Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake

A colleague of mine posted a link the other day about “National Chocolate Cake Day,” which included five delicious looking cake recipes. Several of us commented on her link and what started as a facetious “this is happening” type of post, became reality. A few days later, we celebrated this illustrious national holiday at the museum! It was a really important meeting. We even reserved a room.

As you can see in the photo below, the organizer made chocolate babka (which was amazing and addicting and I want some now. Photo bottom right.). Another woman made chocolate raspberry cupcakes and I made this sour cream fudge layer cake (top right)!

All I can say is Baby Kotecki was moving like crazy on a sugar high after that. Yes, I ate chocolate babka, cake and cupcakes for lunch. Don’t judge!

sour cream fudge layer cake

Source: Slightly adapted from Baking Illustrated

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup cocoa
2 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

9 oz. chocolate chips
8 T. butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup


Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9″ cake pans and line with parchment paper.

  1. Mix cocoa and espresso powder in a small bowl. Add boiling water and mix until smooth. Cool to room temperature, then stir in sour cream and vanilla
  2. Beat butter in large bowl for about 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, and almost white, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated after each addition
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and 1/3 of the cocoa mixture. Mix until ingredients are almost incorporated. Repeat the process twice more.
  4. Once the batter is blended, divide it evenly between the two cake pans. Bake 20-23 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks and cool within pans for about 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack and cool completely before frosting. (Note: one of my cake layers got stuck to the wire rack making it difficult to get off and frost. Ultimately the top looked a little gnarly and I had to do some jiujitsu to flip it back on a plate, but the damage was nothing a little frosting couldn’t help cover.)


  1. Place chocolate and butter together in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave by cooking in 30-45 second increments and stirring after each one until melted. Stir in the corn syrup. Let cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator to cool and thicken until it’s thick enough to spread.
  2. Ice the cake: place the bottom layer of cake on your serving platter. Add a big dollop or two of icing and spread evenly across the top. Add the second cake layer on top and add another dollop on the top and spread evenly. Then begin icing the sides. Use all the frosting!


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