Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

It's chocolate, it's cake, 
it's simply scrumptious 
& I love it! 

A little over a week ago I shared a post on how to start your own sourdough starter. If you haven't seen the post, check it out. I spent about 6 months looking into different methods and techniques until I found a starter method which consistently worked. Once you start maintaining your own sourdough starter you'll find yourself with quite a bit of excess. This is because you discard part of your starter each time you feed it, which happens 1-3 times per day. You could pitch the extra starter or preferably utilize it in a variety of sourdough recipes, this can include bread, donuts, muffins, crackers, pancakes and so forth. As you become accustom to using sourdough starter, you'll find yourself gradually incorporating it into your baking more and more.

The use of a sourdough starter in baked goods, particularly bread, has a history that begins about 6,000 years ago during the time of the Egyptians. Here in the United States, it's believed that the first sourdough starter made it's way over in the hold of Columbus' ship. One of the wonderful benefits of incorporating this naturally-fermented form of leavening is its ability to break down the anti-nutrients that exist in grains. This is best done by allowing the flour to soak with the starter for overnight or longer. I will say the chocolate cake recipe I have included doesn't take advantage of allowing the flour to soak overnight, however you are still using a naturally fermented product in your baked food and you are able to avoid baking powder, which can contain aluminum.

This sourdough cake is easy enough to throw together and much healthier and tastier than the standard box cake. If you are wondering if the cake is sour in flavor, it's not. Actually, you'd probably not even know that it's made with a starter, and even whole wheat flour, unless someone told you. That's one of the things I love about it. So sit back, relax and let me show you how to make this great cake. :-)

What You'll Need
For 2 - 8" or 9" cakes
*all ingredients should be at room temperature*
1 cup butter
 2 cups white sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the icing
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3 cups powder sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Getting Started
For the cake
1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Line the bottom of your two round cake pans with parchment paper, also grease and dust the sides and bottom of the cake pans with a thin coat of cocoa powder. Shake any excess cocoa powder out.

2. In a large bowl cream together your soft butter and sugar for 3-10 minutes using a hand mixer. The longer your cream the sugar and butter together the lighter your cake will be in the end.

3. Add eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, blending them in for about 10-15 seconds between each addition.

4. Add the sourdough starter and blend on low just until mixed, then set bowl aside.

5. In a separate smaller bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a third bowl mix milk and vanilla extract.

6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts. Use a hand mixer on low to mix ingredients together, starting and ending with the flour.

7. Split batter in half between the two cake pans and cook in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

8. Remove cakes from pans and allow to thoroughly cool on racks before icing.

For the icing
1. In a large bowl cream together all ingredients until light and creamy. 

Note: If your powdered sugar tends to be lumpy (which for me is almost the case when I use organic powdered sugar) sift it before using it in the icing. It's very difficult to get the icing completely smooth otherwise.

2. Once cake has completely cooled spread icing between the two layers and on the top layer. Garnish with almond slivers.

Note: If you want to ice the sides of your cake too, you will probably want to do 1 1/2 times the original recipe.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my post. I hope you will also take a moment and cast me a vote in Project Food Blog. Voting opens Monday, November 15th. Simple click HERE to vote!


  1. Great job on this. You look relaxed and natural. Best wishes!

  2. Fabulous recipe and great video. Well done!

  3. From the music to your soothing voice...your video was perfect. I've been looking forward to seeing your clip all week. I would have never thought of adding a sourdough starter to a chocolate cake, but the idea is brilliant! Thank you for sharing. I hope your week brims with hope and joy.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us, and great job with the video! Best of luck in the challenge! :)

  5. Therese, you did wonderful! I knew you would be including something sourdough... this was perfect! It was fun "meeting" you and I wish you all the best!!! Have a great week!

  6. Great video! You're a natural. I also make chocolate sourdough cake using Wardeh's recipe for soaking it overnight. Delish.

  7. You're a natural! I love the colourful backdrop too. Great choice! Your ingredient subtitles were very helpful too. Very well put together video! Good luck in the challenge!

  8. Argggh. I don't know what's going on this is my third attempt at a message and my computer keeps sending me back to the beginning. I hope there aren't three messages here. But I am trying to say. Great job. You are a natural and I hope you keep doing videos. GREG

  9. This is a really interesting video! Chocolate cake is such a staple in our North American diet, I was wondering how you would bring it to the next level. Your video not only made me hungry for chocolate cake, but made me want to try to make my own sourdough starter! I'm sure this addition must bring a deeper flavor to the cake. Your instructions are very clear and the video is well edited. Very good job, I love it!

  10. OMG I love this recipe and you've done a great job sharing it in this video. I agree that you should definitely do more are very natural on camera :) ps I love your haircut.

  11. extra points for using a sourdough starter! excellent video - your cake looks scrumptious! good luck!

  12. I like the fact that we first saw YOU then the video camera showed the actual preparation of making the cake. Very well done...informative!

  13. WOW - i loved your video. The music was great and loved your set up. Very simple and classic. You got my vote.

  14. Great job on this video. It was easy to follow and inspiring! You have my vote!

  15. I think it's amazing that you make your own sourdough starter. I wonder if I can do it here, since it's so humid. I feel like it would go bad so fast! Sourdough chocolate cake seems like a very good reason to start a sourdough.

  16. I love the homey feel you've created in your video -- comforting!

  17. Superb job on your video! I learned a lot and can't wait to try this out for my family! Good luck in the this round - I hope you go all the way!

  18. Therese, great job on the video and on a terrific recipe. I have really enjoyed all of your food projects---you are very creative!

  19. Therese: you are delightful. I am impressed by how unique this cake is, with the sourdough and organic sugar.

  20. The cake looks awesome. I have intentions of starting a sourdough starter. It hasn't happened yet, but hopefully soon. This cake will have to be put on the list to make.

    Nice work on the video. It helps me to see someone actually doing it versus just reading a recipe.

  21. Excellent work! I've been searching for the perfect sourdough chocolate cake recipe and this looks like the one! I'll try it very soon. And I'm casting a vote for you right now!

  22. Thank you all for the wonderful comments. It's very encouraging especially when I was so nervous about doing this video!

    Tara - You'll have to send me your recipe if you see this comment. Next time I'm making sourdough cake I'm going to try it with a soaking version, however for this video I thought I made better sense to keep things in a little more familiar territory.

    Mariko - you should totally try making your own starter. I wouldn't worry about the humidity. People make sourdough starter all over the world and in all different types of climates. If anything you may have to just feed it more often, like 3 times a day because of the warmth. If you keep it in a clean container, even with the humidity you shouldn't have a mold issue. Frankly it will probably like the extra moisture.

    Sorry I can't respond to every comment, but again thank you, thank you, thank you! :-D

  23. Really great video, and your cake does sound delicious, love that it is made with sourdough!
    Good luck!

  24. You are definitely a natural on camera! Beautiful cake!

  25. I like the way you gave specific instructions and explained why you were doing what you were doing. Your setting was also very pretty.

  26. Love your blog! Will add this recipe to my try-it file immediately.

  27. This looks delicious! I can't wait to try it out.

  28. Hey Therese, I see that you said you were going to try doing this recipe but with soaking your flour with the starter. Have you tried this yet? I'm making one right now that you soak 8 hours. I would love to make your recipe but I'm also interested in souring it at least 8 hours.

  29. Hi, no I haven't tried making it by soaking the flour yet, but I might do that this week. I've been in a chocolate sort of mood lately, so might as well make some sourdough chocolate cake!

    I'll let you know how it turns out.


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