Even though this is an easy chocolate chip cake recipe, it’s the kind of cake that will have you begging for seconds! Each bite with filled with vanilla cake, mini chocolate chips, and a rich buttercream frosting. The best part is that it’s made with simple ingredients you already have on hand and is ready in 1 hour!
I love a delicious cake, but even better when it’s easy! Plus, anytime I get to use mini chocolate chips, it’s a good day! Some may think this looks a little fancy, but I promise it’s very simple! Not to mention you can decorate any way you like! For example, as a birthday cake, you can incorporate sprinkles with the chips so it’s fun and festive! Don’t miss my secret tip for getting those chips all throughout the cake, instead of them sinking to the bottom!
With all the baking I do, there are always leftover ingredients. Here are some of my other favorites that require chocolate chips. Chocolate chip pie is almost sinful, especially when served with a scoop of ice cream. The mini chips also shine in cookie dough cheesecakes (or cookie dough dip) and homemade cannolis (or cannoli dip). I love sprinkling a few on top of my double chocolate chip frappuccino – because why not!? For those who like a little peanut butter with their chocolate, you have to try this buckeye dip!
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- all-purpose flour – cake flour can also be used at a 1:1 ratio.
- baking powder – this helps to make a fluffy cake and makes it rise.
- salt – rounds out the flavor.
- unsalted butter – we like unsalted because sometimes the salt content is not consistent and we can control the amount by adding salt on our own.
- granulated sugar – gives our cake sweetness.
- vegetable oil – makes for a moist cake.
- vanilla extract – we love the vanilla cake flavor.
- eggs and milk – be sure these are at room temperature before using to make mixing easy.
- mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – semi-sweet is our favorite because the frosting is so rich.
- Frosting Ingredients:
- unsalted butter – softened butter mixes and keeps additional air out of the frosting.
- powdered sugar – adds sweetness and thickens our icing.
- vanilla extract – gives just a little more flavor.
- heavy cream – makes the frosting creamy
- mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – we like adding these on at the end versus mixing them in the frosting ingredients.
Cookie crumbs, chocolate chips
Stand mixer or electric mixer – you can either the paddle attachment or the whisk attachment. Most of the time is paddle works best for the batter, while the whisk does great for whipping eggs, egg whites, and other liquids.
Cake strips – these are totally optional but can help to make flat layers versus a dome shape.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Decorating – if desired you could leave off the chocolate chips for the top and outside and go with a regular buttercream. Then use a piping bag and tip for a fancier presentation. Some also like to crumble chocolate chip cookies over the top.
- Regular chocolate chips – we like the ratio of the mini size to frosting, but regular semisweet chocolate chips can be used as well.
- Box cake mix – when running short on time or if you don’t have all of the ingredients, make a box cake mix for the base, then use the homemade frosting.
- Chocolate cake – use this classic chocolate cake recipe for the base. This is also great if you want to make a sheet cake instead of a layered one.
PREP: Grease the baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1: Place the flour in a large bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon, and set aside. Stir the baking powder and salt into the same bowl.
Step 2: Beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed in a large mixing bowl so that it is slightly crumbly.
Step 3: Mix in the vanilla and oil until smooth.
Step 4: Beat in one egg at a time so the mixture is combined and creamy.
Pro Tip: Don’t over-mix the batter, we want the cake to be fluffy and tender.
Step 5: Rotate adding the milk and dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the cake batter is combined. Mix at medium-high speed and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 6: Toss a cup of chocolate chips in the reserved flour, then fold it into the batter.
Step 7: Divide batter equally between the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Once done, cool the cakes on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then remove from the pan and continue cooling. While the cake is baking, start making the frosting.
Step 8: Cream butter and add the powdered sugar half at a time on low speed, working up to high speed. Beat until the buttercream is fluffy. Add the vanilla, and continue mixing for 2 minutes.
Step 9: Place the first cake layer on a cake plate. Spread a ½-inch layer of frosting on top.
Step 10: Then sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on and spread them into the frosting with a spatula.
Step 11: Add the top layer.
Step 12: Mound the frosting on top and spread it across and down the sides of the cake.
Step 13: Smooth out the icing as needed with the spatula. There is more than enough frosting for this cake, so go heavy if needed to avoid getting crumbs in it.
Step 14: Once the cake is covered, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the entire cake and spread them in as you finish.
GARNISH: Top with additional chocolate chips if desired and slice!
- Coating the chocolate chips with a little flour keeps them from sinking into the batter as the cake bakes.
- Adding circles of parchment paper to the bottom of the pans after greasing yields the best results for getting them out to cool.
- Make sure the chocolate chip cake layers are completely cooled before frosting. If not, the frosting will melt off.
- Chilled cake layers are easier to frost. When the cake layers are cool, wrap with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours (or up to 3 days); unwrap, assemble, and frost the cake – it will be easier to assemble with the cake firm and the cake will thaw by the time you’ve frosted it and slice into it.
- For a more lightly frosted cake, halve the frosting recipe.
- While you can mix the chocolate chips into the frosting, it’s a little more difficult to spread.
- We used a 10 oz. bag of mini chocolate chips (standard size) and it was perfect.
Chocolate chips only became a thing after a baker added some to her cookie batter, expecting them to melt and they didn’t!
Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container or layers of plastic wrap for up to 5 days. If the cake is unsliced, it can be stored without covering it.
Toss them in a little bit of flour before adding them to the cake batter.
Chocolate chips are formulated with a combination of ingredients, including stabilizers and emulsifiers, that prevent the chocolate from melting completely during the baking process. They are often made with a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids, which all work together to help the chips maintain their shape during baking.
It’s also worth noting that chocolate chips are usually small and have a high surface-to-volume ratio, which helps them retain their shape. The heat from the oven is distributed evenly throughout the chips, which helps to prevent them from melting too quickly.
In general, dark chocolate is more likely to melt during baking compared to milk chocolate, due to its higher percentage of cocoa solids and a lower percentage of milk solids. So, if you’re looking for chocolate chips that are less likely to melt during baking, you may want to choose milk chocolate.
Chocolate Chip Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup milk room temperature
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups unsalted butter softened
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8” round cake pans with non-stick baking spray; you can line the bottoms with parchment paper as well, if you like.
- Measure flour into a medium bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and set aside.
- Add the baking powder and salt to the bowl of flour and stir together.
- In a separate bowl, beat together butter and granulated sugar with a hand mixer until combined, mixture will be slightly crumbly.
- Add the oil and vanilla extract and beat 1-2 minutes longer until creamy.
- Beat in 1 egg at a time until mixture is fluffy and fully combined.
- Rotate between adding the milk and the flour mixture until cake batter is combined.
- Add the reserved tablespoon of flour to 1 cup of chocolate chips and toss to coat. Beat or fold the chocolate chips into the cake batter.
- Divide the cake batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out with a few crumbs.
- Cool cakes on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
- To prepare the frosting, beat softened butter in the bowl of a standing mixer until fluffy and lightened in color (about 2 minutes).
- Add in the powdered sugar, half at a time, mixing on low speed and increasing to high speed to prevent the powdered sugar from spraying out of the bowl. Beat until the frosting is fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
- Add in the vanilla extract and heavy cream and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (2 minutes).
- Place the first layer of cake on a plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting about ½” thick over the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the filling and use the spatula to smooth the chips into the frosting.
- Place the second layer of cake upside down on top of the first and press down slightly. Mound the frosting on top of the cake and spread across the top and down the sides.
- After you’ve smoothed the frosting over the whole cake, sprinkle chocolate chips over the frosting and spread them in as you finish coating the cake.