Chocolate Chip Cake (A Cake Mix Recipe)

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This easy Chocolate Chip Cake is super moist and flavorful, and the best part is that it all starts with a cake mix!

Chocolate Chip Cake Recipe- Doctored Cake Mix Recipe

If you're looking for a tried and true Chocolate Chip Cake mix recipe, this is the one that you need- it is soft, moist, has wonderful flavor with a hint of brown sugar, and bakes up nice and high with three 8 inch chocolate chip cake layers.

Doctoring up the Yellow Cake Mix

Cake mixes are very moist and extremely forgiving all on their own. However, I do find that adding ingredients to the mix can elevate a basic cake mix to a whole new level!

Think of cake mix as just another ingredient in the recipe. It provides a great base, but there are a hundred different directions that you can take from there. 

Today's cake, which is inspired in part by our WASC Cake in our Cake Recipes Section, also contains flour and sour cream, sugar, and flavorings.

Using Sour Cream in Cake Mix

Thanks to the fat content of sour cream, it gives cakes a richer flavor and adds additional moisture. Using sour cream in cake mix also creates a thicker batter which is great for recipes like todays chocolate chip cake because we want the mini chocolate chips to stay suspended as the cake layers bake!

Using Cake Flour in a Doctored Cake Mix Recipe

Many of our doctored cake mix recipes call for an additional cup of flour to extend the recipe, resulting in more batter and a "baked-from-scratch" feel.

I often use All Purpose flour for this step but for today's chocolate chip cake mix recipe, we decided to change things up and go with cake flour.

Cake flour is used in many of our scratch recipes. This low protein flour is a nice addition to cake recipes because less gluten is formed during the mixing process. The result is a softer cake with a finer crumb. Many bakers use cake flour in their cake mixes as well for this reason!

If you do not have cake flour, use All Purpose flour. It will still be good!  

Easy Chocolate Chip Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

How to Make a Chocolate Chip Cake

This easy Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cake recipe is based on a Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix. Use whatever brand you like!  

You can find the full, printable recipe below but here is a quick rundown of our steps: 

  • In the bowl of your mixer, combine the sifted cake mix with the brown sugar, cake flour, and other dry ingredients for 30 seconds to blend.
  • In another bowl, combine sour cream, water, eggs, & flavorings. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stop after 1 minute to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl then continue to beat for the second minute.
  • Fold in the mini chocolate chips. (I like to use mini chocolate chips for my chocolate chip cake recipes because they chips are less likely to sink to the bottom as the layers bake.)
  • Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees....check after 22 minutes of baking- Cakes are done if the middle of cake springs back when touched, a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. 

Makes about 7 cups of batter, enough to make three 8 inch cake layers! 

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Recipe

Decorating our Easy Chocolate Chip Cake

After filling the chocolate chip cake layers with chocolate buttercream, I added a thin crumb coat of the chocolate frosting followed by the final coat. 

Decorate the cake however you like! We decided to go with a combed look today. After combing the cake (while rotating the chocolate chip cake on my turntable), I swirled my frosting on top using an offset spatula and added a bottom and top border with a star tip 21. (Find more details on star tips in our star tip basics tutorial!)

As a final touch, I added a few small chocolate chip cookies! I broke a little off of the bottom of each cookie so that they would sit a little better on top!

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Recipe-

Looking for more Cake Mix Cake Recipes? 

Cake mix recipes are so convenient and forgiving, not to mention delicious. We love to doctor up simple cake mixes and the options are endless!

In addition to today's Chocolate Chip Cake Mix recipe, some of our most popular are our Lemon Cake Mix Recipe, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Pink Champagne Cake Mix Recipe and Boston Cream Pie!

For even more doctored cake mix recipes, check out our full collection: Favorite Box Cake Mix Recipes

Recipe FAQs

Yes! The layers for this Chocolate Chip Cake Mix recipe can be baked in advance, wrapped, and frozen up to three months in advance.

After baking the cake layers, allow them to cool, wrap each layer in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil, and then pop into the freezer! (We often wrap the layers while they are still partially frozen.)

To thaw, place the wrapped cake layers onto the kitchen counter for 30-45 minutes before unwrapping. Then, thaw to desired amount. (Some bakers prefers to assemble their cakes while partially frozen.)

This cake is fine to keep at room temperature for 1-2 days in an airtight container or cake dome. If you use a perishable filling (like our easy chocolate mousse or homemade whipped cream for instance), you will need to refrigerate.

When refrigerating cakes, it is best to remove them from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving. This will give the cake time to warm and soften.

Have you ever tried to make a blueberry cake or chocolate chip cake only to find that after baking the entire recipe, all of the blueberries or chocolate chips have fallen to the bottom of the cake layers? Ugh! Still tastes great-- but not quite the look we're going for.

