Sourdough Chocolate Cake

This Sourdough Chocolate Cake is rich and moist and there is just something impressive about a three layer cake. It’s my most requested birthday cake!

Three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

This post may contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

Why Sourdough Chocolate Cake?

I love incorporating sourdough into as much of my baking as possible. If you are feeding your sourdough starter every day (sometimes twice a day) like I do, you may have lots of sourdough discard. Don’t actually “discard” it! It is great in lots of quick recipes and adds such great flavor! 

sourdough chocolate cake pinterest pin graphic

What is the difference between sourdough starter and sourdough discard?

Sourdough starter is fed and active. It’s bubbly and growing. When the starter has “eaten” up all of the flour and water, it starts to fall. The starter is now hungry and not an active starter; it is discard. I typically use discard for this recipe, but you can use active starter. Discard is usually thinner in consistency than active starter.

Slice of chocolate cake on plate

How to make a moist, fluffy cake

It is important to cream together the butter and sugar. When you cream them together it adds air to the mixture and that helps to make your cake fluffy. Adding sour cream to this cake recipe helps to add richness and moisture. Also adding boiling water to the cake batter helps to activate the baking soda and makes it work quickly.

Can you make cupcakes with this Sourdough Chocolate Cake recipe?

Yes! It makes about 36 cupcakes.

ingredients for sourdough chocolate cake

Ingredients you will need:

  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • eggs
  • Sourdough starter/discard
  • vanilla
  • Flour – I use all purpose
  • Cocoa powder
  • baking soda
  • Salt
  • Sour cream
  • Boiling water

Tools you will need:

How to make Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven for 350 degrees and prepare baking pans. Butter and flour three 9 inch round cake pans.

Next, cream butter and brown sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer. Mix on medium/high speed until butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy – about 2-3 minutes. 

kitchen aide stand mixer with creamed butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in mixing bowl.

Add eggs, vanilla, and sourdough starter/discard and blend together.

dry ingredients for chocolate cake

Then combine all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Alternate dry ingredients and sour cream. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then 1/3 of the sour cream. Make sure that the dry ingredients and the sour cream are mixed in before adding more. Mix just until all ingredients are combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure that all the dry ingredients are mixed in properly. 

Chocolate cake batter

Lastly, fold in the boiling water. Make sure you start slow when folding in the boiling water. You don’t want it to splash out of the bowl.

chocolate cake batter

Divide the cake batter between the three 9 inch round cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when poked into the center of the cake. You can also test with the touch method. If you lightly press the center of the cake with your finger and it bounces back up, it is done. If it leaves an imprint in the cake it is not done baking.

Let cake cool in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting cake.

chocolate frosted cake

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Fluffy, sweet, chocolaty goodness! This Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe makes the perfect amount for a three layer cake.

Best Sourdough Chocolate Cake Recipe with 3 Layers

This Sourdough Chocolate Cake is not only so moist and delicious, but it's three layers always make it seem extra special. Perfect for a Birthday Cake!
Print Recipe
Slice of 3 layer chocolate cake on plate with fork


  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • cup sourdough starter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cup flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 T baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup boiling water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9 inch cake pans.
  • Cream together butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer with paddle attachment.
  • Add eggs, sourdough starter, and vanilla.
  • Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl.
  • Add about a 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Then add ⅓ of the sour cream and mix.
  • Keep alternately adding dry mixture and sour cream until it is all mixed in.
  • Lastly fold in 2/3 cup of boiling water to the cake batter.
  • Divide the batter into 3 nine inch cake pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 min until toothpick comes out clean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating