This is a moist, deep chocolate sour cream pound cake with ganache for even more addictive chocolate flavor! This old fashioned chocolate pound cake recipe is the best chocolate pound cake for any occasion!
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Old Fashioned Chocolate Pound Cake
You guys. This cake! I had the hardest time photographing it because I honestly wanted to eat it all IMMEDIATELY. If you're like me, the words "chocolate sour cream pound cake" are enough to make you run out to get the ingredients immediately! If not, let me assure you -- you're gonna want to make this cake.
It has a soft, dense-yet-fluffy crumb, rich chocolate flavor deepened with espresso powder, and a luscious satin chocolate ganache glaze drizzled on top. I'm not even that much of a chocoholic, but I could honestly eat this moist chocolate pound cake all day long. When I baked it recently, I gave most of it away to my neighbors (after having a couple slices myself), and they said it was the BEST chocolate cake they'd ever had!
What is the secret to a good pound cake?
There are lots of important tips to follow for the best chocolate pound cake, all of which I mention below, like measuring your flour with a kitchen scale, and making sure all your ingredients are room temperature before you start.
But my favorite way to make pound cake even better is by adding a rich, tangy dairy product like buttermilk, cream cheese, and especially sour cream! So if you're here making this southern chocolate pound cake, you're in the right place!
And to try some other amazing pound cake flavors, check out this Peach Cobbler Pound Cake or this German nut pound cake! Also check out my post on the differences and similarities between pound cake vs Bundt cake!
What does adding sour cream to cake do?
Sour cream is a perfect addition to pound cake recipes because it adds an acidic element to the batter, much like buttermilk or cream cheese. It gives sweet treats a more complex flavor and makes the batter richer and more moist by adding dairy protein and fat. That's why so many cakes with sour cream stay moist and velvety!
Best of all, the acid in sour cream tenderizes the gluten in the flour to produce a finer, more tender crumb. This is absolutely perfect for our purposes with this old fashioned sour cream chocolate cake. We're going for a tight crumb, but we don't want it too heavy or dense. The best pound cakes find that perfect balance!
How much sour cream do you put in pound cake?
You'll need 1 cup of sour cream (one whole 8-oz. container) for this moist chocolate pound cake. That's enough to really achieve a moist, close crumb but not so much that the cake turns out gummy or dense. I'd recommend using full-fat sour cream, but light sour cream or even greek yogurt would work too. Now let's get into the other ingredients we'll need.
Moist Chocolate Pound Cake Ingredients
- salted butter - your butter should be room temperature -- not overly soft, but soft enough to indent when pressed.
- granulated sugar - adds just the right amount of sweetness to this chocolate sour cream pound cake to balance out the rich cocoa flavor!
- eggs - like your butter, make your your eggs are room temperature.
- vanilla extract - I definitely suggest using a high-quality vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor! Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- sour cream - this is the star ingredient of this chocolate sour cream pound cake! Sour cream acts similarly to buttermilk, yogurt, or cream cheese to add a moist texture, a close crumb, and a rich, complex flavor.
- all-purpose flour - It's very important to measure your dry ingredients correctly -- I would definitely recommend using a kitchen scale to measure by weight -- for this recipe you'll need 256 grams of flour.
- unsweetened cocoa - I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa for this recipe, but you can use any unsweetened cocoa (regular cocoa, not Dutch-process) that you like!
- instant espresso powder - this is a secret ingredient that brings out the chocolate flavor so much in this chocolate sour cream pound cake! The rich coffee flavor doesn't come through in the flavor of the cake, but it works to deepen the rich chocolate flavor. It makes this chocolate bundt cake the best!
- baking powder & baking soda - these two leaveners work together to add lift to the cake batter, giving your cake its best texture and rise!
- boiling water - finally, we'll be adding hot water to "bloom" the cocoa powder and bring out that rich chocolatey flavor even more!
Then, for that amazing chocolate ganache glaze, you'll need:
- bittersweet chocolate - I use a Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Baking Bar for this chocolate glaze. I love the balance between deep chocolate flavor and a bit of sweetness.
- heavy cream - heavy cream adds a creamy richness to the glaze and helps it to melt smoothly.
- light corn syrup - helps to add shine and a thin, pourable consistency to this glaze. I like to use Karo light corn syrup. If you can't find corn syrup, you could substitute agave nectar or even honey for a similar effect.
