Chocolate chip loaf cake tastes extra moist and is loaded with chocolate chips in each bite. This easy butter cake is manageable and convenient because it’s smaller and quicker than a traditional layer or sheet cake. There’s no complicated decorating required and each slice comes with a fudge-like chocolate peanut butter garnish on top. It’s fun to serve for a small special occasion like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or whenever you want a treat alongside coffee, tea, or a tall glass of milk!
Have you ever tasted an Entenmann’s or TastyKake style treat? You know those store-bought confections like breakfast pastries, donuts, donut holes, dessert cakes, etc? Well, we created a homemade version of those mass-produced treats. Completely not on purpose– the goal was to make a simple and scaled down chocolate chip cake, but tasting this brought us back to our childhood snacking on chocolate frosted donuts.
A very happy and delicious accident, if you will.
Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake Details
- Texture: This is basically a super moist butter cake scaled down to fit a loaf pan. I loosely adapted the recipe from our raspberry swirl pound cake, but made today’s version much lighter. You’ll notice fewer eggs and butter and the addition of milk to lighten up the batter. Consider this a VERY light-crumbed pound cake. We recommend slicing it while it’s still a little warm so the chocolate chips are extra melty.
- Flavor: If you love butter and chocolate, you’ll enjoy this chocolate chip loaf cake. We recommend using mini chocolate chips so you get dozens of chips in every single bite. You can leave the loaf cake plain, but we certainly didn’t regret garnishing it with a glossy chocolate peanut butter topping. Yes, this loaf cake is nearly perfect.
- Ease: We have a basic butter-based cake on our hands and the great news is that there’s no crazy assembly or complicated decoration required. All of the equipment (mixer, loaf pan) and ingredients are pretty standard for a baking recipe. We always appreciate an easy dessert that delivers big.
- Time: Set aside a few hours to complete this recipe which includes preparing the batter, baking, and cooling.
Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake Batter
We want you to feel confident when it’s your turn to try this loaf cake recipe, so we’re explaining each ingredient. If you keep scrolling, you’ll find the full printable recipe.
- Butter & Sugar: Like many cake recipes, creamed butter & sugar make up the base of this recipe. Make sure you’re using proper room temperature butter. This does not mean very soft butter– rather, room temperature butter is cool to the touch. If it’s melted in the slightest, your cake is doomed from the very beginning. Feel free to borrow our trick for softening butter quickly.
- Eggs: 2 eggs add structure and tenderness to this loaf cake.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream works hard in cake recipes, making each crumb moist and tender. Even a little bit (1/4 cup) makes a big difference.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds flavor. If you have homemade vanilla extract on hand, this chocolate chip loaf cake is a great place to use it!
- All-Purpose Flour: We tested the recipe using cake flour, but it proved to be much too light– the cake lost most structure. All-purpose flour is the ideal choice. We haven’t tested any gluten free variations.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder adds lift so this isn’t a super dense loaf cake.
- Salt: Salt offsets the sweetness.
- Milk: Most cake recipes include milk and this is to help thin out the batter so you get a cake-like crumb. For best results, use whole milk. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. If you want to use buttermilk, you absolutely could but we recommend replacing the milk AND sour cream with buttermilk. Use 3/4 cup buttermilk.
- Mini Chocolate Chips: You can use regular chocolate chips, but just like with our chocolate chip scones, we prefer using mini because you enjoy more in each bite. We use semi-sweet, but milk chocolate or dark chocolate work too. We’re sure white chocolate or butterscotch morsels would be tasty as well.
NOTE: The batter is a little thick and lumpy. During the mixing process, you’ll notice that the wet ingredients don’t emulsify together very smoothly– that’s ok! It’s nothing to worry about because once you add the dry ingredients, everything comes together.
You’ll Love This Chocolate Peanut Butter Topping
Feel free to serve this chocolate chip loaf cake plain, but if there’s an opportunity for chocolate and peanut butter, we should take it. This is the same topping we use on our no bake peanut butter bars. Made with just 2 ingredients, it’s thick, glossy, and eventually sets into a fudge-like consistency.
Other options are chocolate ganache (halve the recipe), salted caramel (halve the recipe or keep leftovers), or serve each slice with fresh whipped cream and berries.
Enjoy More Chocolate Desserts
This super moist and buttery chocolate chip loaf cake uses basic baking ingredients and tastes unbelievable with a 2 ingredient fudge-like glaze on top.
- 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (180g) mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (90g) mini chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) creamy peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and generously grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and beat on high speed for 1 minute, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will be very lumpy and appear curdled– that’s ok. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer to low speed and as the mixer runs, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no large lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour and spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for about 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. That time is a guideline— all ovens differ, so keep a close eye on the cake after 55 minutes. If the cake is browning too quickly on top, loosely tent with aluminum foil as it bakes.
- Cool cake in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan. Feel free to continue cooling it directly on a wire rack or slice and enjoy then. (It will still be slightly warm.) You can drizzle the topping on the cake when the cake is still slightly warm after that 1 hour of cooling or wait until the cake has cooled completely to top it.
- Optional Topping: Stir and melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove or in a heatproof bowl using the microwave. We usually use the microwave and melt in 30 second increments, stirring after each until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Topping sets into a fudge-like consistency after several hours.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store cake (with or without topping) at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Topped or plain cake freezes well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or serve cold.
- Sour Cream & Milk: Feel free to replace the sour cream with lowfat plain yogurt. For best results, use whole milk. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. If you want to use buttermilk, you absolutely could but we recommend replacing the milk AND sour cream with buttermilk. Use 3/4 cup buttermilk.
- Chocolate Chips: 1 standard 12 ounce bag is enough for this recipe. You can use regular size chocolate chips in both the cake and topping. We prefer using mini because you get more in each bite and for the topping, they melt down easier. We use semi-sweet, but milk chocolate or dark chocolate work too. We’re sure white chocolate or butterscotch morsels would be tasty as well.
- Peanut Butter: For best results, use processed creamy peanut butter such as Jif or Skippy. We do not recommend oily or natural style peanut butter because the topping will separate.
- Topping Options: See blog post for other topping options.
- Cupcakes/Muffins: We haven’t tested this recipe as cupcakes, muffins, or mini muffins, so let us know if you do. We imagine it would work just fine, but aren’t sure of the quantity. We recommend following the same baking instructions (steps 1 and 3) as our banana muffins.
- 1 layer cake: This batter will fit in a 9-inch greased square pan and take about 45 minutes to bake through at 350°F (177°C). The batter will not fit or bake evenly in a 9-inch round cake pan.
- Bundt Cake: We haven’t tested this recipe as a bundt cake, but we recommend doubling the batter and using a 10-12 cup bundt cake pan. Bake at 350°F (177°C). We’re unsure of the best bake time. The batter, without doubling, would yield a very short bundt cake.
- Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together properly. Read here for more information.
Keywords: chocolate chip loaf cake