1cupmini chocolate chipsor regular sized. Plus more for decorating.
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350F and line three 6 inch or two 8 inch pans with parchment paper and butter the sides. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then whisk together and set aside.
Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl and toss with a tablespoon of the flour mixture then set aside.
Cream the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the vanilla, then eggs one at a time while mixing on medium speed, then scrape the bowl down and mix in high for a minute.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour in three batches alternating with the buttermilk. Once almost combined, remove the whisk attachment and fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix the batter.
Divide batter equally between the pans, then bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until the edges pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan for about two minutes, then invert layers onto a cooling rack, remove the paper, and set aside to cool completely.
For the Frosting
Cream the butter and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer. Add the sugar a few cups at a time while mixing on low. Drizzle in the cream and vanilla, then scrape the bowl down and increase speed to high. Mix for about three minutes, then reduce the speed to low and mix an additional minute. Reserve a 2/3 a cup of buttercream for the dolls then add the chocolate chips to the remaining buttercream and mix on low until distributed.
Once the cake layers are cool add a thin layer of buttercream onto the first layer and stack the second layer on top. Repeat until the cake is built then cover with buttercream and smooth. Pipe dollops on top and press chocolate chips onto the lower third of the cake.
I highly recommend using a scale to measure your flour. However, if you don’t have a scale, be sure to fluff your flour with a spoon and then spoon it into your cups before leveling it off with a knife. This method is the best way to measure flour without overpacking the measuring cup.
Listen to your cake. The cake layers have finished baking when they are quiet. If it makes a crackling sound when you put your ear close, it needs another minute or two.
You can use cake strips to help your layers come out evenly. Cake strips work by keeping the outside edge of the pan cooler to ensure that the entire cake rises at the same rate, preventing a dome from forming in the middle. If you don’t want to purchase a set, check out my post on getting flat cake layers to learn how to DIY the strips.
Avoid over-mixing as you risk over-developing the gluten in the batter leading to a tough, dry, and dense cake.
An offset spatula or bench scraper is perfect for frosting the cake.
The eggs should be at room temperature to ensure they incorporate evenly into your batter without accidentally over-mixing. If you forgot to bring out your eggs, you could quickly bring them to room temperature by placing them in a large bowl and covering them with warm tap water for 5 minutes.
I recommend tapping the cake pans on your counter to pop any air bubbles.
To make the dollops like mine, use an 869 piping tip.
Mini chocolate chips will be best for the frosting but regular sized chocolate chips will work as well! You can use semisweet or bittersweet depending on your preference.