What Is Sourdough Cake?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Sourdough cake is a sweet dessert made using a sourdough yeast starter. This type of cake comes in a variety of flavors, including plain, chocolate, and strawberry. In New Orleans, a traditional sourdough cake called a king cake makes regular appearances at celebrations in late winter to early spring. Sourdough cake is a variety of yeast cake. Aside from the sourdough yeast starter, other ingredients in a sourdough cake include eggs, butter, and cream in addition to flour, sugar, and salt. Some sourdough cake has a filling, often cinnamon and sugar or fruit pie filling.

This type of cake can be flavored in many ways, using liqueurs like amaretto or fruit. Different cooks use different techniques to prepare this type of cake, but in most cases, the yeast is mixed in with the wet ingredients before the flour is introduced into the mix. Well-equipped chefs often use an electric mixer with a dough hook to blend the flour with the other cake ingredients.

Sourdough cake is often considered to be a type of coffee cake. It is similar to a normal coffee cake except for the use of sourdough yeast in the mix instead of cake yeast. Typical cakes without yeast use other leavening agents like baking powder to make the cake fluffy. These types of cakes are generally made with all-purpose flour, but can also be made with other types of flour mixed in, particularly bran flour or buckwheat flour.


A traditional sourdough cake called a king cake is a common dessert at celebrations in New Orleans. This type of cake is more colorful than other sourdough cakes, and has a special addition that makes it unique. King cake is decorated with purple, green, and gold, and shaped like a crown. A small, non-edible item is baked inside, and when the cake is served, the finder is thought to be bestowed with good luck in the coming year. Usually, the inedible item is an uncooked bean or a plastic toy, often a small plastic baby.

When making bread with a dry yeast starter, it is often necessary to bloom the yeast in warm water before making the bread. Sourdough starters are usually active, and do not normally need to be soaked in warm water before baking. Some dry sourdough starters exist, but they are widely considered inferior to active sourdough yeast. Generally, bakers get sourdough starters from other bakers, but they can usually be ordered or bought at specialty bread stores.


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