Sourdough Chocolate Cake

 Yes, we have joined the ranks of pandemic-crazed bakers making breads and cakes from scratch. We are feeding our sourdough starter and baking bread weekly, but we also have a container of sourdough discard in the fridge. Every time the starter gets fed, we take a cup of starter out. It can be used immediately or stored in the fridge until we're ready to bake. Discard can be used to make pancakes, muffins, biscuits, even cake!

When I found this recipe for sourdough chocolate cake on the King Arthur Flour website, I knew I had to try it. I love chocolate (who doesn't!?!) and I tend to like baked goods that are not too sweet. I thought sourdough would be a perfect combination with chocolate.

Before baking the cake, I read all the comments on the recipe. Many people complained that the cake was too sweet. The recipe calls for a cup and a half of sugar. I initially reduced it to just a half cup. But when I tasted the batter, it really didn't taste sweet at all. So I added another 1/4 cup of sugar and decided this was the right amount. The cake is sweet enough, but not overly sweet.

The original recipe suggests a coffee flavored buttercream frosting. I prefer my cakes unfrosted as frosting is almost always WAY too sweet for me. If you're a fan of sweeter cakes, make a buttercream!  Or just sprinkle some confectioner's sugar over the top. Another option might be to add a cup of chocolate chips to the batter.

I also made a few more changes to the original recipe. I cut the fat down to a half cup from a whole cup. I switched out a cup of regular flour for a cup of almond flour and used whole wheat instead of unbleached. Our sourdough starter is made from unbleached flour, so the end product has a mix of 3 different flours.


  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard
  • 1 cup (227g) milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) or evaporated milk
  • 1 cup (120g) flour (I used whole wheat for added nutrition.)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cups (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) olive oil and/or coconut oil (I used a combination of the two.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (64g) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 2 large eggs

In a large bowl, combine sourdough discard with milk and wheat flour. Leave the bowl in a warm spot for 2-3 hours or until starting to bubble.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13 cake pan.

Beat oil and sugar together until well combined. Add to starter mixture along with eggs and vanilla and stir well. Starter may be sticky so take plenty of time to incorporate the liquid mixture. Add dry ingredients and mix gently until everything is completely combined.

Pour batter into greased baking pan. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean in the center. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Delicious warm or at room temperature. Serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, or just a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar. Makes 8 huge servings or 12 normal servings!