Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Sourdough Chocolate Cake is moist, super-dark and slightly tangy. Top it with buttercream, whipped cream or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Everyone loves a moist and tender chocolate cake. You know what helps make a cake super tender and moist? Sourdough discard!

This isn’t a “fancy” chocolate cake with layers and special fillings. This is a yummy snack cake that you can throw together in just a couple of minutes. Go ahead and serve it straight from the pan with nothing more than a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Of course, you can also dress it up with a nice frosting and serve it to guests.

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

If you’ve got your discard ready to go, let’s get started….

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make this recipe:

photos showing prepared ingredients for sourdough chocolate cake
1. Mix the boiling water with the cocoa and set it aside to cool. 2. Gather all your ingredients to mix the batter.
two photos showing sourdough chocolate cake batter before and after mixing.
1. Add the starter to the egg mixture. 2. Add the cocoa and flour then pour the batter into the prepared pan.
two photos showing sourdough chocolate cake before and after baking.
1. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350F. 2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
showing how to transfer sourdough chocolate cake to a serving platter
Peel the parchment from the cooled cake. You can use the parchment to transfer the cake to a serving tray then slide the paper out from under the cake before decorating and serving.

Tips for making and storing Sourdough Chocolate Snack Cake:

  • A ripe unfed starter adds more tangy flavor to the cake. A recently fed starter gives a more mild flavor. I generally use mine after about 1 week without a feeding (kept in the refrigerator).
  • When you’re ready to mix the batter, the discard should be at room temperature just like all the other ingredients.
  • The recipe can be halved and baked in a 9″x9″ square pan.
  • If you plan to serve the cake straight from the pan you can skip lining the pan with parchment paper.
  • The cake keeps for several days at room temperature.
  • Sourdough cake is quite moist and can be eaten with or without frosting. It’s also nice served with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream and some fresh fruit.
  • Individual slices can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
A sprinkle of powdered sugar is all this cake needs.
This cake is also nice topped with chocolate or vanilla frosting.

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

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5 from 1 review

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Sourdough Chocolate Cake is moist, super-dark and slightly tangy. Top it with buttercream, whipped cream or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Prep Time25 minutes
Bake Time30 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
12 servings
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  • 2 oz Dutch process cocoa powder (½ cup)
  • 4 oz boiling water (½ cup)
  • 7 oz cake flour (1 ½ cups, see note)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 8 oz vegetable oil (1 cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 oz whole milk (½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 16 oz granulated sugar (2 cups)
  • 8 oz sourdough discard (1 cup)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter and flour a 13" x 9" cake pan or use pan spray. Line the pan with parchment paper long enough so that covers the bottom of the pan and hangs over two sides.
  • Put 2 oz Dutch process cocoa powder into a small heat-proof bowl. Whisk 4 oz boiling water into the cocoa. Set aside to cool while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Sift 7 oz cake flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon table salt, set aside.
  • Combine8 oz vegetable oil,4 large eggs,4 oz whole milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 16 oz granulated sugar in a mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed to combine the ingredients, continue mixing for 2-3 minutes to emulsify the ingredients. Add 8 oz sourdough discard and mix to combine.
  • With the mixer running on low, add the flour and then add the cocoa mixture. Mix until completely incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Use the parchment paper to slide the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or your favorite frosting. Cool completely before icing.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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  1. Hi there!

    Just reading through this recipe to try…

    I noticed this under the pictures “ 1. Add the starter and buttermilk to the egg mixture.”

    There isn’t any buttermilk listed in the recipe. Is that simply a typo or an omission in the recipe?


  2. Hi there,

    I’m just wondering why the cocoa powder is mixed into boiling water first in this recipe. In other chocolate cake recipes the cocoa is simply sifted into the dry ingredients. Thanks!

    1. Mixing the boiling water with the cocoa will “bloom” the flavor of the cocoa for a fuller chocolate flavor. It’s kind of like when you “bloom” spices in oil.

    1. Glass is not as good at conducting heat as metal is. So baking in a glass dish may add a few minutes to the baking time. But it should not be a problem, otherwise.

  3. Hi
    I have just made this cake. The mix seemed very wet, so I added an extra cup of flour, so 2 cups, rather than 1.5. It was still very wet. I baked it, but it doesn’t seem right. Is there a typo for the flour, should there be more?

    1. If you look at the process photos you will see that this is a wet batter. The flour amount is correct.