Ever wondered what to do with leftover sourdough starter? With each feeding of the starter there is generally a bit that goes to waste and with it a tiny bit of my heart each time I pour off the excess straight into the bin, but there is only so much you can give to friends and neighbours! I generally keep it in the fridge most weeks as it’s more manageable to then only feed it once a week. I then only take it out a day or two before baking to get a good couple of feeds in which wakes it up to achieve maximum bubbly goodness. This week I’ve been actively feeding my starter everyday getting it ready for baking, but each day comes and goes and I either haven’t found the time or my timing has been way off (there should be 6-8 hours after a feed before you use it for baking) so another day passes with another feed which means a lot of starter to be used.
So with no plans for the day and a full container of beautiful active starter begging to be used, I grabbed an old King Arthur Flour recipe book my husband has had for years and while looking for some bread baking inspiration – a Sourdough Chocolate Cake recipe jumped out at me! Now I’ve heard of sourdough pancakes and sourdough muffins but not Sourdough Chocolate Cake!!
The end result was delicious and even after a bit of disaster with the icing (my cake decorating course instructor would NOT have approved!), but that didn’t stop us from licking every last crumb and dribble of icing off our plates. I must admit it’s not your usual chocolate mud cake and there is something different about the crumb, but the balance of the sourdough starter which offsets the sweetness of the sugar means it wasn’t too sweet (before the icing was slathered on top that is) and it feels/tastes a bit more substantial than a usual cake. Think chocolate bread … crossed with chocolate cake … laced with sourdough goodness. Kind of hard to explain, so there is only one option – make it yourself to see :-). Here is the recipe.
Chocolate Sourdough Cake
(Original recipe from King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook)
1 cup of Sourdough Starter (drop me a line if you are in Dubai and need some starter … I’d be happy to share!)
1 cup of milk (I warmed mine to get things moving quicker)
2 cups of all purpose flour
1.5 cups of sugar (I just used 1 cup and it was fine)
1 cup of vegetable oil (I didn’t have enough vegetable oil, so used half coconut oil as well which was fine)
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon of salt
1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
3/4 cup of cocoa
For decorating, frosting of your choice.
Preheat your oven to 180 oC / 350 oF.
Combine the starter, milk and flour. Let this sponge work for 2-3 hours in a warm place until it’s bubbly and it has a pleasing sour-milk aroma.
In a second bowl, cream the sugar, oil, salt, vanilla, baking soda and cocoa. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You want to incorporate as much air as posisble in this process.
Combine the creamed mixture with the sourdough mixture. Do this as gently as possible, but make sure it’s well blended.
Grease two 9 inch cake pans, divide the cake batter between them and bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pan on a cooling rack for five minutes. After five minutes, remove the cakes from their pans and cool directly on the wire cooling rack.
After the layers are throughly cooled, assemble and top them with your choice of frosting. Or you might even want to use raspberry jam in the middle of a nice combination!
Ways the kids can help (3-5 years):
- Measuring out the ingredients and adding them to the bowl
- Stirring and mixing
- Scraping the side of the bowl down between beating in the eggs
- Cracking the eggs (just crack them into a small bowl first so you can remove any stray bit of shell!)
- Greasing the cake pans
- Icing the cake
- …and of course licking the bowl and the spoons!
From our kitchen to yours xx