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Chocolate Sourdough Cake

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

chocolate sourdough layer cake on white cake stand with vanilla frosting in between layers
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.
a single slice of chocolate sourdough cake on a white plate with a dark background

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Isn’t it amazing what your sourdough starter can do? This sourdough chocolate cake is one of my favorite ways to use my sourdough discard. I mean, who doesn’t love cake?!

Can sourdough starter make a good cake?

Yes! It can! You don’t really taste the “sour” tang here. Instead, if helps develop the rich and decadent flavor. If you have heard of adding espresso or coffee to your chocolate cake, or even mayonnaise –  its the same concept! It helps to add to the depth of flavor.

How to make sourdough chocolate cake

This cake is fun because its like half sourdough bread and half cake. With a little bit of a ferment time, its different enough from a regular cake recipe to make it worthwhile to try! Also, its chocolate cake, and a good one at that.
*Recipe Note: Do NOT attempt you mix this cake by hand or with a hand-mixer. This recipe needs a stand mixer – the batter is really thick and strong. You will basically die if you do this by hand. I am warning you.
  1. Mix together the starter, flour and mix and allow the “dough” to ferment for 2 or 3 hors on hte counter. It won’t really bubble, but it will expand a bit.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Prepare three 9″ cake pans with parchment paper, butter, and flour.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder. The mixture will be grainy and look weird. That is ok!
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  6. Gently combine the flour/starter mixture into the chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. It will be really goopy at first, but it will smooth out, trust me! It will end up looking like a thick quick bread or thick brownie batter.
  7. Equally distribute between the 3 prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  9. Allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool to room temperature.
  10. Frost and enjoy!
rustic chocolate sourdough cake with three layers and vanilla buttercream on white vintage cake stand
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 slice on white plate

Love Sourdough? Check out over 60 great sourdough recipes, including other fun dessert sourdough recipes:

  • Sourdough Coffee Cake with Blueberries – This sourdough coffee cake recipe is an easy way to use sourdough discard, and a great way to have breakfast! The subtle sourdough flavor and juicy blueberries combine well in this tender and moist cake.
  • Cinnamon Spice Sourdough Biscotti – This lovely spicy biscotti recipe is a fun way to use your sourdough discard!
  • Sourdough Beignets – These pillows of doughs have a slight sourdough tang that works perfect here, and the texture is awesome. Pillowy and soft, with a slight chew.
  • Sourdough Kolaches – these yeasted thumbprint cookie with pumpkin butter and topped with a streusel are a fun sourdough dessert recipe to make
  • White Chocolate Cranberry Sourdough Blondies – This starbucks copycat recipe is a fun winter bar recipe to make with your sourdough starter.
  • Mega Chocolate Sourdough Brownies – These sourdough brownies are ultra fudgey, and rich. They are easy and quick to make, so you can enjoy them whenever you have sourdough discard to use. A great recipe to use your sourdough starter!
Yield: 3- 9″ cake rounds

Chocolate Sourdough Cake Recipe

Chocolate Sourdough Cake Recipe

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



  • 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!+

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 750Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 604mgCarbohydrates: 108gFiber: 2gSugar: 79gProtein: 7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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

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