Let this be your sign to start adding chocolate chips to red velvet cake! This chocolate chip red velvet cake has the classic velvety, spongy, and ohhh so moist texture of red velvet cake with bites of mini chocolate chips throughout. All topped off with classic cream cheese frosting and a dreamy ganache drip.
mini chocolate chips
You know what really takes classic red velvet cake over the edge? Mini chocolate chips in the batter! It's such a simple little addition, but it makes for an even chocolatier and delicious cake!
As soon as you take a bite, you can taste the subtle difference in chocolate flavor. All without having to add anymore cocoa to the batter (which can ultimately throw off the color of your cake).
If you wanted to just make classic red velvet cake, you could also leave the chocolate chips out. But I really REALLY recommend giving them a try.
what is red velvet cake?
If you've had a Jos Louis, you've had red velvet cake. If you're totally new to the red velvet world, then let's do a quick little introduction!
Red velvet cake is kind of a hybrid of vanilla and chocolate cake (mind-blowing if you ask me because you can't really tell by looking at it). It has a very subtle chocolaty flavor because it features less cocoa than say a classic chocolate cake but it has a similar texture and structure to a classic vanilla cake. Not quite fudgy, but also not NOT fudgy - if that makes sense?
It's super light, airy, and fluffy - and the texture is quite literally like velvet. Any great red velvet cake is spongy and will practically melt in your mouth.
Oh and of course, red velvet cake is colored red (most often by using food coloring but some recipes also use beets as a dye!)
what's the best food coloring for red velvet cake
I always prefer to use liquid-gel food coloring (it's what I usually keep on hand because it's basically the best of liquid and gel food coloring - liquid enough to easily add and incorporate but not SO runny that it impacts the cake batter in any way).
This cake batter is very forgiving, so you could use liquid food coloring or gel food coloring. But that being said, I would try to steer clear of liquid if you can - you'll need a whole lot more of it to color the cake decently.
Here are the rough amounts you'd need depending on what kind of food coloring you choose (but do keep in mind that it's up to you if you want to slightly increase or decrease the amount of food coloring to reach your desired color):
• liquid food coloring: the least powerful of the bunch - you'll need a lot more because it won't pigment as much as liquid-gel or gel food coloring. For this cake, you'll need about 2 to 3 tablespoons.
• liquid-gel food coloring: this is what I personally prefer to use. You'll need about 1 tablespoon.
• gel food coloring: this paste packs the STRONGEST coloring between the three, so you'll need a whole lot less. You'll need around ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon for this cake, but I recommend using a toothpick to color instead to avoid accidentally adding too much. Dip the toothpick tip into the paste and swirl it into the batter. Gradually add more to reach your desired color.
how to decorate chocolate chip red velvet cake
I also thought this cake could use a little added flair in the form of a ganache drizzle to really drive home that chocolate factor. And obviously I HAD to add some mini chocolate chips on top to give a little hint about what's in the cake.
To get the cake crumbs for the top, I just like to carefully shave some cake off the layers with a sharp serrated knife. If you want to decorate your cake like mine, you'll just need about 2 tablespoons of cake crumbs.
I recommend shaving the crumbs off the bottom of your layers (the part that was touching your cake pan - it technically becomes the top when you flip the cakes onto a wire rack to cool). The tops are SUPER moist and are difficult to crumble. The bottoms are a little drier and make for a better choice! But it's totally optional - you can skip this if you don't want to decorate the cake with it.
how to make chocolate chip red velvet cake
1. Whisk together dry ingredients & set aside.
2. Cream together butter, oil, and sugar until smooth and a pale yellow color. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer.
3. Whisk eggs in one at a time. Make sure the egg is fully whisked in before adding the next one.
Butter, sugar, and oil creamed together.
Eggs whisked in.
4. Add in sour cream, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. The color of the cake will look very vibrant, but after you add the remaining ingredients, it'll mellow out into a deeper almost crimson color.
5. Alternate whisking in dry ingredients and buttermilk. Start by whisking in about ⅓ of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk in about ½ of the milk, followed by another ⅓ of flour, the remaining ½ of the milk, and finish off with the remaining dry ingredients.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
7. Divide the batter evenly between 3 cake pans.
8. Bake & cool. Cool the cakes for about 5 minutes in the pans, then turn onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
(Optional) once the cakes have cooled, shave about 2 tablespoons of cake off the layers to decorate the finished cake with the crumbs.
