Sourdough Chocolate Cake & Natural Powdered Sugar Frosting

We celebrated my little man Titus’ second birthday this last week and what a joyous celebration it was. I knew it was my opportunity to experiment further with a healthy use of sourdough to make a chocolate cake. What a surprise! With my sourdough starter, whole wheat flour, and sucanat (as my natural sweetener of choice), the result was a delicious moist semi-sweet chocolate cake that was not sour in the least. I was thrilled to make a healthy dessert. I made two 8 inch round cake pans with the recipe and then cut them each in half to make a four layered cake. I layered it with cream cheese frosting and finally cocoa powder dusted over the top. A healthy cake? Amazing. Here’s my adaption:

  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter (I purchased my starter through Cultures for Health and it was alive and well in one week!)
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I used half cow’s milk and half hemp milk)
  • 1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour (preferably whole wheat pastry flour for a softer texture)
  • 1-1/2 cups sucanat/rapadura
  • 1 cup unrefined, virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup traditional cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
  • 2 large pastured eggs


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, milk, and flour. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours. I like to set my sourdough to soaking in the evening and then finish it the next morning. You can sit up to 24 hours but you will have more of a sourdough taste to the mixture which may be less desirable.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 (8 inch) round/square cake pans with butter or coconut oil. Dust with flour to make sure it comes out easily after cooling.

3. To the sourdough mixture, add sucanat/rapadura, coconut oil, vanilla, and eggs. Beat gently until well combined.

4. Add salt, baking soda, and ground coffee. Beat briefly till smooth.

5. Pour cake mixture into your prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before turning over the pans and allowing the cakes to pop out onto your platter of choice.

You may frost between the two layers (which will more likely fall apart at slicing), or divide the cake into four layers (each cake cut in half horizontally) by  inserting toothpicks half way up the side about 2-3 inches apart all around the side circumference of the cake. Take a serrated knife and line it up on top of the toothpicks, using them as your guide, and slice carefully through the center of the cake until it is divided in half horizontally. This technique results in a much more even cut. Here is a picture of this process.

For more inspiration on how to create your own sourdough and a wealth of delicious recipes, check out the Gnowfglins Sourdough eCourse. Thanks to Gnowfglins for the original recipe that can be found here. Highly recommended!

Cream Cheese Frosting with Powdered Sucanat

Did you know you can make a healthy natural frosting by blending sucanat (the whole cane sugar) or rapadura in a blender to make your own powdered sugar? Thanks to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers inspiration, I made my own cream cheese frosting. You may add 1/2 cup cocoa powdered to frosting for more of a chocolate flavor.

1 cup sucanat/rapadura
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place 1 cup of sucanat/rapadura in your blender and blend until light and powdered (about 30 seconds). Combine cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl and whip until creamy. Slowly add your powdered sucanat and vanilla until it reaches your desired sweetness. Spread out over your cooled cake and enjoy!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

21 Responses to Sourdough Chocolate Cake & Natural Powdered Sugar Frosting

  1. Julie Harding December 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    Could you modify this recipe to soak the grains w/ something other than a sourdough starter like vinegar or whey instead? Making a starter has been on my to-do list for a long time, but alas it’s still not done!

    • Lindsay December 16, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      You probably can, but it was so wonderful with the sourdough starter that I don’t know if I would attempt it any other way. ;)

  2. Rachel D March 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Hello, I have been reading your blog for a few years now…it has been a true inspiration and I just wanted to thank you for that. I can’t believe your little man is two…as his mom, im sure you can’t either! God Bless you and your family.

    Your sister in Christ,

  3. Jillbert March 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe. I made cupcakes from your recipe and put chocolate frosting on them. They were sooooo good. It’s nice to have more uses for my sourdough starter.

  4. Carrie March 13, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Oh yum! I just tried my hand at this and took it out of the oven a couple minutes ago and it smells great! I noticed as I was following the directions that it never said when to add the cocoa powder, but I assumed it was with the baking soda, salt, and ground coffee. I don’t have any coffee beans/granules, so we’ll see how it turns out without it.

    I also noticed, as a tip for others reading this, as I was beating the ingredients into the soured dough and then later was pouring the batter into the pan, that there was a good chunk of the soured dough still stuck to the bottom of the mixing bowl, which then made the cake batter sorta of like a swirl cake once poured into the cake pan! Kinda cool, but wasn’t expecting that. :) I guess my beating technique needs some work (like scraping the bottom of the bowl as I do it!).

