Chocolate Chip Cake
This chocolate chip cake recipe is moist, buttery, and studded all throughout with chocolate chips. Easy to make in just one bowl!
Today I’m bringing you another great cake recipe: chocolate chip cake!
Layer cakes are fun and impressive (have a look at this ice cream cake, this Key lime cake, and this strawberry cake and you’ll see what I mean), but for this one I just kept it simple and baked it in a square pan.
It’s great for snacking and you don’t even have to frost it! Just a little dusting of powdered sugar is all the adornment it needs.
Table of Contents
- What is chocolate chip cake?
- What’s great about this chocolate chip cake recipe
- What does chocolate chip cake taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make chocolate chip cake
- Recipe FAQ’s
- Expert tips
- How to store and keep
- Serving size
- A few more of my favorite classic cake recipes!
What is chocolate chip cake?
This recipe starts with my amazing vanilla cake recipe.
So it’s easy to make and you’ll only dirty up one bowl in the process.
Adding mini chocolate chips makes it a little more fun to eat, and eliminates the need for any kind of filling, frosting, or topping.
Talk about easy! This one is a real time-saver.
What’s great about this chocolate chip cake recipe
- Tastes amazing: Bakes up light and fluffy, moist and buttery, with melty chocolate chips in every bite!
- Few ingredients: You’ll only need a handful of pantry staples to make it.
- Easy to make: The batter is made in around 20 minutes or less, and then you’re laughing. All you need is to wait for it to bake!
- One bowl: You’ll only dirty up one bowl making this cake.
- Versatile: This can be made in a square pan, as 9×13-inch sheet cake, a 2-layer, 8-inch round or 9-inch round layer cake, a 3-layer 6-inch round cake, as 24 cupcakes, or you can double it and make it in a 12-cup bundt pan.
What does chocolate chip cake taste like?
Because it’s a butter-based cake, this has a wonderfully rich flavor.
It’s perfumed with sweet vanilla and there’s just the right amount of chocolate in every bite.
The texture is very light and springy, but it’s also beautifully moist.
You’ll just need a handful of basics to make this recipe.
A combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour are used to achieve a balance between structure and tenderness.
All-purpose flour lends added strength to the structure, so it’s not so soft it just falls apart. You can swap it out for any kind of whole-grain option if you like. You may need slightly less if you go that route.
A gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should also work just fine, if you’d like to make a gluten-free chocolate chip cake.
Read lots more about cake flour here: What is Cake Flour?
Sugar adds sweetness (obvs!) but it also aids in browning and keeps things moist, since it’s hydrophilic (this means it loves water, in other words, it draws moisture in).
Regular white sugar is fine, or sub for another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for granulated sugar it should work.
Baking powder and baking soda
These leavening agents are essential for making the cake rise and bake up light and fluffy.
Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful!
I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
Butter adds richness and flavor to the cake.
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
For a vegan or dairy-free chocolate chip cake recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
This recipe works best if you allow the butter to come to room temperature first. You can set it out on the counter a few hours ahead of making your recipe, or you can microwave it for 10 seconds, turn it over, and microwave it again for another 8 seconds.
Eggs act as a binding agent and provide structure to the cake.
They also contribute to its moisture and tenderness.
Use large chicken eggs here, or a plant-based egg replacement than subs 1:1 for chicken eggs.
It’s best if the eggs are at room temperature, but I don’t find this to be critical.
Sour cream adds moisture to the cake batter, resulting in a softer and more tender cake. It helps prevent the cake from drying out during baking.
If you don’t have sour cream you could also use the same amount of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt or buttermilk.
Milk adds moisture and helps achieve a workable batter consistency.
You can use whatever kind of milk you keep on hand: 2%, skim whole… even a plant-based milk will work!
Vanilla extract adds a subtly sweet flavor without being at all sugary.
I prefer mini chocolate chips here, because they are smaller and therefore lighter, so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
You get chocolate chips running all throughout, all the way from the top to the bottom.
Here are the tools you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Measuring cups and spoons: To measure out the ingredients.
- Large mixing bowl: I use the one that comes with my stand mixer.
- Electric mixer: Either a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer.
- Silicone spatula: For scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Non-stick spray: For greasing the pans.
- Parchment paper: To line the cake pans so the cake comes out of the pan easily without breaking apart.
- Cake pan(s): For what you see here, I’ve used a 9×9-inch square pan. But you could also use three 6-inch round cake pans, two 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans, a 9×13-inch sheet pan, or bake 24 cupcakes, or double the recipe and bake it in a 12-cup bundt pan.
How to make chocolate chip cake
Let’s walk through it together, step by step!
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients
Place the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, and give it all a quick stir to combine.
Step 2: Work in the butter in
Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients.
And stir it in on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Step 3: Add the eggs
Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and allowing each one to fully incorporate before adding the next.
