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Alaskan Sourdough Chocolate Cake


This is the way most cakes were baked in Alaska in the early days before baking powder became more common.


  • 1 cup thick sourdough starter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour


  1. Prepare a cup of thick sourdough starter the night before. Let sit in a warm spot overnight.
  2. Cream sugar and shortening until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in sourdough starter, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and melted chocolate. Beat with rotary beater 2 minutes.
  5. Blend salt and baking soda together until smooth. Sprinkle over batter and fold in gently.
  6. Fold in flour until batter is smooth.
  7. Pour into 2 (8- or 9-inch) greased and floured pans.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. When done, cake will spring back when pressed lightly with fingers and will shrink slightly from sides of pan.
  9. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting.


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