A lavish amount of melted chocolate and sour cream gives these moist cake layers a tender, velvet-textured crumb. The recipe is a favorite with our Foods staff – one we use often for celebrations throughout the year. You’ll find lots of imaginative ways to bake and frost the cake layers listed with the recipe for the batter.

Chocolate Velvet Cake Batter

This smooth and creamy chocolate velvet cake batter is the basis for many of our most beloved and delicious layer cakes.


  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-ounce container sour cream
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended.
  3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  6. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended.
  7. Stir in vanilla
  8. Spoon batter evenly into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Spread Coconut-Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.


The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting


  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3/4 cup butter or margarine
    6 egg yolks
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
    1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut


  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, 12 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; add remaining ingredients, and stir until frosting is cool and of spreading consistency.

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