Step 4: Liquid ingredients
Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated, then add in the sour cream, milk, and vanilla.
And stir them in on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, to aerate the batter and build the cake’s structure.
Step 5: Chocolate!
Add a bag of chocolate chips, reserving a handful or two to sprinkle on top.
And gently fold them in.
Step 6: Bake
Transfer the batter to your prepared pan(s).
And smooth out all the way out to the sides, in an even layer.
Then sprinkle the top with the reserved chips to make it extra pretty.
Slide it into a hot oven and allow it to bake on the middle rack.
You’ll know your cake is done baking when it feels springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Most cake recipes start by creaming the butter and sugar and then alternately adding dry and liquid ingredients in batches.
With this method, it’s way too easy to under-cream the butter and sugar, and to over-mix the batter, causing the cake to be tough.
Plus, it creates too many dirty dishes!
The reverse creaming method is much simpler.
All you need to do is measure the flour, sugar, leavening, and salt into the mixing bowl, then work in the soft butter until the mixture resembles damp sand. Mix in the eggs, then add the dairy and vanilla extract, and you’re done.
It’s practically foolproof!
This cake is so versatile! It can be filled and topped in all sorts of ways. You can really let your imagination go wild!
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing: whipped cream frosting, chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, pastry cream (filling), cream cheese frosting, vanilla frosting, or raspberry buttercream.
Yes, this cake can easily be made into cupcakes. This recipe will make 24 cupcakes.
Adjust the baking time to 16 to 20 minutes, and refer to my vanilla cupcake recipe for a full tutorial.
I baked mine in a 9×9-inch square pan.
But if you’d prefer to bake it as two 8 or 9-inch layers, you can totally do that. This will also work as three 6-inch layers, or in a 9×13 pan.
Just keep an eye on the bake time because a thinner, flatter cake will need less time to bake than a smaller, thicker cake would.
This recipe can also be doubled and baked in a 12-cup bundt pan. Again, adjustments to the bake time will likely be necessary.
When your cake batter is nice and thick (like this one), this isn’t as much of a problem.
I do find that mini chocolate chips work better because they’re smaller and therefore lighter.
But if all you have are regular-sized chocolate chips, try dusting them in a tablespoon or two of flour before adding them to the batter. This will often help to keep them in place.
- Measure all the ingredients precisely. Use liquid measuring cups for the liquid ingredients, and dry measuring cups for the dry ingredients. Accurate measurements ensure the right balance of ingredients and prevent the cake from being too dry or too wet. Read more about this here: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
- Allow ingredients like eggs, butter, and sour cream to come to room temperature before starting. Room temperature ingredients mix in more smoothly, so you don’t end up with a lumpy batter.
- Keep a close eye on the cake while baking and avoid overbaking it. Overbaking can lead to a dry cake. A few minutes before you think it will be done, flip on the oven light and view the cake through the window. If it doesn’t look wet in the middle, crack open the door slightly and give it a feel. If it’s springy, give it the toothpick test. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is done.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Cooling in the pan helps keep the cake moist.
How to store and keep
This cake should be fine at room temperature for a day or so.
If you have a lot of leftovers, stash them in the fridge, tightly wrapped. They should be good there for a week or so.
Baking in advance
I love a good make-ahead dessert, and this chocolate chip cake is a perfect example.
It can be baked up to a few weeks ahead, which really helps to take the pressure off when you’re entertaining.
Once the cake is baked and completely cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. It can stay there overnight or up to a few days.
Or slip the wrapped cake into a zip-top bag and keep it in the freezer for several weeks.
When you’re ready to fill, frost, and decorate, it’s so much easier if the cake is cold.
You’ll find it’s much less crumbly that way. I like to frost my cakes straight from the fridge or freezer. No loose crumbs in the frosting- which really makes it much easier to decorate a beautiful birthday cake.
Using a 9×9-inch cake pan, this recipe makes 12 servings.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below reflects a serving size of 1/12 the recipe.
A few more of my favorite classic cake recipes!
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Chocolate Chip Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 g) cake flour*
- 3/4 cup (93.75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 g) kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 (88 g) eggs, large
- 2/3 cup (153.33 g) sour cream, plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt or buttermilk** can be substituted
- 1/4 cup (61 g) milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) vanilla extract
- 10 ounces (283.5 g) mini chocolate chips
- Place the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, and stir on low speed to combine.
- Add the butter, mixing on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand (about 1 minute).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to be sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla, mixing on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes to aerate the batter and build the cake’s structure.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, reserving a handful or two for the top of the cake.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (approx. 45 to 55 minutes).
- Cool completely in the pan, then dust with powdered sugar.
** If you don’t have sour cream, plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, or buttermilk, you can substitute by stirring 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice into 2/3 cup of regular milk. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes, or until thickened and slightly curdled.