First, you'll need your cake pan! I used this Nordicware Elegant Party Bundt Pan because I love the neat, sleek shape. But feel free to use any 10-12 cup tube pan or Bundt pan that you love! I also love the look of this Nordicware Heritage Permier Bundt Pan, and I bet it would look amazing with the glaze drizzled on top! Here are all the tools I'd recommend for this dark chocolate sour cream pound cake recipe!
Tips and Recipe F.A.Q.
Pound cake was traditionally made with a simple recipe consisting of a pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. Modern pound cake recipes like my lemon sour cream pound cake use slightly tweaked ratios and additional ingredients for flavor.
Here's my method: First, make sure your bundt pan is well-made, with a high-quality nonstick coating free of any scuffs or scratches. Then, just before pouring in the batter, spray your bundt pan with baking spray (the kind that contains flour), being sure to get it in every crevice. Finally, let your chocolate sour cream pound cake rest for 10-15 minutes when you remove it from the oven, then immediately turn out carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely. If necessary, tap jiggle the overturned bundt pan to loosen the cake. This is what I've learned to do each time, and always have great results!
Pound cake is usually made without icing, and usually has a thinner glaze or no topping at all. It's got a denser, more buttery texture and flavor than typical cakes, and it's usually made in a loaf or bundt pan rather than a round cake pan. This moist chocolate pound cake is the perfect place to start with experimenting with pound cake!
Let's make sure that doesn't happen! First, don't open the oven door while your chocolate sour cream pound cake is baking. Try not to test the cake until it is at least ¾ of the way done. If you test the cake and find it needs more time, be sure to quickly close the oven door to prevent losing any heat. Second, be sure to measure your ingredients carefully -- too much sugar, baking soda, or baking powder can make a cake fall.
Most likely, you measured your flour with a measuring cup and inadvertently added too much to the batter. Too much flour will lead to a dry cake. Be sure to measure by weight! Another reason could be that you overbaked your cake, so be sure to start checking your cake for doneness at around 50 minutes.
Absolutely -- this easy chocolate pound cake freezes well for up to two months! Once the glaze has cooled and set completely, you can freeze the cake whole or in slices. I recommend slices so that you can thaw them individually for a single-serving treat anytime! Just freeze the cake or the slices uncovered for about 30 minutes to solidify the glaze. Then wrap in plastic wrap and then in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and freeze. When you are ready to eat your chocolate sour cream pound cake, just thaw the wrapped cake or wrapped slices on the countertop, and enjoy!
So what makes a pound cake more moist? Well, there are a few ways to ensure a moist pound cake -- first of all, adding a tangy ingredient like buttermilk, sour cream, or cream cheese helps to neutralize the gluten in your flour and gives you a tender, moist cake. That's why we use sour cream in this chocolate sour cream pound cake! Also, make sure you don't overbake your cake! Check it about 5 minutes before the bake time is up, and make sure you have an oven thermometer to make sure your oven isn't running too hot!
Chocolate cake lovers will adore my Chocolate Orange Cake, my Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and my Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake. If you love brownies, try my Dairy Free Brownies, my Raspberry Chocolate Brownies, and my S'mores Brownies!
And if you're more of a cookie person, you'll go for my Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies, my Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar, and my Cookie Monster Cookies!
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
Equipment you may need
- 10-12 cup bundt pan
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 g) salted butter - room temperature (2 sticks)
- 4 large eggs - room temperature
- 2 teaspoon (8 g) pure vanilla extract
- 8 oz. (227 g) sour cream - room temperature (1 cup)
- 2 cups (256 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (58 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon (2 g) instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- ¾ cup (177 g) boiling water
- baking spray
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy.2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup salted butter
- Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, mixing until incorporated after each addition.4 large eggs, 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Mix in sour cream until well combined.8 oz. sour cream
- Sift in flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold in with a rubber spatula. Mixture should be fully combined, but do not overmix.2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Carefully pour in boiling water and gently mix to combine (don't splash any onto yourself!). Mix only until the batter is fully combined.¾ cup boiling water
- Spray a 10-12 inch fluted tube or Bundt pan with baking spray, including all crevices. Pour batter into prepared pan. Carefully drop once or twice from an inch or two onto the counter to elmininate air bubbles.baking spray
- Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
- Heat chopped chocolate and heavy cream in microwave for 20-second intervals until beginning to melt.4 oz bittersweet chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream
- Stir to finish melting until smooth.
- Add corn syrup and stir until glossy.2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- If desired, allow to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes for a slightly thicker consistency.
- Pour glaze over cooled cake, allow to set, and serve.
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Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Chenée Lewis