Sour Cream Chocolate Layer Cake

In a few months we’ll be in a new house on a new street. We’re in transition, and one beneficiary of the change is my stand mixer. Until recently he lived a sad life at the bottom of the pantry and played second fiddle to the less bulky hand-held mixer.  And I wasn’t always nice to the stand mixer either, making such insensitive statements as “I really only use this thing for meringue” and “I like the food processor better.” Our move to this apartment changed Mr. Stand Mixer’s life. I set him on the counter because there was no other space, started using him since he was right there, then found that my cakes were turning out better and I was definitely having more fun making them.

So that’s my long way of saying, here’s another cake.

Sour Cream Chocolate Layer Cake

The is from Katy, who loves her stand mixer so much she bought one of those scraping attachments, the Sideswipe. (Updated — Or it might have been the New Metro. Since I posted the link to the sideswipe, a few people have said they own the New Metro Blade and love it, so here’s a link and photo for you)

I didn’t quite understand the beauty of having one, but now I’m putting one on my housewarming list.  Mr. KA is excited!

As for the cake, this one is a winner. Sour cream and brown sugar help make it dense, tender and moist, but the biggest factor is the technique. It’s similar to the “two-stage” method (popularized by Rose Levy Beranbaum) where you mix the dry ingredients, add the butter and some of the liquid and eggs, beat, then add the rest of the liquid and eggs. In this cake, the method is modified a bit, but it still resulted in perfectly even layers and a great tasting, tight crumbled, dense but tender cake. The ingredient ratios are adapted from a Flo Braker recipe and the icing is adapted from Ann Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor.

Sour Cream Chocolate Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • 2 cups cake flour (8 oz)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened but not too warm
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (14 oz)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water or room temp coffee (divided use)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
Sour Cream Frosting
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm water or coffee
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray, or rub with shortening and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. Sift (I actually didn’t sift) the cake flour, baking soda, and salt into bowl of a stand mixer and mix well. Add softened butter to flour mixture and mix on low speed with the paddle until the butter coats the flour. Stop occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add the brown sugar, cooled melted chocolate, sour cream, vanilla and *half* of the water. Continue mixing on low speed until well blended, scraping sides of bowl. Then beat on medium speed for about a minute.
  4. To the eggs in the separate bowl, add the remaining half cup of water (or coffee) and beat with a fork or whisk. With the mixer on low, gradually pour the egg/water mixture into the batter. Continue running mixer for about 3 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides until you get a smooth, velvety batter.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans and bake on center rack at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until cakes test done. If your pans are black, you might want to use 325 F for 40 minutes.
  6. Sour cream Frosting
  7. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Stir over low heat or residual heat until chocolate melts. Remove from stove and let cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Stir the sour cream into the chocolate.
  8. Sift half of the powdered sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat mixture until smooth, adding water as needed.


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  1. says

    Hi Anna,
    Another great recipe!

    I have a question — I can’t eat sour cream (lactose problem, I think). Do you think I could substitute plain yogurt?


  2. Tracy says

    I just got New Metro Design Beater Blade for my stand mixer and it has made life so much easier. I don’t have to scrape down the mixing bowl a million times, or dig stuff from the bottom that didn’t get incorporated.
    I am amazed to learn that you use a hand mixer for your cookies . . . I found an amazing difference (a good one!) when I started using the stand mixer for mine. I’ll never go back 🙂

  3. janet says

    That is an incredibly luscious looking piece of cake! Loved the story about not using your stand mixer…I have converted over to my hand held one also. Hmmm..mine (stand mixers) are on the counters maybe I better dust them off and give them a try making this great cake recipe!! Thanks!

  4. says

    I’m glad that Mr. KA is getting a second life outside of the pantry! I think you and Mr. KA would like one of the scraping beater blades! I bought one a month or so ago and I love it! Of course I loved my stand mixer before that, but with the scraper blade, things come together even faster.
    Your cake looks great! Thanks for sharing it!!

  5. says

    Tracy, I’ll research the New Metro as well. I wonder if there’s any difference between that one and the Sideswipe. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. says

    Melissa, this recipe is great for people who like baking with sour cream, but I think your best bet would be to just pick a different recipe. This one is a lot like the Chocolate Butter Cake, so you may want to try that one. Yogurt works as a sour cream substitute in a lot of things, but I don’t think it would work in this cake because the sour cream adds so much of the fat the cake needs.

  7. Louise says

    I have the 90th Anniversary KA with the glass bowl with the dimple in the bottom. I haven’t seen a need for a scraper. Am I missing something?

  8. says

    Thanks for the Sideswipe and Metroblade feedback. I went ahead and added a link to the Metroblade since that’s the one people seem to like.

    Louise, now that I’m baking so many cakes, I can see the use for a blade. I probably wouldn’t have considered it if all I made were cookies, but some cakes require a long beating time and if you have a blade scraping the bowl for you then you can perform other tasks while it does the scraping.

  9. Louise says

    But my bowl isn’t just round on the bottom like some I’ve seen. It has an upward blip in the center and the beaters run around it so there doesn’t seem to be a need to scrape.

  10. says

    I think that there is a need, I’ve had some cake batters be ready, or at least seem to be, then I pour them in and there is unmixed batter in the bottom. I don’t have the glass bowl for my KitchenAid, but the metal bowl still has the divot in the bottom.

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