This old-fashioned chocolate sour cream pound cake is a moist, decadent, fudgy and irresistible cake with velvety chocolate ganache that will grace any occasion. This pound cake from my retro recipe collection will certainly give you a chocolate coma!
Chocolate lovers absolutely adore my Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake, Coca Cola Cake, Chocolate Chip Muffins, Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake and Easy Chocolate Brownies.
I love my collection of old, traditional and tried-and-true recipes passed on to us from the older generations. This is one of those recipes.
Table of Contents
- why this recipe works?
- history of pound cakes
- sour cream in baking
- dutch process cocoa vs. regular cocoa powder
- greasing the bundt cake properly
- ingredients & substitutions for chocolate sour cream pound cake
- how to make chocolate sour cream pound cake
- serving suggestions
- pro tips
- common questions
- how to store
- related cake recipes
why this recipe works?
- This is an old classic recipe that is always a hit.
- Anyone can bake this cake as it is super easy to put together.
- Enjoy the cake with a cup of tea or coffee.
- The cake has a moist, soft, light and a fluffy crumb that just melts-in-the-mouth.
- Serve this cake at any occasion or gathering and it will be the star.
- The ganache will enhance the taste of this amazingly delicious and moist chocolate cake.
history of pound cakes
Who doesn’t like a pound cake? I am always ready to bake one because of its perfect tender crumb and heavenly taste.
- origination: pound cakes originated in the 1700’s by the British. The original recipe was simple and based on the simple ratio of 1:1:1:1 of four ingredients, which meant one pound of flour, eggs, butter and sugar each. That's how and why it was called a ‘pound cake’.
- tweak in recipe over the centuries: with time this centuries old easy recipe was tweaked and we got much lighter versions of pound cake such as Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Old Fashioned Sour Cream Pound Cake.
sour cream in baking
One of the key ingredients of this cake is sour cream.
- content of sour cream: the sour cream is made by thickening the cream using the lactic acid bacteria.
- adds moisture & tender crumb: Sour cream adds moisture to bakes without thinning the batter which results in a fresh, tender and a very fine crumb. It also adds a tangy flavor to the bakes.
- fat: The sour cream has higher fat content as compared to other dairy products. One cup of buttermilk and whole milk has 8 grams of fat while one cup of sour cream contains 45 grams of fats. The high ratio of fat in sour cream gets the moist crumb.
- acid: Sour cream is also acidic in nature that helps with the tenderizing of the gluten strands in the cake, resulting in a fine and light crumb.
- baking soda: Most of the recipes using sour cream will also add baking soda. The acid in the sour cream reacts with the baking soda and gives a good rise to the bake.
dutch process cocoa vs. regular cocoa powder
You may use both types of cocoa powder but I prefer the Dutch Process Cocoa. Here is why.
- Alkali VS Alkaline: The Dutch-process powder (also known as the alkalized cocoa) is processed with alkali whereas the regular cocoa powder is alkaline in nature.
- Color: Dutch process cocoa has a noticeably darker hue and the tone for natural cocoa powder is noticeably milder. The dark hue gives a dark color to the chocolate cake that cannot be achieved with regular cocoa powder.
- Reaction with Leavening Agents: Dutch-process cocoa powder does not react with leavening agents like baking soda (which is alkaline and releases carbon dioxide) or baking powder because the Dutch-process cocoa powder is not alkaline in nature.
- For rich, dense and an intense chocolate flavor, use Dutch-process cocoa powder.
greasing the bundt cake properly
- Spray the Pan: Generously grease the Bundt pan with a baking spray (with flour in it) to get the cake to slide down easily from the pan without a hassle.
If you grease the pan with baking spray beforehand (like we traditionally do before preparing the batter) the oil will collect in the bottom of the pan and you might have issues in getting the cake out without damage. (See picture below.)
- Butter & Flour Method: Grease the pan with oil or butter using a pastry brush and then generously coat cocoa powder on the oil/butter coating. White flour can leave white patches on the dark chocolate cake, do not use it.
ingredients & substitutions for chocolate sour cream pound cake
Pro Tip # 1
Always use room temperature ingredients for baking (unless otherwise specified) as they incorporate better and give perfect baked treats.
- All-purpose flour: provides structure to this cake. Substitute all-purpose flour with almond flour or any other gluten free flour to make this cake gluten-free.
- Cocoa powder: use high quality Dutch Cocoa powder.
