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Chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles on top.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1, 8" or 9" cake (for a layer cake using two pans, double the recipe) 1x
  • Category: Sweets, Recipes
  • Method: Baking


This chocolate cake is light in texture and rich and creamy on the palate! The head scratcher here for you may be the boiling water. It's purpose is to dissolve and enhance the flavor of the cocoa powder.  Fresh brewed coffee works, too!

This batter is one that should be beaten on low speed, medium speed at the maximum. The method of begins with the dry ingredients, too intense beating will overwork the proteins in the flour and chocolate.



Cake batter

  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour (6.5 oz)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (3 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar (5.5 oz)
  • 1 cup just boiled water or hot coffee
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (3.5 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Sour Cream Buttercream

  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature (four sticks)
  • 3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar (around 12 oz)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease two cake pans, and lightly flour the bottoms. 
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Combine with sugar in mixing bowl.
  3. With mixer on low, mix dry ingredients until well combined, then add butter and beat until mixture appears sandy, a minute or two.
  4. Add sour cream, scraping down bowl frequently throughout mixing.
  5. Continuing on low speed, slowly drizzle in just boiled water, then raise speed to smooth out batter.
  6. Beat in vanilla, then eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl often.
  7. Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when touched lightly, between 25 and 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove cakes from pans and cool completely. Wrap in plastic and freeze until ready to decorate. Let the chill come off for about a half hour before slicing and decorating.

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