Soft and Fluffy Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
This easy Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake is extra soft and fluffy, with the most delicious balance of chocolate chips and buttery cake. Topped with Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Icing, it's the kind of crowd pleasing cake recipe that's perfect for nearly any occasion.
I feel like I maybe say this all the time, but this cake is my new favorite thing.
The recipe is the result of weeks worth of testing and tweaking until I had a recipe that achieved the three things I wanted in a Chocolate Chip Cake:
- It has a super soft, fluffy, tender texture.
- It has the perfect ratio of buttery, vanilla cake to chocolate chips.
- It's easy to make, easy to decorate, and easy to transport anywhere, anytime.
This is the kind of simple, crowd-pleasing recipe that's firmly in the category of things like Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies - always a good idea and guaranteed to please pretty much everyone all the time.
It's the kind of cake that requires a handful of basic ingredients and very little effort, yet manages to deliver BIG on flavor, and comfort, and YUM. Here's what you'll need:
- Cake flour (or all-purpose flour and cornstarch)
- Baking powder
- Mini chocolate chips
- Heavy whipping cream
- Peanut butter (for the icing)
My favorite part of this cake is the texture. Every bite is soft, buttery, fluffy, and tender. It's rich without being heavy. Flavorful without being complicated. Simple without being boring.
Why is this cake so soft and fluffy?
#1. Cake Flour
Cake flour is made from soft winter wheat and milled to be softer, lighter, and finer than all-purpose flour. It's not as dense as all-purpose flour and has a lower protein content. The low protein content of cake flour means less gluten development. Less gluten = a light, soft, and tender texture.
#2. Whipped Cream
Folding some whipped cream into cake batter is a genius baking trick I learned from BakingWise by Shirley O. Corriher. When folded gently into the batter right before baking, whipped cream adds additional fat and air - both of which contribute to the cake's soft, silky texture.
It's a technique I've relied on in several recipes (like my favorite Red Velvet Cake) to create a super soft, fluffy cake that's rich and flavorful while also remaining light and airy.
After mixing up the batter, whip half a cup of heavy whipping cream until you can lift the beaters from the cream to create little whipped cream peaks that hold their shape. Then, very gently, fold the whipped cream into the cake batter.
#3. Room temperature ingredients
At room temperature, when you beat eggs and dairy with an electric mixer, they form an emulsion that traps air. As the cake bakes, all that trapped air expands in the oven, giving the cake a fluffy consistency.
Using room temperature ingredients also creates a uniform texture so that the cake is soft and fluffy throughout, from the crust to the center. So, when a recipe like this one calls for room temperature ingredients, pay attention. It really does matter.
To bring eggs and dairy to room temperature, simply allow them sit out on the counter for an hour or so. Or, if you're like me and hardly ever remember to do this, here’s how to bring eggs and dairy to room temperature quickly.
#4. After adding the flour, do not over mix the batter
Even though cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, it's still important to mix the batter gently after adding the flour. Beating the batter after the flour has been added will encourage gluten development. Gluten development is great for things like homemade bread but something we want to avoid in a soft, tender cake.
Add the flour and buttermilk to the cake batter slowly, mixing on low speed just long enough to incorporate the ingredients.
#5. For cakes that are soft and tender, use buttermilk.
The acid in buttermilk creates a tender crumb while adding flavor and providing balance to the sweet side of cakes. Buttermilk also reacts with the baking powder in this recipe to help the cake rise while it bakes, ensuring that the cake will have a light texture that's rich and buttery without being dense and heavy.
What is the point of a Bundt Cake?
I LOVE bundt cakes but saw this question in a baking forum and realized it is 100% legit. Why make a Bundt Cake? What's even the point?
Here's why I love Bundt Cakes so very much:
- Bundt Cakes are pretty even without any decoration. Bundt Cake pans are molded to create cakes with lovely, sometimes intricate, designs. Once baked, you simply turn them out of the pan to display the lovely domed top and molded design of the bundt pan.
- Bundt Cakes are super easy to transport, slice and serve. Bringing dessert to a potluck, casual dinner, bake sale, party, camping trip or backyard BBQ? Bundt cakes are your best friend. They are super easy to transport, slice and serve, and sometimes (this cake included!) can be eaten on a napkin with your fingers just as easily as with a plate and fork.