- Baking soda: leavening agent for this cake.
- Salt: enhances the flavor of this cake.
- Butter: helps with the rise of the cake and creates a light and tender crumb.
- Granulated sugar:sweetens the cake.
- Eggs: binds the batter together.
- Sour Cream: fat content helps to keep the cake moist. Substitute it with full-fat yogurt in 1:1 ratio.
- Hot Water: gives moisture to the cake and helps to fluffier and and soft cake.
- Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet or dark): use high-quality chocolate chips.
- Heavy whipping cream: use fresh heavy whipping cream for this ganache.
Pro Tip # 2
Always use a digital scale to measure all-purpose flour and other dry ingredients for perfect results. Scooping it out directly using cups may result in uneven amount of dry ingredients and dense bakes.
- Berries: Serve the cake with any berries of your choice. Pair it with strawberries, blackberries and/or blueberries.
how to make chocolate sour cream pound cake
These are basic process shots for this recipe. For detailed instructions refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in eggs and mix until well-incorporated.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix.
4. Add sour cream and combine.
5. Add the hot water to the batter and mix with electronic mixer at high speed for about a minute until well incorporated.
6. Spray a 10-inch Bundt cake with baking spray and pour the batter in the Bundt Pan.
7. Bake the cake for about 60 - 70 minutes at 325 F. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Let the cake cool.
8. Prepare and pour over the chocolate ganache on the cake.
- Dollop of Whipped Cream: Serve this chocolate cake with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Ice-Cream: Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or any other ice-cream of your choice with a slice of cake.
Sift the Cocoa Powder: Sift the cocoa powder to remove any lumps for a smooth batter.
Let the Cake Cool Down: Once the bake is done, let the cake cool on the wire rack for at least 30 minutes before applying the ganache.
Hot Water: The recipe asks for hot water in the last step. Do not use boiling water or it will cook the eggs in the batter.
We bake this cake at 325 F. Pound cakes are heavier with a dense crumb and therefore require more time in the oven to cook properly. This cake will take anywhere from 70 – 90 minutes to bake at 325 F.
I always find this cake tastes better the next day of baking. Somehow, the ingredients fuse better overnight. My two cents are to make this cake ahead of time to fully enjoy it.
One possible reason is adding more flour then required in the recipe. Scooping out the flour using a cup may result in adding more flour in the batter which will result in a dry cake. Invest in a digital scale and always weigh your flour for accurate results in baking.
how to store
- This cake will stay fresh in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Do not put ganache if you want to serve it a day or two later. It is better to make fresh ganache.
- The cake will keep fresh for up to a week in an air-tight container.
- To freeze, cut the cake into pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, further add a layer of foil. Freeze the individual pieces before stashing them together in an airtight jar or a zip-loc bag. This cake is safe to freeze for upto 3 months.
Note: Freeze the cake without ganache. Let the cake thaw overnight in fridge or on the counter when you want to serve.
related cake recipes
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Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
- 1 10'' Bundt pan.
- 1 Electric Mixer
- 2 Bowls
- 1 Rubber Spatula
- 1 Whisk
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- 1 Digital Scale
Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
- 3 cup all-purpose flour (360 g)
- ½ cup dutch process cocoa powder (50 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (4 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup butter (340 g) room temperature
- 3 cup granulated sugar (600 g)
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream (240 g)
- ¾ cup water (236 ml) boiling
- 1 ⅓ cup chocolate chips (225 g)
- 1 cup heavy cream (240 g)
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Take a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Take a large bowl and beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in eggs and mix until well-incorporated.
- Now add dry ingredients and sour cream until combined well.
- Add the boiling water to the batter and mix with electronic mixer at high speed for about a minute until it is well-incorporated.
- Spray a 10-inch Bundt cake with baking spray right and pour the batter in the Bundt pan.
- Bake the cake for about 1 – 1 hour 10 minutes at 325F. Every oven is different and mine takes about 1 hour. Check by inserting a tooth-pick to the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
- Take out the cake and allow it to cool in the pan for30 minutes.
- Take a heavy sauce pan and heat the heavy cream just until it starts to simmer and there are small bubbles on the surface. DO NOT BOIL the heavy cream.
- Take another bowl and add chocolate morsels in the bowl. Pour over the heavy cream on it and mix until combined well. Let the ganache cool down for 10 minutes and then pour it over the cake.