Kirbie's Cravings

The Best Chocolate Cake

This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. The cake has a rich and decadent chocolate flavor, with a moist and tender crumb.

photo of a The Best Chocolate Cake

I discovered this chocolate cake recipe when I first started my blog thanks to the help of a reader (thanks Meryl!) who read about my frustration over trying to find the best chocolate cake recipe. It still remains my go-to chocolate cake and is everything I look for in a chocolate cake.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • The cake has a deep chocolate flavor. I find that a lot of chocolate cake recipes have a very light chocolate flavor and rely more on the frosting for a more intense chocolate taste. But this cake is rich in chocolate flavor.
  • The rich chocolate flavor is achieved through a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate.
  • The espresso powder also helps to enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • The cake has a tight but very moist crumb. It is quite heavy and rich, so a small slice goes a long way.
  • The moist crumb comes from the sour cream. The cake is even moister the next day.

This cake is so good it doesn’t need anything else. I usually serve mine with just a dusting of powdered sugar. You can also add some whipped cream or ice cream, but it’s just as delicious on its own.

close-up photo of a slice of chocolate cake with a fork


  • Natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • Chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Espresso powder
  • Boiling water
  • Room temperature sour cream
  • All-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • Baking soda
  • Room temperature unsalted butter
  • Light brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Room temperature eggs
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

For this recipe you will need a 12-cup bundt pan, mixing bowls, and either a stand mixer or hand mixer.

Recipe Steps

In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the cocoa powder, chocolate, and espresso powder. Add boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let it cool to room temperature before mixing in the sour cream.

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.

In a large bowl (or stand mixer) beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.

At low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and half of the chocolate mixture. Mix just until combined and repeat this process until you’ve mixed in all of the dry ingredients and chocolate.

Pour the batter into a prepared bundt pan and bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F. Cool it in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack lined with parchment paper.

Once the cake is cooled, dust it with powdered sugar.

overhead photo of a chocolate cake

It’s hard to wait, but I think this chocolate cake tastes even better the next day. Leftover cake will keep for a few days at room temperature – just keep the cake tightly wrapped.

More Cake Recipes

sour cream chocolate cake

Best Chocolate Cake

Servings: 14
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
A rich, decadent chocolate bundt cake with a tender and moist crumb. This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe!


  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup water boiling
  • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) 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 packed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a standard 12-cup bundt pan with baking oil spray. 
  • Combine cocoa, chocolate, and espresso powder into a large glass mixing bowl. Pour boiling water over and quickly whisk until smooth.
  • Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Whisk in the sour cream. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. 
  • In a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on 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. Scrape down bowl as needed. 
  • Reduce speed to low. Add about one third of flour mixture and half of the chocolate mixture and mix until just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Scrape bowl and repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of the 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. Bake about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with only a few crumbs clinging. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto parchment-lined wire rack. 
  • Let cake cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.


  • This recipe is Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake. I followed the recipe exactly but the instructions have been rewritten.
  • Make sure your cooling surface is lined with parchment paper. Because the cake is so moist, it will stick to the surface if you do not use parchment paper.
  • This cake tastes even more chocolatey and moist the next day if you are able to wait.
  • Allow the cake to fully cool before dusting with powdered sugar, otherwise the powdered sugar will be absorbed into the cake. 

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.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

2 comments on “The Best Chocolate Cake”

  1. Can you mix this by hand and a spoon?
    I don’t have fancy electric kitchen equipment ?