Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

The sour cream adds a subtle tanginess to this moist, chocolate-y cake. I made this for Justin’s birthday and loved it!

While you’re at it, click here to see how we used this recipe in our Owl Cake. Shown with this chocolate frosting.



Sour Cream Chocolate Cake


  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream



Preheat oven to 350 ยฐF.

Dissolve cocoa in the boiling water; let stand until cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well. Add cocoa mixture; beat well.

Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from All Recipes.


  1. Marie-Paule Cotie says:

    Do you have a suggestion for a replacement for the chocolate for the frosting? Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips are hard to find in Canada ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kim says:

      Kelli hasn’t been on much lately with her busy school schedule, so I’ll give my opinion. I’d use any good chocolate chips you have there and not worry about the brand name. Personally as long as they are real chocolate and not imitation, I’d use them in this recipe.

  2. Carla says:

    I do an icing made with 250 ml double cream, whipped till starting to thicken then add 5 heaping tbsp of baking cocoa and about 3/4 cup icing sugar while beating in …. Thickens lovely and creamy, not as greasy as butter icing, and not too sweet….

  3. Jazmin says:

    This is one of those moist cakes right? I hate those dry cakes that go with coffee. Genuine question.

    • Kim says:

      If you go to the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake recipe, there is a link in the blog part of how to use this cake to make the Owl cake and a link with the frosting recipe to go with it.

  4. Maria J. says:

    Hi Kim,
    i’m baking the cake almost an hour at 350F and it isn’t baked completely yet. Are your sure about the 30-35 min? I think i’m going crazy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The frosting is awesome!

    Best regards from Spain.

    Maria J.

    P.D.: Tomorrow i’ll tell you the time i have spent baking the cake.

    • Kim says:

      That’s Kelli’s recipe and I haven’t made it before, but I’ll check with her and see what she says.

  5. NikkiB says:

    OK… so this recipe is very similar to a family sour cream cake recipe. We separate the eggs and sift the flour mixture. Never thought to add chocolate. My kitchen smells WONDERFUL! Hope the family loves my Memorial Day food contribution ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Regina says:

    Could you replace the baking cocoa and boiling water with melted semisweet chocolate chips and reduce a little bit of the sugar? Just an idea? Wondering if that would make a richer taste?

  7. Joanna Said says:

    Nestlรฉโ€™s Chocolate Loverโ€™s Frosting recipe here:
    (Looks a lot like the one in this pic, and is absolutely DELICIOUS, and not really hard to make, either!)

    3 C. sifted Powdered Sugar, divided
    2/3 C. (Nestle) Baking Cocoa
    1/2 C. (1 stick) Butter or Margarine
    5-6 T. Milk, divided (Tablespoons)
    1 t. Vanilla (teaspoon)

    BEAT 1 C. powdered sugar, butter, 2 T. milk, and vanilla in small mixer bowl until creamy.
    Gradually beat in remaining sugar and milk, alternately, until smooth.

    Makes 2 Cups.
    NOTE: to make this cake with three layers, and to frost it all, please double the frosting recipe and use 1 C. of frosting for the top of each layer. Then use the last cup to cover the sides the sides of the cake, last of all.

    • Carol says:

      I really like sour cream with chocolate…think I’d substitute sour cream for the milk in the frosting recipe! Maybe a little at a time just to make sure the consistency is right.

  8. kay says:

    Does a cup of sour cream equal an 8 ounce container? The weight is the same but I don’t think it measures a full cup.

  9. Ang says:

    I just want to say… this is the BEST cake I’ve ever had… and I’m not a fan of chocolate. ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband loves it as well, I’m not telling him there’s sour cream in it, or he probably would stop eating it, but yay, we have a dessert we agree on! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

    • Kim says:

      On the post about the cake, Kelli said “Shown with this chocolate frosting”. If you click on the word “this”, it takes you to the recipe for her icing.

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