Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Recipe

chocolate sour cream cake

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 12 to 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
423 Calories
20g Fat
60g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 20
Amount per serving
Calories 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 248mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 47g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 101mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chocolate sour cream cake is easy to make and doesn't even require a mixer. Just combine the ingredients, pour the batter into the prepared rectangular pan, and bake! You can make the batter with hot, freshly brewed coffee or hot water. Coffee has a way of intensifying chocolate flavor, but the cake is excellent with or without it.

The frosting is easy as well. It's a rich, silky chocolate frosting with enough sour cream to give it a tangy flavor that complements the cake perfectly. The recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of frosting, enough to make a generous layer on this delicious chocolate sour cream cake.

A one-layer cake is excellent for taking along to a party, potluck, or office event because there's no need to take it out of the pan, fuss with layers, or finish it with elaborate decorations. It is perfect as it is!


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour

  • 2 cups (396 grams) sugar

  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, natural

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup (236 ml) very hot brewed coffee, or very hot water

For the Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) sour cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 3 1/2 cups (398 grams) confectioners' sugar, or as needed for consistency

Steps to Make It

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients for the cake.

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 cup of sour cream, vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until well blended.

  5. Stir the egg and sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients until blended. Add the hot coffee or hot water and stir until the batter is smooth and well blended.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  7. Remove the cake to a rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

  1. Gather the frosting ingredients.

  2. Put about 1 inch of water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat.

  3. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a heat-safe mixing bowl and place it over the simmering water.

  4. Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly.

  5. Whisk the sour cream into the melted chocolate along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

  6. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the chocolate and sour cream mixture and beat with an electric mixer until creamy, adding more sifted confectioners' sugar as needed for spreading consistency.

  7. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.


  • This recipe calls for natural cocoa, not Dutch-process. The acidity of the natural cocoa and the acidic buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to make the cake rise. If all you have is alkalized Dutch-process cocoa, try replacing about 3/4 teaspoon of the baking soda with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Choose full-fat sour cream for this recipe. The extra fat in the sour cream adds moisture and richness and results in a tender crumb.
  • Use a neutral flavor oil in this recipe, such as canola oil, corn oil, safflower, or plain vegetable oil.

Recipe Variations

  • 2-Layer Chocolate Sour Cream Cake: Prepare the cake and pour the batter into two greased and floured 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake the layers at 350 F for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. For the frosting and filling, increase the ingredients as follows: 2 cups chocolate chips, 8 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of sour cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, a scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 4 1/2 to 5 cups of confectioners' sugar.
  • Instead of frosting, serve the cake with a dollop of whipped cream or dust it with confectioners' sugar or cocoa.
  • Another kind of frosting may be used on the cake. Try classic buttercream, chocolate buttercream, or chocolate buttermilk frosting.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover chocolate sour cream cake with the sour cream frosting for up to 1 week.
  • If unfrosted or frosted with buttercream, store the cake at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or cover and keep the cake in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze individual slices, arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Wrap each piece with plastic wrap and put them in a resealable freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.