    I baked this in a 9×13 glass pyrex pan and it took 27 minutes to cook all the way to the middle.

    Hope that helps others! Can’t wait to give it a try once it cools a bit, it smells really nummy! Thanks Lindsay!

  5. Sarah @ littlesliceofmyarmywifelife March 12, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    This looks perfect, and YUM! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Beth March 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    That looks delicious! I just have one question: How does one make a sourdough starter?

    • Lindsay March 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      You can purchase a sourdough starter through Cultures for Health. It includes all the directions as to how to start it. I learned many recipes of how to use it through the Gnowfglins Sourdough eCourse which I referred to above.

      • Beth March 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

        Great! Thank you!

    • Tammy March 13, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      I’ve been wondering the same thing! :) I have recipes for making sourdough starter, but was wondering the difference between what I can make myself and what I would purchase (like what Lindsay mentioned buying). :) What would you say the difference is between homemade and store-bought sourdough starter, Lindsay?

      • Lindsay March 14, 2011 at 7:09 am #

        The starter I purchased is just the powder base, so it still requires you to add flour and water twice a day for a week until it is bubbly and active. You can certainly make your own as well, as described in the Sourdough eCourse that I linked to above, but it is more complicated and not as easy to produce a bubbling starter. It usually takes more time to develop and there is no guarantee of a good result, but many of done it successfully as well. So you can certainly do it either way…I just wanted to keep it simple and have a guaranteed good result. This starter has survived very well for me, even when I fed it only twice over a month period after we moved.

      • Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS March 14, 2011 at 11:56 am #

        Tammy — The main difference in starters is really the bacteria population. Different regions around the world have varying strains of native yeasts/bacteria. So when you purchase a starter from somewhere else, you’re reactivating that type of yeast(s) and bacteria(s). Inevitably, over time, it will change due to your area’s “flora” :)

        When you start a starter on your own at home, you’re picking up the native yeasts/bacteria that are present in your flour (and also the air, but usually right on the whole grain flour).

        Either way is fine to do! As Lindsay said, we show how to make one’s own in the Sourdough eCourse.

        And for another example, the San Fransisco sourdough bread is famous for its distinct sour flavor — due entirely to the strength and type of organisms in the starter and the byproducts of the organisms. That type starter is actually very resistant to change and doesn’t usually incorporate other organisms, regardless of its location.

  7. Brittany March 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    this looks delicious! i’m a chocolate-freak so i’ll definitely have to try it.

  8. Sally March 11, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I haven’t had time to read this post, but I did read through the ingredient list and you have won me over! I WILL come back to this post after hours! One of our struggles, as we move towards a more nutrient-rich diet in our home is tackling the sweet tooth. We very rarely make sweet treats, but birthdays? Come on, you just HAVE to have cake…or cupcakes! This recipe is EXACTLY what we are looking for — thank you!

  9. Erin H. March 11, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Happy 2nd Birthday, Titus!!

  10. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 11, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Happy birthday to your little guy! The cake looks delicious. How interesting that you used a sourdough starter. I still haven’t tried making my own starter, but this post reminded me that I need to get on the stick! Thanks. :-)

  11. Joy Y. March 11, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    I came to your blog today to look for sourdough recipes, for my starter is now ready! Delighted to see this lovely recipe….my grandmother’s birthday is this evening, and it will work perfectly! I got the dairy kefir to work great, now for the sourdough! One thing at a time!

  12. Caroline March 11, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    That looks lovely :) I will have to make a vegan version of it after I’ve had my baby (any day now!) and my gestational diabetes will hopefully have gone :)

  13. Gabriella March 11, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    Oh my gosh…..that sounds delicious and looks even better! Have you tried making your own cream cheese (from yogurt?)

    • Lindsay March 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      No, I’ve tried making it from milk but didn’t like the results. I don’t use cream cheese very often – only in frostings, so I just buy it.

    • Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS March 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

      I have had good success making my own frosting from homemade soft cheese. Using yogurt cheese would make a pretty tart cream cheese frosting. Mine is not that tart to us, though others say it is on the sour side. ;)

      But, I also keep the sweetener low — so I think there’s room there to adapt it. I think it might work for you?

      This is the cheese I make, using cow or goat milk.

      This is the cream cheese frosting: