Home » Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

This cake is moist and chocolatey with a slight sourdough tang. A tall glass of milk and a slice of Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake is what dreams are made of. The perfect way to use up extra sourdough discard.

Frosted Sourdough Chocolate Cake

I’ll be honest, this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made, and I used to make and sell cakes as a side gig. This sourdough discard chocolate cake is extremely moist, yet not too heavy or dense. In fact it is incredibly light and tender. With a deep chocolaty flavor and a rich chocolate butter cream frosting, this recipe makes the perfect birthday cake for the chocolate lover in your life. Once you try it I’m sure you will agree this cake is sinfully delicious.

This recipe is made with sourdough discard. If you’re not sure what sourdough discard is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn how to make your own sourdough starter. Sourdough discard not only helps give this cake a little extra body, it adds a slight tang that couples perfectly with its deep chocolaty flavor. If you are looking for a new favorite chocolate cake recipe, I think you’ve found it.

Sourdough Chocolate Cake Ingredients

Ingredients for the Cake

  • All-purpose Flour – Flour is the heart and soul of any great cake! I used unbleached organic all-purpose flour to make this Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake.
  • Sugar – Sugar is what makes this cake so sweet and yummy! I like to use organic cane sugar when baking.
  • Cocoa Powder – You can’t make a chocolate cake without the chocolate! Use unsweetened non-dutch cocoa powder for best results.
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda helps lift the cake and neutralizes the acids in the cocoa powder, coffee, and sourdough discard.
  • Baking Powder – Baking powder also helps to leaven this recipe. For best results be sure to use both baking soda and baking powder.
  • Salt –  Using salt in sweet recipes helps to enhance the flavor, but don’t worry it won’t make your cake salty. I like to use sea salt and celtic salt in most of my baking.
  • Milk – Added milk makes helps to thin out the batter and make the cake moist. For best results use full fat milk.
  • Coconut Oil – Oil is needed to ensure the final cake is moist because cocoa powder is very drying. I use coconut oil in most of my recipes for health reasons, but any oil will work. Don’t use butter as a substitute in this recipe.
  • Eggs – Eggs help give the cake body and structure. Make sure your eggs are room temperature when making the batter. If you forgot to bring them to room temperature before you started mixing don’t worry! Just place your cold eggs in a bowl of hot water for three minutes to bring them to temperature.
  • Vanilla – Choose real vanilla over imitation to ensure the best flavor and cleanest ingredients.
  • Sourdough Discard – Sourdough discard adds a touch of fermented goodness and a slight tang to this recipe. If you don’t have a sourdough starter but would like to learn how to make one, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter recipe.
  • Coffee – Hot coffee enhances the chocolate flavor of this cake and also helps to dissolve the cocoa powder. If you don’t consume caffeine try using a decaf coffee as a substitute.

Ingredients for the Frosting

  • Butter – When making frosting, use room temperature butter. To check if your butter is soft enough press your finger into it. If you can push through it without any resistance it is ready.
  • Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar is necessary for any frosting recipe. Sift the powdered sugar to ensure your frosting is lump free.
  • Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder makes this buttercream rich and chocolaty.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla adds a nice depth to the flavor of the frosting.
  • Milk – Milk thins out the frosting enough to make it creamy and spreadable.
a slice of Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

How to Make Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

Make the cake

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease and flour two 9″ cake pans then set them aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until fully combined.

In a different mixing bowl, mix together the milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sourdough discard. Whisk until the sourdough discard is fully dissolved and everything is fully incorporated.

While stirring continuously, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until the batter is as lump free as possible. Pour the hot coffee in and stir, scraping down the sides as needed, until your ingredients are fully combined. The batter will be very thin, this is just how we want it!

Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Make the Frosting

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the room temperature butter until it is smooth and creamy.

Mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time until about half of it is incorporated into the butter. Then add in the vanilla and milk. This will thin out the frosting and allow you to more easily incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar.

Alternate adding the remaining powdered sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Assemble the Cake

Once the layers are completely cooled, you can assemble and frost the cake. Set one layer on cake plate flat side facing up. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting evenly across the cake layer.

Place the second layer on top of the first with the flat side facing down. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

sourdough discard chocolate cake.

Tips for Making Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

  • Use room temperature ingredients – When making this discard cake use room temperature eggs, milk, and sourdough discard. Room temperature ingredients will bind together better than cold ingredients, resulting in a lighter and taller final product.
  • Use fresh ingredients – The combination of baking soda and baking powder in this recipe is necessary to leaven the cake and neutralize the acids brought in from the coffee, cocoa powder, and sourdough discard. Make sure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh for the best results.
  • Use non-dutch cocoa powder – Dutch cocoa powder is not as acidic as non-dutch cocoa powder because of the way it is processed. Using dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe can result in a sunken or flat cake, because it won’t react with the baking soda to lift your cake. If uncertain organic cocoa powder is a safe choice.
  • Don’t over mix the batter – Over mixing the batter can can cause too much gluten development, resulting in a cake that is tough and rubbery. Avoid over mixing to keep your chocolate cake light and tender.
  • Don’t overbake the cake – Overbaking can cause your cake to come out dry.

