Two weeks ago I tried out a sour cream chocolate cake recipe, in my hunt to find the perfect chocolate cake. The recipe was easy to put together and it was fluffy and moist but was missing a deep chocolate taste. I got a comment from a reader, Meryl, who recommended the sour cream chocolate cake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Meryl was also kind enough to email me helpful tips on making the cake, and suggesting that I serve it with whipped cream.
The recipe had a few extra steps compared to the other chocolate cake recipes I’ve tried, as well as a few extra ingredients. But if it was really that good, then I guess it would be worth the extra effort.
It wasn’t hard to put together, but there were a lot of steps. And for some reason, I was making quite a mess and managed to feed my clothes a bit of chocolate batter. Meryl had commented that the cake tastes even richer the next day, after letting it sit, but I couldn’t wait that long. I could barely wait for the cake to finish cooling!
I served the cake with whipped cream, which I thought was the perfect complement to the cake. The cake is moist and had a very rich, decadent, chocolate taste. I think any icing would be too much for the cake. The whipped cream is light and not too sweet and helps the cake from being too overwhelmingly rich. I enjoyed the cake, and think it’s my favorite chocolate cake recipe so far. My siblings, who have tasted the various chocolate cake recipes, liked the cake a lot too. Little Sis, who loves chocolate flavored desserts, was especially excited to try this cake and enjoyed it.
I followed the recipe as written, except that I didn’t do the cake release. Instead, I just used some baking spay.
Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Cake
Cake Release (see note)
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- 3/4 cup (2.25-oz) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder optional
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups (8.75-oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups (14-oz) light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-cup bundt can with baking spray or follow the instruction below for the cake release.
Prepare the Cake Release (optional)
- Stir together butter and cocoa in small bowl until paste forms; using a pastry brush, coat all interior surfaces of standard 12-cup Bundt pan.
Make the Cake
- Combine cocoa, chocolate, and espresso powder (if using) in medium heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature; then whisk in sour cream.
- Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in second bowl to combine.
- In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, mixing about 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down bowl with rubber spatula after first 2 additions.
- Reduce to medium-low speed; add about one-third of flour mixture and half of chocolate/sour cream mixture and mix until just incorporated about 20 seconds. Scrape bowl and repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining chocolate mixture; add remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated about 10 seconds. Scrape bowl and mix on medium-low until batter is thoroughly combined about 30 seconds.
- Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan, being careful not to pour batter on sides of pan. Bake until wooden skewer inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto parchment-lined wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Dust with confectioners' sugar, transfer to serving platter, and cut into wedges.
- I used a baking pan spray to prepare the pan and didn't do the cake release part, but I have included the instructions.
- Recipe found on Odd Muse
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.