Tossing them in a bit of flour before adding to the batter doesn't make a noticeable difference either- we've tried!

So, the answer is to use these add-ins in a batter that is a little bit thicker, but also to make the add-ins as lightweight as possible for best results.

This may mean using more finely chopped pecans for instance, or frozen wild blueberries (which are smaller), or in the case of a today's Chocolate Chip Cake, mini chocolate chips are a great option! 

We've used them in our scratch chocolate chip cupcakes, cannoli cake, cherry chocolate chip cake, and banana chocolate chip cake as well!

There are a couple of reasons why we substituted a cup of brown sugar in place of the cup of white sugar that many of our doctored cake mix recipes call for.

The hint of brown sugar in this cake recipe matches up with the combination of flavors that we love so much in a chocolate chip cookie.

As an added bonus, brown sugar adds additional moisture to cakes thanks to the molasses in the sugar. In some cases, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid to make up for the addition of brown sugar, but for today's cake, I had no issues with doing a straight substitution. 

*We use brown sugar in our scratch Chocolate Chip Cake as well as our Chocolate Chip Pound Cake!

Enjoy the Recipe!

Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you love this chocolate chip cake mix recipe! If you give it a try, we would love for you to leave a comment and photo below!

Make sure to check out our full collection of cake recipes and free cake decorating tutorials in our Cake Recipes section!

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cake (A Cake Mix Recipe)

Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Recipe

Easy and delicious Chocolate Chip Cake from a Cake Mix! We LOVE this moist and flavorful recipe!


  • 1 box yellow cake mix, sifted ( Do not follow directions on the box, use only the ingredients listed below. We used Duncan Hines cake mix)
  • 1 cup (121g) cake flour
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar, packed into the cup
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 cup (242g) sour cream or plain yogurt (greek yogurt is fine also)
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) Canola Oil
  • 1 cup (240g) water
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla
  • 1 cup (170g) mini chocolate chips- adjust amount to your liking
  • Optional- Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies for decoration on top

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften butter in the microwave)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar in UK) (920g) more if needed. ** For cupcakes, I like to use 7c. (805g) for a softer frosting
  • 1 cup (82g) unsweeteded cocoa (not Dutch processed, measure then sift
  • ¾ (180g) milk plus 2 Tablespoons or more if needed to reach the spreading consistency you like
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (12 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6g) (optional) we like the finer grain of plain popcorn salt, to cut the sweetness


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour three 8x2 round cake pans.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine dry ingredients and whisk at least 30 seconds to blend.

In another bowl, combine sour cream, water, eggs, & flavorings. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stop after 1 minute to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl then continue to beat for the second minute.

Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees....check after 22 minutes- Cakes are done if middle of cake springs back when touched, a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

Makes about 7 cups of batter.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

Add butter and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. Add powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder.

Add most of the milk. Begin mixing at low speed so you won't have a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen.

Continue to mix adding remaining milk as needed. It may take 5 to 6 minutes to reach the smoothness and consistency you like. It will take longer if using a hand mixer. As you mix the frosting will become very smooth. You can add additional milk (1 Tablespoon at a time) if the frosting is too thick or additional powdered sugar if too soft.

This is my favorite chocolate frosting! Recipe can easily be doubled or halved.

This recipe makes approximately 7 cups of frosting.


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  1. Hi Whitney, You will have 3 1/2 cups batter for each 9x2 inch round pan. Bake at 325 degrees 25 minutes. I have not baked this in 9 inch rounds so keep an eye on it. It is done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

  2. Made this cake today exactly as written and it was a huge hit with my family. Both the cake and the frosting were fabulous! I added a dark chocolate ganache drip and some sprinkles because it was a birthday. Very happy with the results. Many thanks!

    1. It looks wonderful. I love the gold sugar beads at the ends of your drip! Fantastic job. Thank you for sharing! I’m thinking about making this recipe for my brother’s 60th this year.

  3. Yay! Thanks so much for your review, Heather. We're so glad that you liked the cake. Yours is beautiful with the drip! xo

  4. This cake is amazing!!!
    I now want to do cupcakes!
    What degree & how long please! Everyone loves it!

      1. Hi Cynthia, Yes, the recipe can be baked in a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 26 to 31 minutes or until aa toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

  5. Hi Whitney, I'm happy you enjoyed the recipe. For standard size cupcakes bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Check with a toothpick inserted in the center, they are done when the toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

  6. Why is there no butter used in the cake batter when preparing the mix for the chocolate chip cake?

  7. Hi Barbara, The recipe begins with a box of cake mix, don't follow the instructions on the back of the box. There is no need for butter just the ingredients listed in the recipe. I hope you will give it a try.

    1. How many cupcakes will this batter do and can I add chocolate chips to the top of the cupcake before baking?