Sourdough Chocolate Cake

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Taking my inspiration from the King Arthur Flour recipe for sourdough chocolate cake, I made a cake last weekend to help celebrate a friend’s birthday. I thought it was great that King Arthur shared the history of sourdough, but why stop there? Why not make the cake more traditional?

Instead of their white flour, white sugar, vegetable oil, I used spelt flour, evaporated cane juice, and virgin coconut oil. In addition, I let the sourdough starter/flour/milk mixture rest for 8 hours plus, instead of just 2 to 3 hours, making a more complete job of neutralizing the phytic acid in the spelt. Honestly, my cake was delicious and I doubt anyone would ever suspect it was a whole and healthy cake.

Want more sourdough recipes? Check out our Sourdough A to Z eBook or Traditional Cooking School.

We don’t often use sweeteners any more, so we indulged with the evaporated cane juice in this recipe. When my evaporated cane juice runs out, the next sweetener I get will be Sucanat – and when that time comes, I think I’ll grind it up fine and use it that way for this recipe. Grinding really helps blend with those grainy, hard-to-dissolve sweeteners.

Update: I now use Sucanat or Rapadura in this recipe – sometimes ground up fine and sometimes not. All delicious! I also think powdered coconut sugar (palm sugar) would work wonderfully.

The Cake Ingredients

The Frosting Ingredients

Other frosting choices: basic chocolate coconut cream, cream cheese frosting or chocolate buttercream frosting.

Note: Double the frosting if making a layered cake and you desire to use this creamy frosting between the layers.

  • 3/4 cup coconut cream (the cream part of a can of whole coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Make the Cake

Combine the fed starter, milk, and spelt flour in a mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 8 hours. If not ready to bake the cake, transfer this mixture to the refrigerator until ready to finish the cake, but allow it to come back to room temperature before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease (1) 9″ x 13″ cake pan or (2) 8″-9″ square or circular cake pans with coconut oil and set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the evaporated cane juice, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and Teeccino. Beat. Add the eggs and beat well.

Combine the sourdough mixture with the chocolate mixture. Mix gently until smooth. Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (I baked for 43 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool.

Make the Frosting

Other frosting choices:  basic chocolate coconut cream, cream cheese frosting or chocolate buttercream frosting.

Combine all frosting ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Chill.

Assemble the Cake

If cakes are in square or circle pans, tip them out onto a platter. Spread the frosting between the layers and on top.

If the cake is in one rectangular pan, spread the frosting on top. Serve!

FREE Download: Start your own sourdough starter

The only thing standing between you and this cake is a sourdough starter. But no worries — you can have one started in 5 minutes. Click here to download our free easy instructions. Plus you get a bonus recipe for the fluffiest sourdough pancakes ever!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


    • says

      Okay, well, this is my understanding today… 😉

      Sucanat – SUgar CANe NATural (unrefined sugar cane – juice, I believe)

      Rapadura – dehydrated cane juice (unrefined, dehydrated juice of the sugar cane)

      During the time that NT was published, Sucanat was being processed in a more refined way, which is why it is not included in the list of unrefined sweeteners. Since that time, they have gone back to processing it much the same as Rapadura. So you can use either knowing that they are unrefined sugar cane. Rapadura is more expensive, thus why people often choose Sucanat.

      Then there’s evaporated cane juice (what I used in this recipe) which is somewhat refined. I bought it thinking it was “dehydrated cane juice” (Rapadura) but apparently there is a difference between “dehydrated” and “evaporated” What that difference is I do not know – but the former is unrefined and the latter is a little refined.

      Of course, all sweeteners should be moderated!!! (But you both know that. :) )

      If I’m wrong on any of this, please set me straight…

  1. Jean says

    Wardee, if you don’t have access to raw milk, can you give me a good substitute for it?

    This cake sounds yummy and I’m dying to try it!

    Oh, what would you use to grind your sucanat?


    • says

      Hi, Jean – Whatever milk you normally drink would substitute fine. The sourdough is what neutralizes the phytic acid in the flour. I understand that not all people have access to raw milk – so feel free to substitute the milk you drink. :) I use the Vita-Mix dry container or a food processor to powder the Sucanat. It works really well. The VM does a better job. Enjoy!

  2. says

    This looks amazing! Unfortunately, I killed my sourdough starter some months back and haven’t tried again. Plus the recipe I tried to make bread with… well let’s just say that loaf (or brick, rather), could’ve broken a window! I still have some learning & reading to do in the realm of sourdough but it’s so healthy for you that I hope to try again soon!

