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Chocolate Sourdough Cake

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This decadent and rich chocolate sourdough cake recipe is a show stopping dessert! Made with sourdough starter, this is a fun recipe to use your starter in a way that isn’t bread. Rich, moist, and so chocolatey, and topped with a chocolate buttercream frosting, this cake is a dream come true for chocolate lovers!

sourdough chocolate cake slice on white plate

There are so many amazing ways to use your sourdough starter beyond bread! I love how versatile a starter really is – you can use it in endless ways! But my favorite way might just be including it into desserts.

The yeast and natural flavors found in the starter help to create a depth of flavor and tender texture that really makes your desserts shine! 

Try your hand at these other sourdough desserts

overhead image of sheet pan chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting

Including sourdough starter in a chocolate cake is kind of a no brainer when you think about it.

You might be familiar with crazy sounding additions like mayonnaise, tomato soup, sour cream, zucchini, and coffee, right? These are all additions that help to enhance the flavor and texture of a chocolate cake – producing a rich flavor that isn’t too sweet and is deep and complex, and allowing the texture to be soft and moist, and utterly perfect.

Adding a sourdough starter to chocolate cake does the same thing! It helps to create a deep and sophisticated flavor that is richly chocolate without being overly sweet. And it by using an active starter, it doesn’t have too pronounced of a sourdough tang, but the starter helps to lift the cake alongside the baking soda and creates a light and fluffy cake that is perfect.

several small white plates with slices of chocolate sourdough cake and forks

Other sourdough cakes I love are Sourdough Pound Cake, sourdough apple cake, sourdough coffee cake and sourdough carrot cake

If you haven’t yet tried a sourdough cake, I highly suggest you give this recipe a go! You will love it!

New to sourdough? Read my ultimate guide to sourdough for beginners to get all the answers to your questions in easy to understand ways!

chocolate cake on board with slices beside

How to make sourdough chocolate cake

Make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below for the complete set of directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly greasing it.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the starter, milk, and flour and whisk thoroughly.
mixing cake batter
  1. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, sour cream, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. The mixture will be grainy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time to this mixture, mixing well after each addition.
mixing sourdough starter into batter
  1. Gently combine the starter mixture into the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth. 
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tendster in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting. 
mixing cake batter with chocolate and sourdough

How to make chocolate buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until soft and fluffy.
  2. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. 
  4. Frost the cake!
mixing chocolate buttercream frosting

What kind of sourdough starter do I need for these recipes? 

This recipe uses a 100% hydration sourdough starter, meaning one that has been fed equal amounts by weight of flour and water. Read How to Maintain a Sourdough Starter for more information. 

It is easier to whisk in a starter that is room temperature into the cake batter, so if you store your discard in the fridge, I recommend allowing it to warm up before you start this recipe. 

Don’t have a starter yet? Learn how to make a sourdough starter the simple way.

sourdough chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on cutting board

Other chocolate cake recipes:

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Yield: 12 servings

Chocolate Sourdough Cake Recipe

sourdough chocolate cake slice on white plate

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

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Sourdough Cake

  • 1 cup sourdough starter, fed and active
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup dutch process baking cocoa
  • 2 eggs

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • ⅓ cup dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lightly greasing it.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the starter, milk, and flour and whisk thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, sour cream, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa.
  5. The mixture will be grainy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time to this mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  7. Gently combine the starter mixture into the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tendster in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until soft and fluffy.
  2. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Notes

You can also bake this cake as cupcakes or in circle tins and assemble as a layer cake. Just adjust the baking time accordingly.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 361mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 2gSugar: 54gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

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Sarah McKee

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Have you ever made this into cupcakes? I am terrible with frosting cakes, but am good with cupcakes. LOL

Jenni

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

Yes! You can definitely make them into cupcakes! Just adjust the baking time!

Leah

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

I don’t have espresso powder but want that flavour! Is it possible to sub half milk for half brewed coffee?

Jenni

Thursday 14th of May 2020

Hmm - I would maybe try brewing the coffee grounds in the milk? Then let it cool back down again before using - I think that would give you the best flavor! Let me know how it works!

Linda

Saturday 7th of December 2019

Oh, this is my kind of cake! I love dark chocolate and won't say no to it. And that frosting sounds so fingerlickingood!

Fiorenza

Monday 2nd of December 2019

I had never made a cake by using sourdough, I followed your suggestions and I got an outstanding cake Thank you so much!

Jess

Sunday 1st of December 2019

I have never had sourdough cake but girl, I KNOW this recipe is so delicious! Just look at that cake! I can not wait to try this cake out! YUM!

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