Savor: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cake

This recipe is tried and true in our home. I stumbled upon it a few years ago in a catalog from a spice company I adore, Penzey’s Spices. I’m not lucky enough to live near one of their locations, so when their catalog comes in the mail it is kinda like the Dinner Inspiration Fairy landing in my kitchen. Do any of you live a Penzey’s Spices store location? Those stores must smell heavenly!

There is something about Fall weather that makes me want to bake. (Did I mention how much I love Fall?) Cooler weather outside and savory and sweet smells coming from our kitchen just seems to warm my soul. And nothing smells quite as delicious as the smell of cinnamon being baked into a cake wafting all over the house. Cinnamon is one of the smells realtors often recommend using for enticing buyers during home tours. Homemade desserts = Happy home.

Image courtesy of

So here is a favorite cake recipe of ours from Penzey’s. It has cinnamon AND chocolate baked into it. (You’re welcome!) It makes a great dessert and it can also work as a great coffee cake, in case you really need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. I won’t argue with you.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) or 120 mL of butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups  or 295 mL of sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup or 235 mL of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon or 5 mL of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups or 470 mL of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons or 7.5 mL of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon or 5 mL of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL of cinnamon
  • 1 (12 oz. or 342 grams) bag of chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C/ Gas mark 4 in the UK ( I can’t let a little math stand in the way of sharing cake!)

Grease and flour a 13 inch x 9 inch baking pan, then set it aside.

In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer in a bowl, combine butter, 1 cup (235 mL) of sugar and the eggs. Beat until light and fluffy.

Add the sour cream and vanilla, blend throughly on low.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. If you don’t have a sifter, you can fold air into the mixture using a whisk.  Just make sure to “fold”, not “stir”.

Add this dry mix slowly to the beaten mixture.

Pour 1/2 of the batter in to the grease and floured baking pan.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon.

Pour half of the sugar-cinnamon mix over the batter in the pan.

Top with 1/2 of the chocolate chips.

Pour remaining batter over chocolate chips in pan. Layer the batter with the remaining sugar-cinnamon mix and top it with the remaining chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 minutes. Only 30 minutes!

Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack.

This cake serves great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Whipped cream looks more responsible when you eat this cake for breakfast. Plus, you can also use the cream in your coffee. Just sayin’.

This whole recipe takes only 15 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake. Delicious cake in under an hour?! You cannot go wrong with this recipe. It serves 12, unless you make a “terrible cutting mistake” and “accidentally” cut larger pieces. I understand this tragedy happens in many homes…including my own.

Do you have a favorite cinnamon recipe? Does anyone ever sprinkle a little cinnamon their coffee? I’ve heard this is a great tip, but I’ve never tried it. What spices mean “Fall is here!” in your home? All tips and recipes are welcome, please leave a comment!

Posted on September 29, 2011, in Food, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This looks scrumptious.

    It’s not much of a recipe, but I love sprinkling cinnamon on apples for a light dessert.

  2. I love the mulling spices for cider that they sell in the fall and winter at Williams Sonoma. It makes me think of the changing of the leaves and cooler weather.

  3. Paula from Brussels

    I know what I’m baking this week-end! Hubby’s around, so it’s going to be a double treat!!!
    😉 PS: I have both baking powder and baking soda but… what’s the difference exactly? I thought you could use both indistinctly…

    • That is a great question, Paula! I’m no chemistry expert, but I learned early on not to confuse the two!
      Here’s the answer from the chemistry experts that write for

      Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to ‘rise’. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.

      Baking Soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!

      Baking Powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

      One tip from me: Both Baking soda and Baking powder expire 6 months after they have been opened. They can even get rancid! Be sure to replace your products if they are out of date or your recipes won’t come out well!

      Hope this helps, Paula! Leave a comment later and let us know how your recipe turned out!
      I’m so glad to know my European readers are using the metric measurements! Happy Baking!

  4. Looks delicious :D. I was confused about what the above comment mentions, but I looked it up a little while back. People often assume they’re interchangeable.

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