9. Make the frosting: Use an electric mixer to cream together all the frosting ingredients on low speed to combine, then on medium high until light and fluffy. This recipe makes enough frosting for a semi-naked cake.
10. Make the ganache drip: Heat cream until steamy and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk to melt. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes in the fridge, or until no longer hot.
11. Assemble! Layer the cooled cakes with about ¾ cup frosting between each layer. Frost the top and side of the cake. Drizzle the ganache off the sides to create a drip, and top with cake crumbs and mini chocolate chips.
12. Slice and serve! You can enjoy the cake right away, but if you want cleaner slices, chill the cake for about 1 hour in the fridge before slicing.
• avoid liquid food coloring. It takes way too much liquid food coloring to make a dent in the pigment of this cake. I'd recommend liquid-gel or gel food coloring.
• chill the cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is usually on the softer side. You can add more powdered sugar, but I personally prefer to chill the frosting for 30 to 60 minutes to help it set up enough to layer.
• cool the ganache before drizzling. The hot ganache can melt the frosting so it's very important to make sure it's cooled down before using!
• storage. Keep the cake covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can cover the cake with a cake server lid if you have one or with a large bowl or pot.
You can also cover the cake with plastic wrap. To preserve your decorated cake, chill the cake for about 1 to 2 hours in the fridge uncovered to allow the frosting and ganache to set, and then you can cover it with plastic wrap without ruining your decorations!
Check out these other recipes!
Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Cake Recipe
for the chocolate chip red velvet cake batter
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour spoon and leveled
- ⅓ cup (27g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (120mL) vegetable oil, or any neutral flavored oil
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon liquid-gel food coloring *see notes
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 & ¼ cups (300mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 cups (340g) mini chocolate chips
for the cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 ounces (115g) full-fat block cream cheese, at room temperature **see notes
- 5 & ½ cups (715g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the chocolate ganache drip
- 3 ounces (85g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease 3 (8 inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment rounds. Lightly dust the sides of the pans with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup (27g) unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine butter, oil, and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment, or a whisk by hand, cream together until smooth and light in color. This will take about 1 to 2 minutes at medium speed with a mixer or 2 to 3 minutes by hand.½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,, ½ cup (120mL) vegetable oil,, 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- Whisk eggs into the sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in sour cream, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla.4 large eggs,, ½ cup (120g) full-fat sour cream,, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid-gel food coloring, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Alternate whisking the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the wet ingredients. Start by mixing in about ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk. Mix in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk, and finish off with the remaining dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix!! Fold in chocolate chips to combine.1 & ¼ cups (300mL) buttermilk,, 2 cups (340g) mini chocolate chips
- Portion the cake batter between your prepared cake pans and smoothen into an even layer. Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 28 to 32 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes for about 5 minutes in the pans, then turn onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely before frosting.
- (Optional) Use a serrated knife to shave some crumbs off the bottom of the cakes to use for decorating later.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine frosting ingredients. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater or whisk attachment, mix together on low speed until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the speed to medium and whip for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. You can do this by hand but it'll take about double the time and effort!1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter,, 4 ounces (115g) full-fat block cream cheese,, 5 & ½ cups (715g) powdered sugar,, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- If the frosting is too thick, whisk in about 1 tablespoon of milk until it reaches your desired consistency. If the frosting is too thin, you can either beat in more powdered sugar or chill in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes to firm up slightly. * This recipe makes enough frosting to frost a semi-naked cake.
- Make the ganache drip: Add chocolate to a medium heat safe bowl, and set aside. Heat cream in a small pot until it starts steaming and very lightly bubbles around the edges.3 ounces (85g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate, ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream
- Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes before mixing until the chocolate is melted and everything is smooth and combined. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 or until no longer warm.
- Assemble the cake! Layer your cakes on a cake stand with about ¾ cup of frosting between each layer. Frost the top and outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Drizzle the ganache over the sides of your cake to create a drip effect and sprinkle cake crumbs and mini chocolate chips on top!
- You can slice and serve the cake right away, or chill for 1 hour to allow it to firm up for even cleaner slices!