I have only wildly enthusiastic things to say about the taste of this chocolate chip snack cake. with its crisp, caramelized, chip-studded top, amazingly moist, vanilla-infused light crumb (reminiscent of a box-cake: my fave), speckling of chocolate morsels throughout, and sweet, but not too sweet, overall vibe, it’s kind of the perfect snack cake. Moreover, it comes together in a heartbeat and is (for all intents and purposes) one-bowl. And if you eat it warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, well, you’re welcome. However, truth be told, the developing of this cake was kind of intense, like in a bad way. The issue? Sinking chips. Here’s the story. I’ll try to be brief.
Recently, I decided to try tackling some of the sweets in my collection of old-school recipe pamphlets. You know the ones, by Westinghouse, General Foods, Betty Crocker and Nestle. The desserts of yonder-year are kind of always my thing anyway, and I thought it might be fun to make my way through the pamphlets, revamping the recipes with a modern twist or two as I went. The “chocolate chip cake,” from a New York Times pamphlet entitled “Party Cakes” (circa a-long-time-ago) caught my eye. The recipe was essentially for a simple, shortening-based white cake, calling for cake flour and milk, among other things. A little internet research revealed that the cake itself (sans chips) was not dissimilar from this Food52 recipe, this vanilla cake, and this Rachel Ray cake, save for these all subbed oil for the shortening.
I decided I would do the same oil for shortening substitution. To get that chocolate-chip-cookie feeling going, I traded some of the white sugar for brown, added a hearty glug of vanilla and some salt. And the cake was good to go. I moistened and floured my mini chips (apparently moisture helps the flour to adhere to the chips, which keeps the chips from sinking, and mini chips sink less than regular-sized ones — although not in my case). Then I folded the chocolate chips into my batter, transferred the batter to my pan and popped it in the oven. 50 minutes later I removed my gorgeous, golden snack cake from the oven, let it cool (slightly, I’m impatient) and sliced into it. Much to my chagrin, every single chip was on the bottom of the cake. Nary a chip had succeeded in suspending itself in my cake’s delightfully moist and fluffy crumb.
So began my sinking chip saga, whereby I made no less than 8 (okay, maybe 10, I stopped counting) chocolate chip snack cakes in an effort to get those darn (yes, I’m thinking of another word here) chips to stay suspended in my cake. The culprit was obvious: a too thin batter, but (at first) I was committed to my cake flour and my milk. and so I troubleshooted in a variety of ways with which I will not bore you. Finally, I threw in the towel re: the cake flour and milk, substituting all-purpose and sour cream and froze the chips. I’m happy to report nary a chip sank. No, my resident testers will not be asking for chocolate chip snack cake again any time soon (they kind of had their fair share), but you should be. The cake is delicious and easy and has the most gorgeous spattering of delectable mini chips throughout.
Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 cups 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce for serving optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-by-8-inch pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper.
- Place the mini chocolate chips in small bowl and lightly spray them with cooking spray. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the all-purpose flour until covered, and place in the freezer.
- Whisk the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside.
- Place the oil and sugars in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again, add the sour cream and whisk a final time. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the wet, until a few streaks of flour remain..
- Fold about 3/4 of the frozen chocolate chips into the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chips and the Turbinado sugar over the top. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan after 25, and checking on the cake after 45. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb or two.
- Let the cake rest on a wire rack until cool enough to handle - it will sink a bit in the middle as it cools - then invert the cake right side-up on to a serving platter. Let cool completely and serve slices with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Or eat the cake warm (I won't tell).