Use your discard sourdough starter to make this rich, moist sourdough chocolate cake topped with an easy and delicious chocolate frosting.
Don’t worry; there’s no sourdough taste. You don’t even have to share your secret ingredient 😉. All the normal people in your life will just know it’s the best chocolate cake they’ve ever tasted.
You’ll the fact that you don’t need a stand mixer or anything fancy here. Just pantry ingredients and a hot water method for an extra moist cake.
One of my most beloved sourdough discard recipes.
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup discard sourdough starter
- ¼ sour cream
- 1 cup boiling water
For the frosting
- ½ cup 1 stick melted butter
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup milk
- Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Add wet ingredients. Add the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and sourdough starter. Stir to form a thick batter. Pour in the cup of boiling water and stir well until a smooth batter forms.
- Bake. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a few crumbs. (The top may crack.)
- Cool. Cover cake with a clean tea towel and allow it to cool directly in the pan. Cool completely before frosting.
- Frost and serve. To make the frosting, combine the melted butter and cocoa in a large mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and milk, alternating with each other, and beat with an electric mixer until a smooth frosting forms. Frost the cake and serve directly out of the pan.
Notes about ingredients you’ll need for this cake
Sourdough discard. The sourdough starter adds a richness to the cake that is somewhat like a cake made with buttermilk: not sour, but definitely delicious.
Cocoa. We always use Hershey’s for the cocoa; no need to get fancy!
Sour cream. It helps make your cake extra moist and takes the place of milk in this recipe.
Everything else is just pantry ingredients!
👩🍳 Tips for the best sourdough cake
Lumpy Batter. The batter will seem very thick and lumpy. That’s okay, just stir it up the best you can.
Hot water When you add the water and mix up the batter well. It will magically smooth out as you stir and look like a “normal” cake batter.
Pan Lining: You can also line the 9×13 pan with parchment paper for easier removal and cutting.
Check for Doneness: Oven temperatures can vary. Start checking the cake around the 30-minute mark to avoid overbaking.
Frosting Texture: If your frosting turns out too thick, you can add a tablespoon or so of milk to reach your desired consistency. Conversely, if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.
Absolutely! You should get about 24 cupcakes. Start checking for doneness at 20 minutes, and be sure to use cupcake liners.
Yes, but the recipe will fill about 1.5 loaf pans. You could always double it and get 3 loaves!
You can substitute creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, or more sourdough starter.
Replace the eggs with flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2.5 tbsp water per egg), and use dairy-free sour cream.
Storing Leftover Cake
Any leftovers will keep well, tightly covered, in the fridge for 5 days or so, or at room temperature for about 3 days.
If you’d like to freeze your leftovers, I recommend wrapping individual slices in plastic wrap and sticking them all in a zipper-top bag. They come out quite well! Just let them defrost on the counter.
📘 Related Recipes
- Sourdough lemon cake is soooo good and can even work as a breakfast.
- Carrot cake cupcakes with sourdough starter are one of our favorites and are topped with the most delicious cream cheese frosting.
- Coffee cake with discard starter requires your stand mixer, but is so tender and topped with cinnamon sugar.