Chocolate Cake Perfection, Courtesy of Grammy

Cooking Demo: Amy shows us how to make sour cream chocolate cake.

September is a good month in the Currie household. It happens to be my husband, Jim's birthday. It's not a big deal that he's a year older, but on his birthday whether it falls on a hectic weekday or an even more hectic weekend, we always celebrate with sour cream chocolate birthday cake. It's the same cake that he's had each and every birthday, first baked by his mom and now baked by yours truly. This old, family recipe has been celebrated for lots of birthdays and other special occasions. Although it's everyone's prerogative to have their birthday cake of choice (carrot or vanilla, tied in popularity), for Jim its always sour cream chocolate and it's perfect.  

The magic of an old, old, family recipe is that the origin is usually vague and it's probably been tweaked here and their over the years for one reason or another. But, this recipe goes untouched and is true to the faded and crumbling piece of paper its hand written on. Simply called Grammy's cake in our house, she still makes it, too.  If its dinner at Grammy's house in September, we can be sure to have this cake for dessert.  

I've been known to give the cake a little tweak. There's been a layer of raspberry jam in the middle, espresso powder mixed into the frosting and once I split the batter into three layers instead of two. But, every time I think it's going to be a little better or more interesting, I'm always politely reminded that nothing can improve the original. I should know after baking this cake for 25 years that it's not about tradition and memories. It's about the joy of eating the most perfect chocolate cake year after year after year.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 10-12


1/2 stick unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup water

3/4 cup sour cream

2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two nine-inch round baking pans

In a double boiler or a saucepan set over boiling water melt butter and chocolate to combine. Remove from heat to cool slightly

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine sugar and eggs until light and lemony.  Beat in vanilla and chocolate mixture until well combined.  Then add water and sour cream.  Sift together flour, baking soda, powder and salt and slowly add tot he batter.  

Evenly divide into prepared baking pans.  Bake 25-30 minutes until tester comes out clean.  Remove and cool on wire racks.  


1 stick unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 pound box confectioners sugar

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

In a double boiler or a saucepan set over boiling water, melt butter and chocolate to combine. Remove from heat to cool slightly

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat chocolate mixture with confectioners sugar, sour cream and vanilla until smooth.  Spread on cooled cake making two layers with frosting in the middle, on the sides and on top.


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