- Bundt Cakes bake more evenly. Bundt pans are shaped as a tube with a hole in the center. This shape, with the hole in the center of the pan, helps deep cakes bake more evenly than a round cake pan of the same size.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Icing
The Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Icing for this cake requires just three ingredients and couldn't be simpler:
- Chocolate chips
- Peanut butter
Simply add all three ingredients to a saucepan and cook over low heat until melted. Then drizzle all that chocolate peanut butter deliciousness over the top of the cake.
When warm, the icing is glossy, pourable, and super easy to pour over the top of the cake. As it cools, it acquires a fudge texture. I don't know which I like more... eating a slice of this cake when the icing is still all warm and gooey, or eating a slice when the icing is thick and fudgy.
Actually - I do know the answer to that question: Both.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Scroll down to rate the recipe, leave a comment, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the Cake:
- 2 ½ cups + 2 tbsp (311g) cake flour (See note for a cake flour substitution)
- 2 ¼ tsp (9g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
- 18 tbsp (255g) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (214g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (177ml) Buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (255g/ 9oz) mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup 120ml) cold heavy cream
For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Icing:
- ¾ cup (127g/ 4.5oz) mini chocolate chips (*See note)
- 3 tbsp (45g) creamy peanut butter
- ¼ tsp salt (More, or less, to taste. Optional; see note)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Coat the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with vegetable shortening or butter. Shake a couple of tablespoons of all-purpose flour around inside the pan so that the inside of the pan is completely coated in a thin layer of flour. Set aside.
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to blend.
- Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed for until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the buttermilk and flour mixture in alternating additions - ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the flour. After each addition, beat on low speed just long enough to barely incorporate the ingredients. Do not over beat.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- In a seperate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cake batter, mixing very gently, just until barely combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 65 - 75 minutes. When done, the cake will be set and pulling away slightly from the edges of the pan. If you stick a toothpick into the cake and remoe it, there should be no sign of raw batter on the toothpick.
- Let the cake cool inside the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before drizzling with icing.
- To make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Icing: Add the chocolate chips, peanut butter and salt to a small saucepan and set it over very low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate and peanut butter are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the top of the cake.
Cake Flour and how to make a Cake Flour Substitution:
Cake flour is one of the reasons this cake is exceptionally light and fluffy. The brand I use is Swans Down Cake Flour which can be found at many supermarkets, or ordered on Amazon.
If you can't find cake flour, you can make substitution by mixing 2 ¼ cups + 2 tbsp (297) all-purpose flour and ¼ cup (30g) cornstarch.
Can I use regular size chocolate chips in this recipe?
You can use regular size chocolate chips in this recipe, but you won't get the same level of distribution throughout the cake. Mini chocolate chips spread out more evenly thoughout the batter and create a better balance between chocolate and vanilla cake. Mini chocolate chips also interfere less with the fluffy texture of the cake. So, mini chocolate chips are preferrable.
However, if you find yourself wanting to make this cake with only regular size chocolate chips at hand, toss them in the food processor and pulse a couple of times to break them into smaller pieces. Or, pile them on a cutting board and use a chef's knife to chop them up a bit.
Can I make this cake if I don't have a bundt pan?
I heard from one reader who baked this cake in an angel food cake pan with great success. And, although I haven't tested it yet, I'm sure that baking this in two 8-inch round cake pans will also work well. Be sure to prepare the cake pans properly so the cake doesn't stick to the pans and reduce the bake time to accomdate for the fact that there is less batter in the pans.
Why I like to add salt to the chocolate peanut butter fudge icing:
I am a huge fan of adding a bit of salt to sweet recipes. Salt does more than just make food taste salty. It's a flavor enhancer, bringing out out the flavor of the ingredients in a recipe. So, even though it's optional, I highly recomend adding a bit of salt to the chocolate peanut butter fudge icing for this cake. Start wtih ¼ tsp and then taste the icing. If you think you'd like a bit more, go for it. If you're concerned that ¼ tsp is going to be too much salt, start with ⅛ of a teaspoon and go from there. You're the boss.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/12 of the cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 537Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 463mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 3gSugar: 37gProtein: 7g