Grandma Al’s Chocolate Cake

I have no idea where my Grandmother, Alberta, found this chocolate cake recipe, but it makes the moistest, lightest, chocolaty-est chocolate cake I have ever had the good fortune of eating.  From personal experience I have found that most chocolate cakes have a tendency to turn out dense and dry.  I have never had those particular problems with this cake recipe.  Let’s not forget, the top two secret ingredients found in Grandma Al’s recipe – sour cream and coffee.  Can it get more amazing?

I baked this cake for a family friend’s birthday, and she is known for having a bit of a sweet tooth, so I made some pecan (French) pralines to decorate the cake.  Between the cake and the pralines, I figured that I had hit my sugar quota, and settled for a simple whipped cream filling and a chocolate glaze on top.

Grandma Al’s Chocolate Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Coffee
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease 2 9″ circular cake pans.
  3. Mix all together: 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup coffee,  and 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil.
  4. Sift in: 1 1⁄2 cups flour, 3⁄4 cup cocoa, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt.
  5. Mix until fully combined.
  6. Pour the batter out evenly into the two greased pans.
  7. Bake at 350oF for 30 – 35 minutes.

Pecan Pralines


  • 1 cup Pecans
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 6 tbsp cubed Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse Sea Salt
  • Oil Spray


  1. Line a large plate with aluminum foil, and then spray it with oil so that the caramel will be able to lift the praline from it.
  2. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, on a medium to high flame, melt the sugar.  Do not stir, but keep an eye on it.  You want to wait until the sugar around the edges of the pan starts to brown.  This usually takes about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the pecans out along the bottom of the foil covered plate.
  4. Once the sugar has started to brown around the edges, lightly stir the sugar until it is all melted.
  5. Add the butter, vanilla, and salt.  The sugar will bubble up.
  6. Continue to stir until the butter is fully combined, about another 3 minutes.
  7. Immediately, pour the caramel evenly out on top of the pecans.  I poured out the little bit of leftover caramel seperatly to make the caramel squiggle that I later used to top the cake.
  8. Allow the caramel to cool fully, a hour or two, and then remove it from the foil.
  9. You should be able to use your hands to break it up, and if not, you can use a knife to chop it into pieces.


Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Whip the heavy cream until it solidifies slightly.
  2. Add the sugar and vanilla.
  3. Continue to whip until the cream holds its form.

Begin to Assemble Cake:

  1. Place one to the chocolate cake rounds onto the center of your serving plate with its bottom facing upwards.
  2. Spread the whipped cream evenly across the cake bottom.
  3. Sprinkle with a third of the praline.
  4. Set the second cake round directly on top of the first cake, facing right-side up, and creating a whipped cream sandwich.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 8 oz Chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in either a double boiler or the microwave.
  2. Immediately, pour out the chocolate onto the top of the cake.

Finish Assembling the Cake:

  1. Sprinkle the rest of the praline onto the cake.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sara E Smith says:

    I’ve been looking for Al’s sour cream chocolate cake recipe – thanks, EB for posting it here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❤️Love this recipe!❤️ I’m glad I was able to share it with you!


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