Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake - ready to serve

Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake - ready to serve

This recipe for Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake comes from my Mom. She got her Hermione starter from a dear friend, Gerry Van Tassel, in the late 60s or early 70s. Gerry gave Mom six solid sourdough recipes and this cake was one of them.

Read on for the recipe and if you are wondering about the icing, I’ve included three of my favourite icing recipes in this post. There’s one I call the Buttercream-iest Chocolate Icing. It’s in the photo above. My neighbours say it’s “the bomb” and my husband says it’s my finest cake achievement. You’re going to have to try it now.

I also included a Mocha Icing with a hint of coffee I love and a Vanilla Buttercream because it delivers full flavour and beautiful texture. But, if you are in a hurry, use a good prepared brand of icing (my friends at Crave make a great one). My Mom often did. After all, it’s the moist, dense, dark chocolate-y Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake people are going to remember.

Find the Hermione Sweet Sourdough Starter recipe here. You can access all the other recipes for this starter with these links: Cinnamon RollsStrudelPancakes and WafflesBanana BreadApple Coffee Cake, Cinnamon Orange Date Muffins, Date Loaf and Sourdough Biscuits and No-Knead Bread.

Mom made about 20 of these every August for the annual church sale. You should have seen our kitchen table. She charged a “whopping” $20 bucks per cake in the early days. They were immensely popular, as you can well imagine.

Hermione Sweet Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Time: 60 – 90 minutes plus cooling time

Yield: One large layer cake with at least 10 to 12 servings

Equipment: 2 – 9-inch cake pans

  • ⅔ cup cocoa
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teasoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅔ cup sunflower oil (or other neutral tasting vegetable oil)
  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sourdough

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Whisk the cocoa into the warm water in a bowl or large measuring cup and set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and soda together in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Place the oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one and a time and using a spatula to push the batter off the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. Add the vanilla and sourdough and beat until smooth. 
  7. Add half the flour mixture followed by half the cocoa mixture, beat until smooth and add the remaining halves. 
  8. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and place on the middle rack in the oven.
  9. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  10. Remove the cake pans to racks and let cool completely before removing.
  11. Frost the cakes with the icing of your choice below – chocolate, mocha or vanilla. Garnish as you like or leave it plain.

Tip: My Mom’s cakes always rose very high. She’d choose the one with the best dome shape for the top of the cake and the slice the dome off the one designated as the bottom and give it to us as a special treat. I hope this happens for you too!

Another Tip: If your cake falls while or after baking, it is likely because you have not measured the ingredients accurately enough. The icing will hide this, but go for precision next time and your cake will rise to the heavens.

The Buttercream-iest Chocolate Icing

Tip: if you set the butter out on the counter in a bowl when you start to make the cake, it should be softened and at room temperature by the time you need to make the icing

Time: 20 minutes Yield: generous icing for one cake or 24 cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup salted butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla

  1. Place both butters in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on moderately high speed (8/10) until pale yellow and fluffy – about 8 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the sifted cocoa powder and beat on medium speed until smooth – about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the icing sugar, whipping cream and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Continue to beat the mixture on low to medium speed for a super fluffy icing.
  5. Frost the cake and enjoy with vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of your favourite milk.

Mocha Icing

This icing is a soft and floating coffee-scented cloud of an icing. It comes from my recipe for Waldorf Astoria Mocha Cake. That’s another great chocolate cake you may want to try some time.

Time: 15 minutes Yield: icing for one cake or 24 cupcakes

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ – ½ cup strong coffee, cooled

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at half power for 2 minutes (check and stir half way), add it and the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the icing sugar followed by the coffee. Use just enough coffee to form a spreadable icing. Enjoy.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

This icing makes the cake look like a reverse Oreo cookie.

Time: 15 minutes Yield: icing for one cake or 24 cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 to 8 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream it on a high speed until the butter is smooth and creamy – about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Lower the speed to low and add 6 cups of the icing sugar along with the milk or cream and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the remaining 2 cups of icing sugar – only if needed – to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Frost the cake and enjoy.


    1. Karen Anderson

      Awesome! Are you really in Dubai? It’d be amazing if someone in Dubai was making this wonderful cake. Let me know if you give it a whirl. And, thanks for saying hi! Kindly, Karen

  1. Anne Ashurst

    Could I mix the batter and leave it on the counter or in the fridge overnight to cold ferment for better digestibility?

    1. Karen Anderson

      Hi Anne, I think the sourdough does a good job. If you are going to delay it, I’d say to wait and add any baking powder or soda until right before you bake the cake. Otherwise, it will lose it’s chemistry. Thanks for commenting. I truly appreciate it. Kindly, Karen

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