Chocolate Dump-It Cake

June 21, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: My mother has many specialties, but her Chocolate Dump-It Cake is most beloved in my family. My mother used to do all of her baking late at night, after we were in bed. Around 1 in the morning, the aroma of this cake would begin wafting up to our bedrooms. Then we’d watch her frost it while we ate breakfast. My mother kept this cake in the fridge, and it is sublime even when cold.

I wrote about this cake in my second book, Cooking for Mr. Latte, but wanted to celebrate it here on food52, as well. - Amanda

Serves: 10


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Nestle's semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.)
  3. When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky – if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it’s ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/ 4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Taste some! It’s good.
  5. When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have two layers (when I do this, I use 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups sour cream). My mother uses any leftover icing to make flowers on top. She dabs small rosettes, or buttons, on top, then uses toasted almond slices as the petals, pushing them in around the base of the rosette.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Chocolate|Milk/Cream|Sour Cream|Vinegar|Dessert

Reviews (17) Questions (3)

17 Reviews

Ellie L. December 25, 2016
Hi Amanda! I love your recipes. I made this cake and used 2 nine inch round cake pans, baked at 375 for 20 minutes, pulled cakes out (they were done - toothpick taste in middle came out clean:)) and the cakes sank in the middle:( What did I do wrong and will this affect the taste? Can I "hide" the sink by using more frosting in the middle layer to even it out? Oye... This is for Hanukkah celebration....
Kimberly J. October 5, 2015
The cake sounds delicious. But I confess I find the name- Dump-It, especially for a chocolate cake, unfortunately connected to the phrase "to take a dump" -as in a bowel movement : ( . I may change it's name to Chocolate Dumpling cake, because I imagine I could look like a dumpling if I eat a lot of it!
PFossil March 21, 2015
If you make this as a 2 9" layer cake, for how long do you bake it? It sounds great.
Toeknee M. January 25, 2015
Can I fridge cake after frosting?
Kristy G. December 7, 2014
So....<br />this recipe already has plenty kudos, but I want to add my own.<br />I'm not a baker (I make on average one cake a year - for the personal new year), and I made this for the first time, for the bday this year, and it came out fantastic. So fantastic that family declared it "the best cake you've ever made!" <br />This one is a winner.<br />
FoodieTina December 4, 2014
I made this cake in two 9 inch round pans layered with the frosting for my mom's 70th birthday. She declared it "excellent." Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Barb R. May 11, 2014
Could this be made in o loaf pan?
Amanda March 19, 2014
I've been making this cake for 10 years - since it was published in "Cooking for Mr. Latte." It is delicious and remarkably difficult to mess up. I usually make it as a layer cake (9" rounds) and have done cupcakes as well. Frosting of choice in our house is the Magnolia Bakery vanilla butter-cream, which goes beautifully with the chocolate.
Ceege March 17, 2014
@ Jen<br />Usually when the recipe just reads "salt", it is the regular iodized type. Generally Kosher is stated if that is what is needed. BTW, do not substitute the same amount of regular salt for Kosher. Regular salt is much saltier than the kosher when using identical amounts. i.e. 1 tsp. salt vs. 1 tsp. Kosher. I always use the kosher when it is called for.
Jen February 12, 2014
I've been wondering...when recipes here at Food52 call for "salt", should I assume the author means Kosher salt?
Maya M. October 7, 2013
This is amazing.
rpkc15 February 9, 2013
This says in the instructions a cup of water with the chocolate and sugar to start. But a cup of water is NOT listed in the ingredients. I'm hoping adding it is not incorrect.
Maya M. October 7, 2013
nope, I just made the cake and the water is absolutely there.
adele93 February 8, 2013
can a normal spring form pan be used in place of the tube pan?
TheLearningCook October 3, 2012
Could i use a bundt pan in place of a tube pan?
Maya M. October 7, 2013
I used a bundt pan and it worked out great!<br /><br />
Kelsey B. July 28, 2009
Just so you know, this is my husband's birthday cake of choice for 4 years running... I made it for him from CFML and he has never looked back!