number 5 chocolate cake

Me and the word perfection is not usually a word that goes hand in hand.

I don’t usually strive for it, happy enough just to sit with the word content. So why was I trying to perfect a chocolate cake? To be honest I don’t really know. I started the challenge and apparently I would be unrelenting until I perfected the bugger.

Everyone needs a chocolate cake recipe up their sleeves. A go to recipe that was tried and true. Unfailing in its taste and you know it will turn out each time. I didn’t have that recipe. Sure I had made countless chocolate cakes in the past, but none of them were quite what I was after. Not too chocolatey, not too rich, not too dry, not too fancy pancy and not a pain to put together.

Shouldn’t be too hard right?

There are probably a few chocolate cake recipes on the internet, Mr Chocolate helpfully suggested.

Yes. Yes there probably is… but they aren’t the righhhht ones.

So I set forth. The chocolate cake challenge was on.

Cake one, no. Cake two…no. Cake three….still no. Cake four, it’s getting closer. Cake five?

Cake five might just have it. Not being particularly enamored of chocolate cake I did wonder why I was putting myself through this. These unhelpful thoughts were pushed to the side however. I’d come this far, surely that chocolate cake was just around the corner?

Chocolate Cake

150g softened butter

150g brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

4 beaten eggs

150g sourdough starter/ sour cream*

150g melted chocolate (50%)

60mls espresso coffee (1/4 cup)

225g s/r flour (1 1/2 cups)

cocoa powder (1/3 cup)

2 tbls amaretto

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until changes colour to a white shade, then add vanilla, eggs, cocoa, melted chocolate, amaretto and sourdough starter/sour cream. Fold through flour.

Bake at 180C for approximately 45 minutes in a greased springform pan or greased and lined square pan (approx 21cm). Or until skewer comes out clean.


1 tbls softened butter

1 1/2-ish Β cups icing sugar

5og melted chocolate

* if you don’t have a sourdough starter, substitute sour cream.


So does Number 5 cake cut it? It’s certainly not a bad cake. The flavours are complex enough to keep me happy with the addition of the amaretto, coffee and the starter. It’s moist. It’s chocolatey, without being intense and it was easy to put together.

So will chocolate cake and I ever become firm friends?

It’s quite doubtful. but I’ll make it to keep the rest of the family happy, and they are certainly happy enough with Number 5 Chocolate Cake.

51 thoughts on “number 5 chocolate cake

  1. Well if aren’t going to write a recipe book like I told you to…..can you at least go on Master Chef ?? So much talent ! Who would have thought of putting sourdough in a chocolate cake? I do wish this blog had that Willy Wonka thing going , where we could reach through the screen and try some!


  2. Looks great and quite unusual with sourdough starter ( mmmm not so may people are sporting that…..). I am sure you had a few willing testers. It is important a chocolate cake is like the little black dress of the food world!


  3. Was it a Brydie invention to put some starter in a cake recipe? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before!

    Probably a stupid quesiton from a non-coffee drinker. How do you make a shot of espresso coffee at home?


    • Ah Richard there are no stupid questions!
      I have one of these little beauties,
      well like it any way. Water down the bottom, coffee in the middle and sweet black goodness comes up to the top. (I used decaf for this recipe too.) A good one will last forever and only set you back about $30 from memory.

      As for the starter in the cake? Alas not mine to claim. There are a few out there.


  4. I once thought I would find a perfect chocolate cake but I love too many chocolate cake recipes – now I just think there is a chocolate cake for every occasion – the idea of sourdough starter in the cake sounds interesting – I have a sourdough chocolate cake in a recipe book I have had for ages and always wanted to try it – maybe I should just try sour cream while I dream of a starter in my kitchen


    • Fixed C.
      I don’t even know if the sourdough starter gives it much of taste difference as it doesn’t sit for any length of time. I do think it enhances the texture of the cake though. You sort of roll it round your tongue a little longer.


  5. What spunk and tenacity you’ve got girl to go after the perfect chocolate cake EVEN though it’s not your favorite of favorites. I’m a bit more of a pie gal myself, but this cake sounds awfully good, full of complexity & sweet subtlety & I think I’ve got to try it! Thank you Brydie for going the distance! πŸ™‚ xo


  6. Oh Brydie, I can SO relate. I’m was on a quest for the perfect chocolate cake too – and for me, it can’t have sour cream in it (I don’t like the flavour combination). Having said that, my family would love this probably as much as yours did! I’ve now found two that I’m quite happy with.. πŸ™‚


  7. Oh Brydie, trust you to make the perfect cake by adding sourdough starter! What a novel idea…and whilst chocolate cake isn’t my first preference either, this does look great πŸ™‚


  8. Just popping over to let you know I have nominated you for three blogging awards if you’d like to accept them.
    I have been following your blog since I started blogging and I absolutely love it. You have such a lot of wonderful information on here, I love your pics and your sense of humour is as delicious as your recipes!
    Pop over to my homepage if you would like to see what they are, I just love your blog thank you for all the happiness your writin’ stylez bring me xx


  9. Wow 5 cakes I have not even made one chocolate cake in decades as my kids say. A decade is 2 weeks. So how did you like the sour dough starter in the recipe? Did it give it a different texture?


    • Bam I think it gave an ever so slightly different texture. As the batter didn’t sit for any length of time it’s not dramatically different, but there is a little some thing to the texture, (that is a good thing.)


  10. I don’t know if other people have said this, but my secret weapon in all things chocolate – particularly perfect chocolate icing…may make the purists gag, is chocolate essence by Queen.
    Seriously. Even when there is actual chocolate in the recipe, nothing kicks chocolate out of the ball park like a bit of the essence. It livens everything up and makes it so DARN CHOCOLATEY it almost makes me weep.
    I have actually given away a genuine secret…my friends all want to know how I get my things so rich. Don’t tell anyone.


  11. Looks fabulous! I’ve been trialling chocolate cakes recently and have come to the same conclusions as you seem to have done. Excellence seems to need brown sugar, some form of dairy product (yogurt/soured cream) and a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate. I’d add coffee but I’m not a fan!


  12. I baked away for several years, maybe even ten, not sure it was so long ago; and then bang – one day I made it! The cake to change everything. I had the thumbs up from absolutely everyone in the family and so I stuck to it. And to this day I make the same choc cake everytime – except for a mud cake which is totally different and more of an occasion delight. I know how you feel, you put in all this effort, experimenting, sampling, trying to kid yourself this is the one, but deep down – you know. The search is still on. Maybe I’m wrong, but I sense you are not convinced you’ve found it. You need to feel satisfied – not just the family – cause at the end of the day your love and satisfaction comes through in the cake. My lot love a very moist choc cake with little or no crumbling and that is my version. Everyone’s different tho. Love your honesty cause at the end of the day, the approval that really counts has to come from the family, but mostly from you.


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