How to Store Sourdough Chocolate Cake

This sourdough discard chocolate cake will stay moist for days if stored properly. Keep this cake frosted in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to a week. If refrigerating, bring the cake to room temperature before serving for the best texture.

If you want to make this cake ahead of time you can freeze it. To do this tightly wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap after they have completely cooled and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready frost the cake, pull the layers out of the freezer and allow them to thaw fully before assembling.

slice of sourdough chocolate cake with a bite taken out of it

More Sourdough Discard Recipes to Try

Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake

4.3 from 170 votes
Recipe by Samantha Citro
Servings

8

servings
Cooking time

40

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

This cake is moist and fudgy with a slight sourdough tang. A tall glass of milk and a slice of Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake is what dreams are made of. This recipe is the perfect way to use up extra sourdough discard.

Ingredients

  • The cake
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (190g)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)

  • 3/4 cup non-dutch cocoa powder (75g)

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (8g)

  • 1 tsp baking powder (6g)

  • 1 tsp fine salt (8g)

  • 3/4 cup whole milk (200g)

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (100g)

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

  • 3/4 cup coffee, freshly brewed (180g)

  • 1 cup sourdough discard (300g)

  • The Frosting
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (360g)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

  • 3 tbs milk (45g)

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (34g)

Directions

  • Make the Cake
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease and flour two 8″ cake pans then set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until fully combined.
  • In a different mixing bowl, mix together the milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sourdough discard. Whisk until the sourdough discard is fully dissolved and everything is fully incorporated.
  • While stirring continuously, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until the batter is as lump free as possible. Pour the hot coffee in and stir, scraping down the sides as needed, until your ingredients are fully combined. The batter will be very thin, this is just how we want it!
  • Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Make the Frosting
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the room temperature butter until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time until about half of it is incorporated into the butter. Then add in the vanilla and milk. This will thin out the frosting and allow you to more easily incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar.
  • Alternate adding the remaining powdered sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Assemble the Cake
  • Once the layers are completely cooled, you can assemble and frost the cake. Set one layer on cake plate flat side facing up. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting evenly across the cake layer.
  • Place the second layer on top of the first with the flat side facing down. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Notes

  • This recipe is made with sourdough discard. If you’re not sure what sourdough discard is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn how to make your own sourdough starter.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @madeinmotherood on Instagram and hashtag it with #madeinmotherhood

Like this recipe?

Follow @madeinmotherhood on Pinterest

32 Comments

  1. This was literally the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Does this recipe need the coffee??

  3. Is there a substitute for coffee??

  4. This is so good! Made it in a 9 x 13 pan and cooked for the 40 minutes. Will make again. Delicious!

  5. Cheryl Schmidt

    A fabulous recipe and I learned a thing or two. Eggs, milk and sourdough starter at room temp for a lighter, fluffier cake; and it was!! The texture and flavor are amazing.
    Thanks

  6. Has anyone tried reducing the sugar? Will it affect the cake if I halve it?

  7. Rebecca Pitre

    Fantastic tasting cake! Bookmarked this one for sure and will definitely be using this recipe again and again.
    I don’t have 8 inch pans but this rich dense cake worked beautifully in my in 9 inch pans. It baked great and looked very elegant.
    Has anyone every frozen this cake? I’m gonna give it a try. ( Just the layers no frosting).

  8. I made this cake and it came out really dense. Perhaps because my ingredients were not at room temperature? Still delicious – iced with buttercream cream cheese frosting.
    Will definitely try again!

  9. This is a fantastic cake, very moist and not too rich or too sweet. I will certainly bake it again. My sourdough had only wholegrain flour, the results were much better than I expected. Thank you so for sharing this recipe.

  10. Would it work to do a long fermentation with this cake? Would I need to add the baking soda/powder after fermentation?

  11. I did this cake for my husband birthday and everyone was impressed with how moist and flavorful was. I’m thinking in making cupcakes for Valentines day any idea of how long the cooking time should be?

    • This recipe should convert to cupcakes wonderfully! Bake them for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

  12. Great cake, but mine overflowed from the 8” pans. I’ll use 9” next time. I did ferment the sourdough starter, oil, flour and coffee before mixing in the other ingredients.

    • Hey Nelda! The long ferment time most likely activated the yeast in the discard and gave your cake some extra umph! 9″ pans the next go-round sounds like a great idea.

    • Nelda,
      I’m very interested in making this recipe as it’s my daughter’s birthday this weekend and she’s obsessed with everything chocolate. I’m wondering, how long did you ferment the dough before adding the remaining ingredients?

  13. Yum! I need to try this recipe out for our next birthday party.

  14. Good recipe, easy to follow. The cake was kind of firm and not moist. The icing was too sweet for us; we had to add salt, milk, and more cocoa powder to make the icing less sweet.

    • Thanks for the feedback CC! If your cake came out on the firmer side be sure to check the expiration dates on your leavening agents, sometimes this can be the cause.

Leave a Comment

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

*