One of the hard realities of sourdough baking is that there’s waste. It’s just fact of life that every natural system. So, too, in a healthy sourdough culture.
No matter how often you bake bread, there will be sourdough discard. Filled with dead yeast and acidic bacteria, this excess sourdough starter not a good medium for rising bread.
But there are many other uses for it. Here’s one idea inspired by a wonderful cookbook by Sarah Owens simply called Sourdough.
Sourdough Chocolate Cake
While I’m not a huge desserts person, I adore home-baked goods of all kinds (especially pie!) And I typically go for the full-on everything: butter, sugar, heavy cream–you know, real ingredients that are good for special treats.
My motto: if you want the ice cream, have the best ice cream and savor every bite.
But this cake was different.
For my daughter Molly’s last basketball game of the season, I wanted to bake something for the team that was celebratory without being sugar laden. Not that I fool myself into thinking that cake is “healthy.” It just doesn’t have to be an all-out indulgence every time.
This cake came together the way a lot of my cooking and baking does: some brown bananas needing to be used up.
Rotting bananas as cake inspiration. Yup, that’s how I operate, foraging for everything that needs to be used.
And, of course, the ever-present extra sourdough starter, called “discard.” Every time I need to “rev up” my sourdough starter to bake well-risen bread, there’s discard.
I hate to pour it out. So, I try to use it as often as I can. One of my favorite ways is to make these sourdough waffles.
On this occasion, I put the sourdough discard to use for this cake. It can be either recently refreshed, “fed” or “unfed” since you’re not depending on it for the cake’s rising.
Mixed in one bowl, the cake is rich and moist and extra-chocolately.
I also slipped in my favorite baking hack of whole wheat pastry flour. And it’s lightly sweetened with honey.
You end up with a feel-good, quick-bread style of chocolate cake baked into a bundt pan. It will serve a crowd or stay moist for several days.
Consider it your reward for keeping your sourdough healthy. Or, make it for any celebration when you want something that’s not too sweet but still says “party time.”
Serve it as is, with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or this dark chocolate frosting.What’s your favorite way to use sourdough discard? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
Chocolate Sourdough Banana Bundt Cake
This is a feel-good, quick-bread style of chocolate cake made with whole wheat pastry flour, bananas, honey and sourdough. It was inspired by a banana bundt cake in the new book Sourdough by Sarah Owens. Make it for sports events, brunch or other celebrations when you want something that's not too sweet but still says "party time." Serve it as is, with a dusting of confectioner's sugar or this dark chocolate frosting.
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted or coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 cup honey or agave
- 1 3/4 cup sourdough starter unfed
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 large eggs, beaten free-range or pastured
- 3/4 cup milk or nut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini-chocolate chips optional
For the dark chocolate frosting:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- pinch sea salt
Grease and flour a bundt pan and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with the rack in the middle position.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl until well blended.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the butter and honey, then add the sourdough, banana, eggs, milk and vanilla until very well blended.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a tester comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert and lift off the pan, tapping on the bottom to release the cake. Invert the cake and cool completely before transferring to a serving plate.
To make the frosting, heat the cream in a saucepan or microwave until steaming. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and butter in a small bowl. Let sit undisturbed until both are melted. Stir gently to combine into a smooth frosting.
Pour the warm frosting over the cooled cake and let it drip down the sides or use an off-set spatula to swirl it.
The sourdough for this cake is a thin mixture of equal parts flour and water by volume that does not need to be fed. In other words, this is what you make when you are feeding your sourdough and don’t want to throw out the excess.