of a wet consistency…let me know thanks!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    Hi Nicole! Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you, I've been moving and had limited internet access. It is not thin like a normal cake batter, but shouldn't be a ball either. It should be more of a thick brownie or quick bread batter consistency.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Thank you so much for the recipe! This seriously the best, most moist chocolate cake I have ever tried! We made it just one layer and substituted yogurt for the milk and everyone was mind-blown. This is my main chocolate cake recipe from now onwards. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Cami Kangleon
    August 19, 2015 at 3:30 AM

    I have been eyeballing this recipe for quite some time now, and finally decided to give it a try for a small family party. It was absolutely delicious (I say "was" because we ate the whole thing for dessert). Not sour at all, perfectly chocolaty, flavorful, with a very moist, soft, tight crumb. Definitely my new go to chocolate cake recipe now. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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