One of my favorite family traditions is our annual Back-to-School dinner. I always make something special to celebrate the new school year. This year was no exception. I remember being a kid and my mom buying us chocolate chip cake from a little lunch place in my hometown. I loved this cake. I had completely forgotten about this cake until now. I needed to recreate this cake from my childhood for my children. I did some Googling, and there really was not a cake out there like I remembered. Lots of chocolate chip bundt cakes, but none that were exactly right. How hard could it be?
Here’s the thing, when I get an idea in my head like this, I can’t sleep until I figure it out.
The first cake that I made was a typical yellow cake with the addition of mini chips. I floured the chips and even with that precaution, the chips sunk to the bottom and it became an upside down chocolate chip cake. While it tasted good, it was not the cake that I remembered. And let’s be honest – hardly a show piece.
The second go-round was the winner. I used the Perfect Pound Cake recipe from my favorite baking book, Baking. I knew that the recipe would not be enough to fill two cake pans, so I did one and a half batches of batter. The recipe below is what I used to make this cake. It was exactly like the cake that I remember.
When I posted the pictures above on Instagram, I got the question, “how did you get the cake layers so flat and perfect looking?” My secret is Bake Even Strips. You get them wet, wrap them around your cake pans, and put them in the oven. I like to put my cake pans on a baking sheet, but it is just because it is easier to get them in and out of the oven. The strips do not burn, and it works every time. I have also done it with strips of old towels. Same thing – get them really wet, and tie them around the pans. Bake as normal.
edited – This cake has had mixed results from some of the commenters. I appreciate them sharing their feedback with me and I am sorry that some were disappointed. I know how frustrating it can be to spend the time baking something and not have it turn out the way you expect it to. Some have had a very dry cake. This cake is a pound cake, so it is not going to be light and fluffy like a cake mix. But it shouldn’t be super dry either. My suggestions – be careful to not over-bake. I would take it out when the toothpick still has a few moist crumbs on it. It will continue to bake even after it comes out of the oven. If it is dry, you can brush the layers with a simple syrup to add moisture. This is a bakery trick that helps cakes stay moist.
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Chip Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2 (8-inch) cake pans with cooking spray with flour. Whisk together flour (take out 2 Tablespoons of the flour), baking powder, and salt.
Add the two Tablespoons of flour to the chocolate chips, and toss to combine. This helps the chips stay where they need to be, and not sink to the bottom.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides, and add the eggs one at at time. Beat for 1 minute in between each egg on medium speed. Add the vanilla.
Slowly add the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
It is not a bad idea to add the last bit of flour by hand. You want this cake to stay tender and over-mixing toughens it up.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. I insulate mine with baking strips and put them on a baking sheet.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check on them around 30 minutes. If they are getting too brown, loosely tent some foil on top. The cakes are done when a knife comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and one cup of powdered sugar. Slowly add the remaining sugar with the mixture on low speed. Add the vanilla. Add the heavy cream, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add chocolate chips.
Lay one layer on a cake plate, and add about 1 cup of frosting.
Spread evenly and add the second layer. Frost completely.
Let chill in the fridge.