Whisk up the best chocolate sour cream pound cake from scratch. An easy, moist, and rich bundt cake with that timeless old-fashioned goodness.
This is one of those cakes that the whole family will love and they’ll be asking for it over and over.
This moist chocolate pound cake is a classic old-fashioned bundt cake rich in chocolaty flavor that everyone will love.
If you’ve never baked a scratch cake before, this is the perfect way to get started as it’s actually very easy to mix together and comes out moist and with the perfect texture every time.
This is a cake that’ll make you a household baking hero. It’s perfect for the family and for sharing at potlucks and get-togethers.
Quick disclaimer here: I know that technically, this recipe isn’t a ‘pound cake’. A classic pound cake is a pound of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. We’re not doing that here and that’s okay.
A lot of people call bundt cakes, pound cakes and use that term interchangeably now, so that’s what I’m doing with this one. It’ll be okay. If you don’t like the term pound cake, feel free to just call it a bundt cake, that’s okay too.
Now let’s talk about just some of the ingredients in this moist chocolate bundt cake. (The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
All-purpose flour: You’ll just use regular flour for this, which is great because you don’t have to worry about having any specialty flour.
Cocoa powder: This recipe calls for unsweetened natural cocoa powder. Don’t use Dutch processed as that is different and would mean other parts of the recipe would have to be changed.
Make sure to go down to the FAQ section where I go into a deeper explaination of this.
Brown sugar: I love using brown sugar in chocolate cake recipes. I think it just gives it a richer, more full flavor.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla is actual a wonderful addition to chocolate cakes. It just adds an extra bit of flavor and really helps to bring out the chocolate flavor as well.
Vegetable oil: This recipe calls for oil instead of butter. I love the taste of butter, but for this pound cake, oil really helps keep this pound cake moist.
Sour cream: Ok, this is the star ingredient. Sour cream just makes cakes super moist and gives them really good flavor. Don’t skip it.
Hot coffee or water: Yes, it’s another chocolate cake with hot coffee or hot water. The hot liquid helps the cocoa powder dissolve and that’s a good thing.
The coffee does NOT make the cake taste like coffee at all. It just really brings out the flavor of the chocolate, but don’t worry if you don’t have any or hate the idea of it. You can always use hot water instead and it’ll still taste good.
(Make sure to check out the FAQ section below in this post for ingredient and substitution questions.)
How to make this cake:
Let’s talk about how to make a chocolate pound cake with sour cream. (The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
First, preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a bundt pan very well.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugars. Whisk well and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the oil, vanilla, sour cream and eggs. (You’ll add the hot coffee or water later.) Mix well with a whisk, then add to the dry ingredients and mix on medium, then on medium-high until well combined.
You always want to make sure not to mix scratch cake batter too long, so watch that.
Add the hot coffee (or hot water) and mix until well combined. Be careful not to mix too long.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and mix for only about a few seconds more. The batter will be thin. That’s normal for this recipe.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 45-55 minutes. (Ovens will vary.)
Set the baked cake on a wire rack to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then turn it out onto a cake plate to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Just note that this glaze recipe makes a lot, so if you like only a light glaze, just make half of it.
Add the chocolate chips and milk to a saucepan, then melt over medium heat.
Melt and stir it until smooth and be very careful not to heat it at high heat or the chocolate will burn.
Check the consistency once melted and if it’s too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk and mix well, then check the consistency again.
Drizzle or spoon the glaze onto the cooled cake.
(Remember that the instructions will also be in the recipe card below.)
Tips & FAQS:
Don’t use Dutch processed cocoa as it isn’t acidic like cocoa powder and using it would cause the other ingredients to need to be adjusted. If you want more information about the different types of cocoa powder, see this post: Which Cocoa Powder Do I Use?
No, you don’t want to do that. Those are different and cannot be substituted for each other. If you’d like more information on the difference, check out this blog post: Baking Powder vs Baking Soda
You can use either light or dark brown sugar. I used light.
Sour cream is best in this recipe as it helps make a very moist cake and gives a little flavor. If you don’t have access to it, you can use plain yogurt, but use the full-fat yogurt instead of the low-fat or fat-free type.
You don’t, but just know that the cake will not have a coffee taste. The coffee just brings out the chocolate flavor. If you don’t like the idea of using it though, you can just use water and it will turn out just as tasty. Just make sure not to completely omit the liquid.
Feel free to add a cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter.
You can also add about a teaspoon of espresso powder to give it a mocha taste.
This cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
This cake can be made ahead of time and frozen if desired. Let the baked cake cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw, place the wrapped cake on the counter at room temperature and let thaw completely, then remove the wrapping. Once defrosted, add the glaze.
This cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for about 5 days. You can also store in the fridge, covered well, to prolong freshness.
Probably, but you would need to bake them at 350 degrees F, instead of 325. They will also take a lot less time to bake, so start checking at about 15 minutes or so.
If you want a chocolate cupcake recipe written specifically to bake as cupcakes, check out that recipe here: Best Chocolate Cupcakes
Yes, probably although I have not tried that. If you do try it, pour the batter into two, 8-inch round baking pans and bake at 325 degrees F and start checking at around 30 minutes or so, however it will probably take a bit longer to finish baking.
If you want a chocolate layer cake recipe written specifically to bake as a layer cake, check out this recipe here: Chocolate Butter Cake
Probably although I haven’t tried it out. If you do try it, pour the batter into two prepared loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees F and start checking at around 30 minutes or so, although it may need a bit more time.
This cake is best served at room temperature or warm. If cold, let it come to room temperature before serving, or pop a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly: spooned into the measuring cup and leveled off – don't scoop and pack the flour into the cup)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed-see why in the post FAQs)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup hot coffee or hot water
For the chocolate drizzle:
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (about a 12 ounce bag)
- ¼ cup milk or cream
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan very well.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugars. Whisk well and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the oil, vanilla, sour cream and eggs. (You’ll add the hot coffee or water later.) Mix well with a whisk, then add to the dry ingredients and mix on medium, then on medium-high until well combined. Be careful not to mix too long or your cake will turn out very dense and dry. Stop mixing once it's well combined.
- Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and add the hot coffee (or hot water) and mix until well combined. Be careful not to mix too long.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and mix for only about a few seconds more. The batter will be thin. That's normal for this recipe.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 45-55 minutes. (Ovens will vary.) A toothpick inserted into the cake will come out either clean or with a few moist crumbs on it, but no raw batter.
- Set on a wire rack to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate to cool completely.
- Add the glaze to the top of the cake once the cake has cooled completely.
For the glaze:
- This glaze recipe makes quite a bit, so if you only want a drizzle or a light glaze, then only make half the recipe.
- In a saucepan, add the chocolate chips and milk, then melt over medium heat. Melt and stir until smooth. Be very careful not to heat it at high heat or the chocolate will burn.
- Check the consistency once melted and if it's too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk and mix well, then check the consistency again. Repeat until the desired consistency is reached.
- Drizzle or spoon the glaze onto the cooled cake.
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