Bake or Break

Chocolate Chip Cake

This Chocolate Chip Cake recipe proves that you don’t need countless tiers and elaborate fillings to make a crowd-pleasing cake. Simple and unfussy, with a perfect chip-to-cake ratio, this classic cake is one you’ll want to make again and again.

Slice of Chocolate Chip Cake on plate

Classic Chocolate Chip Cake

If you go to any fancy bakery these days, you’re likely to see a lot of naked cakes. It sounds scandalous, but the name is used for cakes with juuuust enough frosting on the sides and tops—you might even see a bit of the cake poking through the frosting. This trend is good news for anyone who doesn’t have the time or skill to create rosettes and other flourishes on their homemade cakes. Now anyone can make a cake and have it look like it came straight from the bakery!

In addition to being semi-naked, this Chocolate Chip Cake boasts a tender, ethereal crumb thanks to a combination of 3 eggs for extra lift and sour cream for richness and moisture. And then there’s the buttercream! Is there anything better than a cake topped with real buttercream? There is: a cake topped with buttercream that’s flecked with chocolate chips. Yes!

I love that this cake works for a weeknight dessert, but it’s equally suited for serving at a get-together with family and friends. This is going to be your new back pocket cake recipe!

Overhead shot of Chocolate Chip Cake ingredients

What You’ll Need

This Chocolate Chip Cake recipe calls for your standard, everyday baking ingredients, but the results are anything but average! Here’s what you’ll need. (Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.)

For the cake:

  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method.
  • Baking powder – Here’s how to test baking powder.
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – This needs to be softened, so take it out about a half hour before you’re ready to start the recipe.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract – The vanilla flavor really shines in this recipe, so use a high-quality vanilla extract.
  • Sour cream
  • Milk – Any kind of milk will work, including non-dairy.
  • Chocolate chips – I like semisweet chocolate chips in this cake.

For the buttercream:

  • Unsalted butter – Again, this needs to be softened, so let it sit on the counter for a bit.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Sift it for the smoothest frosting.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream
  • Chocolate chips

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cake

Making this Chocolate Chip Cake recipe is easy as can be. Here’s how to do it:

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease two 9-inch round cake pans. 

Overhead shot of dry cake ingredients in glass bowl

Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the wet ingredients. In another large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat them on medium speed until they’re light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, then add the vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the dry mixture in three portions, alternating with the milk and sour cream. Once the ingredients are just combined (be careful not to overmix!), fold in the chocolate chips.

Overhead shot of Chocolate Chip Cake batter in two round pans

Bake the cakes. Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and use a spatula to even out the tops. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the Chocolate Chip Cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and let them finish cooling on the racks.

Make the buttercream. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium speed, until it’s creamy and smooth. Add half the sugar and beat until it’s fully incorporated. Add the rest of the sugar, vanilla, salt, and heavy cream. Beat until the frosting mixture is light and fluffy, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Assemble the cake. Place one of the cakes on a cake plate. Spread an even layer of buttercream over the top, then place the other cake on top of it. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top and sides of the Chocolate Chip Cake.

Whole Chocolate Chip Cake on plate

Can You Make This Recipe Into Cupcakes?

Yes, you most certainly can! You’ll bake the cupcakes at the same temperature but in cupcake tins instead of cake pans. Check the cupcakes for doneness after about 16 minutes.

Tips for Success

This Chocolate Chip Cake recipe is pretty straightforward and perfect for bakers of all levels. Here are a few tips to help you nail it:

  • Use room temperature eggs. When you take the butter out to soften it, take the eggs out too. When eggs are room temperature, they can hold more air when beaten, which means a lighter, fluffier cake.
  • Make sure the cake layers are completely cool. Buttercream frosting + warm cakes are not a good combo. 
  • Use a Lazy Susan if you have one. This makes frosting round cakes a breeze!
Slice of Chocolate Chip Cake being taken out

How to Store Chocolate Chip Cake

This Chocolate Chip Cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days although, like all cakes, it’s best served the day it’s made. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the countertop for about 10 minutes before serving.

Can You Freeze This Cake?

Absolutely! A cake like this freezes beautifully. To keep the frosting from getting messy, place the cake on a large plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it in the freezer. Once the frosting has hardened, you can wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap, then pop it in a freezer bag (if you have leftovers) or wrap it in foil (if you’re freezing the whole cake). 

Slice of Chocolate Chip Cake on plate with another piece in background

Chocolate Chip Cake

Yield 12–14 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

This chocolate chip cake is a moist and delicious cake filled with rich vanilla flavor and an added chocolate crunch from the chocolate chips. The buttercream is super light and fluffy with just the right amount of chocolate. 

Chocolate Chip Cake with slice taken out

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs
  • 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2/3 cup (150g) sour cream

  • 1/4 cup (59ml) milk

  • 3/4 cup (127g) chocolate chips

For the buttercream:

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (330g) confectioners’ sugar
, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 
1/2 cup (85g) chocolate chips

Instructions

    TO MAKE THE CAKE: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. 
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. 
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with sour cream and milk. Mix just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and spread evenly. 
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  7. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then, transfer the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool completely. 

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM: 

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. 
  2. Add half of the sugar and beat until well incorporated. Then add the remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the heavy cream, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
  3. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake plate. Spread an even layer of the buttercream over the top of the cake. 
  4. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted cake layer. Spread the remainder of the buttercream on the top and sides of the cake.

Notes

Keep the cake in the fridge for up to 4 days. Take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before serving. 

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