  3. rosebud says

    mmm…you’re inspiring me to get a sourdough starter going again… although, for the cake, I’d have to use carob instead of chocolate as I’m alergic to chocolate (have you ever heard of a thing so absurd? kidding…sort of) :)

  4. says

    I think I am going to make this as the second cake for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend, now that my sourdough seems to be happy. Too bad that I don’t think I’ll be able to track down coconut butter before then; I’ll have to save some coconut cream aside from our whipped coconut cream from Thursday!
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog post… Tuesday Twister: Almond butter squash brownies – Oxtail soup – Spelt French bread – Gluten-free Deep Dish Pizza =-.

  5. says


    Tried this recipe today…what a delicious cake! I have to admit, I thought the sourdough would make it too heavy, but my whole family LOVED it! It was perfect! I didn’t have coconut cream for the frosting, so I made homemade whipped cream instead. It was a perfect complement!

    A friend had given me some Teecino a couple months ago when I was trying to quit coffee (I did, BTW). I put it up in the cupboard and forgot about it. When I saw this ingredient in the recipe, I thought, ‘I just might have that.’ LOL! It was almond amaretto…gave it wonderful flavor!

    My family gives this recipe 12 thumbs up! :)
    .-= Tammy´s last blog post… Raw Milk Symposium =-.

  6. says

    Hi Wardee!

    I just make this cake today (started last night) and it turned out LOVELY!

    I made it for a friend’s birthday. She has digestive problems and usually cakes give her issues. But she ate two pieces of this one and said her stomach was fine! Yay! Success!

    My only problems were:

    1) I used wheat flour instead of spelt flour. I think wheat flour is slightly more dry than spelt flour and so my cake turned out a tiny (TINY) bit dry. I’ll try less flour next time.

    2) I doubled the recipe and used two different cake pans: one metal cake pan and one glass cake pan. The cake in the glass pan was more moist and rose higher than the cake in the metal pan. Even so, I was happy to see the sourdough component behaving as expected! I’ll be sure to use only glass pans in the future. 😉

    I really love this recipe! I’m going to try it sometime with stevia.

    Thank you!
    .-= gilliebean´s last blog post… Egg Troubles? =-.

  7. says

    This looks really awesome! I will try this one definitly! This is the second time I see that I should not use dutch cocoa powder. Since I am dutch and live in the Netherlands, I am afraid I can’t get anything else here and I wonder why this is?
    .-= Iris´s last blog post… 1e muffins van geweekt meel =-.

    • says

      Tara, I don’t know the brand because it comes in bulk. I could try to find out. But since putting up this post, I have used Dutch process cocoa in the cake. It doesn’t rise quite as well because it is not acidic and doesn’t react with the baking soda like the traditional does.

  8. Teresa says

    I’m outta milk.
    What do you think if I substitute water and coconut cream (tropical traditions) to make a coconut milk? Maybe 3/4 c liquid and 3 eggs or keep 1 c liquid and 2 eggs? Should I skip the experient and get dairy? What’s your advice?

  9. Teresa says

    Instead of milk I used 1 C H20 and 1 TBS coconut cream – the cake was moist and delicious. Everyone loved it even w/o the frosting!
    Great recipe Wardee :)

  10. Vanessa says

    I’d like to make this cake this week for my daughter, but I don’t have spelt flour. Do you think rye or whole wheat would work? what adjustments should I make? Thanks!

  11. says

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I have two sourdough’s going, one wheat and one rye and as I’m not making rye bread in the summer I’ve been wondering what to do with them. The cake is a great idea!

    • says

      Bernadette — It doesn’t need to be at its peak. It should have been fed within the last 12 hours or so, even fed 18 to 24 hours prior is fine. Very flexible!

  12. Amanda says

    I am making this for my 8 yr old Bday tomorrow, soaking now! I need to use Stevia because we cannot have any other sweetener, any idea how I would replace the bulk in the recipe in order to do that? and what amount of Stevia?

    • says

      Amanda — Oh, dear, I have no idea! I am not experienced at all in baking with stevia. If you’ve done other research on ingredients that can supply bulk, I’d defer to that. I’m sorry I can’t help!

  13. Rachel says

    I made King Arthur’s version of this cake today (hadn’t found your version yet) and it tastes really good, but was a bit dry and there were some little lumps of sourdough left that hadn’t mixed in very well. I mixed it in my Kitchenaid and it looked well mixed. Have you ever had that problem? Is it better to mix by hand? Aside from the lumps, it was a really good cake!

  14. Rose says

    Being from The Netherlands I don’t know what you mean by : traditional cocoa powder (not Dutch process). What is Dutch process?

    • says

      Hi Rose,

      Dutch process cocoa has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda.

  15. Stephanie says

    I was wondering if you could make this without egg. My son is allergic and I’m not sure about how the different ingredients will react to not having the egg as a posed to a normal flour sugar cake. Thanks

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