*** This cake can also be baked in three 6-inch diameter round cake pans, two 8-inch diameter cake pans, two 9-inch diameter cake pans, one 9×13 sheet pan, as 24 cupcakes, or (doubled) in a 12-cup bundt pan. The cake layers may bake up slightly thicker or thinner, and the bake times may need to be adjusted.
Well hello there!
Sorry for the very quiet week last week. You may have noticed I have not posted any new recipes since Cinco de Mayo! I decided to lay low and take care of alllll the appointments I’ve neglected to make over the last few months. Eye roll.
I made it to all of them, and tomorrow I need to have a little biopsy done (eep!), so we shall see how I feel after that. I have lots of ideas for what I want to share, but if I’m really sore I may have to put them on hold for a bit.
But for today, I brought cake. Chocolate chip cake, to be exact! It’s moist and buttery and just so gorgeous, don’t you think?
I love this cake because it’s so fluffy and moist, the flavors are perfectly balanced, and it’s big enough to serve a crowd. You can easily get 18 slices out of this cake! Maybe even more.
It starts with my traditional pound cake recipe. I love this easy recipe so much, I’ve used it to create brown sugar pound cake, lemon pound cake, and marble pound cake too. They are all top favorites and I make them often, especially for entertaining.
But everybody loves a good chocolate chip cake too, right? So I’m really glad to be sharing this one with you today.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE
Most of the cake recipes on this site utilize the reverse creaming method, but when it comes to pound cakes, I always use the traditional creaming method. It’s SO important to whip lots of air into the butter, in order for the cake to rise properly. There’s no baking powder or baking soda in a true pound cake, so that step is so key!
This easy recipe has just a handful of ingredients:
Start with that all-important creaming step. You’re going to want to beat the butter and sugar together for a full 7 to 10 minutes!
As you can see, the mixture becomes extremely pale and very fluffy. You’re doing it right!
Next add in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before the next one goes in.
Then, give the bottom and sides of your mixing bowl a thorough scrape with a silicone spatula, and start adding the flour.
I prefer cake flour for pound cake, because it makes the crumb nice and fine and it gives a lighter texture to the cake. You can read more about that here: Why Use Cake Flour?
Add in the flour about a cup at a time, while stirring on medium-low speed. Be careful not to overmix, or your cake could come out tough!
Once the flour is just barely combined, add in the vanilla and salt.
Then, toss the chocolate chips in a little flour and fold them in as well. Tossing them in flour helps them to not sink to the bottom of the cake as it bakes. I also prefer mini chips for this same reason!
When making any kind of bundt cake, it’s really critical that the pan is well-greased and floured. I usually just mist it generously with non-stick spray, and then coat the inside carefully with a layer of flour. But you can also find baking sprays that already have the flour mixed in. Here’s a good example: Baking Spray.
Just do a really good job covering every square inch carefully. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having your pound cake stick to the pan and break! All those wasted ingredients!
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and give it a nice long nap in the oven. This is a big boy; he’ll probably need at least 75 minutes to bake, if not longer!
You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.
Allow it to cool, then drizzle with vanilla glaze and garnish with chocolate shavings.
GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE
To make a gluten-free version of this chocolate chip cake, just substitute the cake flour for a gluten-free flour blend. Look for one that that subs 1:1 for regular flour. Here are a few good options:
CAN THIS CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE RECIPE BE MADE IN A DIFFERENT SIZE PAN?
Just know that any time you bake a cake in a different sized pan, the bake time may need to be adjusted. Smaller or thinner cakes are likely to need less time in the oven than larger, thicker ones.
TROUBLESHOOTING: MY CAKE WAS BURNT ON THE OUTSIDE BEFORE IT WAS FULLY BAKED IN THE MIDDLE
There are two possible causes for this problem:
- Your oven temp could be off. This is really common and it can happen gradually over time. Buy a little oven thermometer (less than $10!) to hang from one of your oven racks, so you can be sure that the temperature you set your oven to is what it’s actually baking at.
- Dark colored cake pan. Darker colored pans absorb a lot of heat, and can cause a cake to become overly brown or even burnt on the outside. For the cake you see here, I used a swirl bundt pan in what’s called a “platinum” finish. Because it’s lighter in color, it reflects heat and allows the cake to bake more slowly and evenly. If you can’t get your hands on a lighter colored pan, try decreasing your oven temp by 25 degrees, and allowing the cake to bake a little longer if needed.
CAN CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE BE MADE AHEAD?
This is a GREAT make-ahead recipe! It needs a looong time to cool, so it’s really perfect for making the day before you plan to serve it.
Once it’s fully cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out or get stale. It will keep for a day or two at room temperature, a week or more in the fridge, or several months in the freezer!
I hope you’ll give this chocolate chip cake recipe a try! My friends and family really love it, and it’s such a versatile dessert for any time of year!
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