• I created this fun kid-centric birthday cake after making a fancy cake for my eldest daughter's first birthday, which she hated. After quickly realizing that birthday cakes are now for my kids' pleasure, not to fulfill my desire to create the next masterpiece, I've revised my approach. My kids now love to help me in the kitchen, so it needs to be easy. A chocolate chip birthday cake is an over-the-top fun cake to make for anyone's birthday (this year it was for my husband). Decorating the top with candies is the icing on the cake (no pun intended).
  • Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa, Family Style


  • For the cake
  • 18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 7 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) crème fraiche, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10-12 ounce bag chocolate chips
  • For the frosting
  • 12 ounce block semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 12 ounce block bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Several bowls of mixed candies, such as M&Ms and jelly beans
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CUISINE American


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
  2. For the cake
  3. Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the crème fraiche, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well.
  5. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Add the chocolate chips. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed.
  6. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.
  7. For the frosting
  8. Place the chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted.
  9. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature.
  10. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it’s thickened.
  11. Spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Have the children decorate the cake with the candies.


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