Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake {A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe}

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This Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake is soft, moist, and so flavorful! Nobody would ever guess that it all starts with a yellow cake mix.

I love that cake mixes can be completely transformed and elevated to a whole new level with just a few simple add ins.  You are going to love this recipe!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- So moist and flavorful!

We have lots of doctored cake mix recipes in our recipes section, and this new cake is a welcome addition!

This Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake gets most of it's flavor and "homemade texture" from a few key add ins: instant vanilla pudding, mini chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, sour cream, and chopped pecans.

The result is a heavenly balance of chocolate, vanilla, and pecan flavor in this ultra moist layer cake. We frosted it in our classic chocolate buttercream frosting which is perfectly creamy and chocolatey (not to mention super easy to make)!

A few flavorful Add ins for this recipe

Pudding and Sour Cream: The instant vanilla pudding and sour cream in this recipe make this cake ultra moist and also result in a thicker batter which helps to keep the chopped pecans, mini chocolate chips, and grated chocolate evenly distributed.

Chocolate: We use two kinds of chocolate in this recipe. The semi-sweet chips (we like mini chips as they are less likely to sink) add a nice boost of chocolate flavor.

We also use milk chocolate in this recipe which we grated from a Ghirardelli milk chocolate baking bar using the large holes of a grater. The milk chocolate adds a mild, sweet chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- A doctored cake mix recipe- So moist and delicious!

Chopped pecans: We love the combination of chocolate and pecans! We've added chopped pecans to the batter for flavor and a little crunch, as well as to the outside of the cake.

How to Make Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- A Cake Mix Recipe

*You can find the full, printable cake recipe below, but here is a quick rundown of our steps!
First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round pans or two 9-inch round pans. (I like to line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper also).
Add the yellow cake mix and the instant vanilla pudding to the bowl of your stand mixer, Whisk to blend.
Next, add the eggs, grated milk chocolate bar, oil, milk, vanilla and sour cream. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes.
Then, stir in the mini chocolate chips and chopped pecans. (I like to use mini chocolate chips so that they will be less likely to sink to the bottom when baking.)
Finally, pour the cake batter into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe- So moist and flavorful!
Cool the cake layers (still in the pans) on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning them out.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake
Chocolate Chip Pecan Layer Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe

Delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Our Classic Chocolate Buttercream is our go-to chocolate frosting recipe, and the one that we frosted our cake with today.

It is SO delicious and easy to make. It consists of softened unsalted butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, a little salt and vanilla and a splash of milk.  The end result is a delicious chocolate filling and frosting that also pipes beautifully!

*Other great options for this Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake would be our Milk Chocolate Frosting as well as our Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!

Delicious Classic Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe by! Online videos, tutorials, and recipes!

Decorating the Cake

We filled and frosted our Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake with our chocolate buttercream frosting, and combed around the sides with a simple metal cake comb.

Then, we added an oversized shell border around the top edge of the cake using a 2D piping tip. (Check out our Star Tip Piping Tutorial for more details!)

I finished off the design by gently pressing chopped pecans around the bottom edge of the cake.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- A Doctored Cake MIx Recipe

That's all there is to it! Sometimes a few simple decorations are all that you need.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake- Doctored Mix Recipe

Tips for decorating with a cake comb

I love using cake combs when decorating a cake- it is such a simple way to make the design more special, and in my opinion, using a cake comb is easier than trying to frost a cake with a perfectly smooth finish.

After applying the first thin coat of frosting (crumb coat), I like to free the cake tier for about 15-20 minutes in the freezer to firm everything up.

This step not only helps to keep the layers from shifting while you decorate, but it also will prevent you from scraping away too much frosting when combing the cake.

Next, apply the second coat of frosting and comb around the sides.

If you are working with a metal cake comb, you can even heat it under very hot water, then dry it and sweep around the sides of the cake to create your design. The heat from the cake comb will give you an extra smooth finish.

This Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake Recipe is SO moist and easy to make!

More Doctored cake mix recipes to Try

We've made lots of cake mix recipes over the years! Some of our most popular are our Strawberry Cake from Box Mix, Chocolate Chip Cake from Cake mix, Easy Pink Champagne Cake from a Mix, and Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Red Velvet Cake Mix Recipe

Hummingbird Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

Chocolate Chip Cake- Doctored Mix

Pink Champagne Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

Cherry Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

Key Lime Cake- Doctored Mix

More Chocolate Cakes to Try

If you love chocolate cakes, we've made so many over the years that we'd love to share with you!

We have classic cakes like Black Forest Cake and German Chocolate Cake, as well as go-to recipes like Chocolate Sour Cream Cake, Milk Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Truffle Cake, and more.

Almond Joy Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Chocolate Turtle Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake

You can find our full collection of favorite Chocolate Cake Recipes here: 60+ of The Best Chocolate Cakes and Frostings

The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipes- A Roundup of our Favorites!


Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake Recipe

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake {A Doctored Cake Mix Recipe}

This moist and delicious Chocolate Pecan Chip Pecan Cake is so flavorful with chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, and pecans. Nobody would ever guess that it starts with a cake mix!
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (We used Duncan Hines Classic Yellow, 15.25 oz)
  • 1 small Package Instant Vanilla Pudding (do not make pudding, use dry)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Milk chocolate baking bar, grated using the large holes on grater (we used Ghirardelli) (4 ounce /113.5g)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil ( I use canola oil) (107g)
  • ½ cup milk (121g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 cup sour cream (242g)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (86g)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans We also used additional Chopped Pecans for outside of the cake

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened (339g) (do not soften butter in the microwave)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar Icing sugar in UK (920g) more if needed. **
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (measure then sift). (82g)
  • ¾ cup milk plus 2 Tablespoons or more if needed to reach the spreading consistency you like (180g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 6 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
  • The recipe makes 6 ½ cups batter


For the Cake Layers

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, grease and flour three 8 inch round pans or two 9 inch round pans. Baking time will be a bit longer if using 9 inch pans.
  • Add the cake mix and the instant vanilla pudding to the bowl of your mixer,  whisk to blend.  Add the eggs, grated chocolate bar, oil, milk, vanilla and sour cream. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes.  Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans. 
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.  Cool 10 minutes then turn out. 

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • Add butter to your mixing bowl and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. As you begin adding the powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder, add about ¾'s of the milk. Begin mixing at low speed so you won't have a cloud of powdered sugar.
  • Continue to mix adding remaining milk as needed. It may take 5 to 6 minutes to reach the smoothness and consistency you like. Don't mix above medium speed. It will take a bit 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 the frosting is 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. I have been wanting to make this cake for a while and I finally got around to it for my aunt’s birthday. It was so delicious. The cake layers cooked perfectly and the icing is soooo yummy! The added grated chocolate in the batter is a great added touch! Everyone loved it! Another success from your recipes! Thank you again for making me look good! ????