This easy Chocolate Chip Cake is super moist and flavorful, and the best part is that it all starts with a cake mix!
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 the White Almond Sour Cream Cake (doctored cake mix) in our 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 Brown Sugar instead of White Sugar in the Recipe
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.
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 fabulous.
use mini chocolate chips to reduce chance of sinking
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 delicious-- 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!
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!
Scratch Chocolate Chip Cake
We hope that you enjoy this Chocolate Chip Cake Mix recipe! If you're looking for a scratch version of Chocolate Chip Cake, we have a great one in our Recipes section. You can find it here: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cake 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 however you like but I 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.
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.
Originally, I thought that I would use the rest of the cookies as part of the border- but then decided to keep things simple with just a few on top. (This design change also meant more cookies for me to eat later!) ;0)
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! The additional ingredients added change the flavor, texture, and give the cakes a more homemade feel. We hope that you enjoy these other favorites!
- 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
- 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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