Jeannie's Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake
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One of the reasons I started this site is because of my love of the story and people behind the recipes.  

Ali Miller, owner of vintage jewelry store Gray and Davis and her family favorite recipe for Sour cream chocolate chip cake, is no exception.  At the helm of one of New York City's greatest secret treasures, Ali and her husband have been running this small, exquisite shop, newly reopened last year in Greenwich village.  They sell many Victorian, Georgian and turn of the century one of a kind jewelry, including engagement rings and bands.

Window shopping at Gray and Davis is like visiting a museum.

Stylists and A list celebrities find the most stunning pieces to wear on the red carpet (see their insta!) but Ali and her husband Rick are anything but pretentious.  The sweetest couple, I’d often bring cakes I was testing for the site over for some real live feedback.

That’s when Ali told me the story behind the only cake she knows how to bake.  Of course, I insisted she share with the world so here it is in all it’s simple and finger lickin’ glory.


Jeannie’s Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake

This is my mom’s cake, or so I thought. With each birthday Mom calls to ask, ‘What cake do you want me to make you?’ The answer is always the same.  The Sour Cream Chocolate Chip cake.  

Mom makes this for my siblings, my cousins, my husband, my father, my aunts etc.  As I got older, naturally I started making this cake for my friends. I brought it to bars, to house parties and it never disappoints.  

One day, I made it for my mother in law’s birthday.  Now she had heard about this cake and asked me if it had a story. I didn’t know, so I asked my mom and I learned that behind every good cake there is a good story. This is the story of Jeannie’s Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake.

My mom, Patty, went to a Catholic nursing school in Philadelphia in the 1960’s. The students, all women, had to live together in a home guarded by the house mother. There was 6:30 AM mass every morning, starched uniforms and yes, a nightly curfew.

Patty’s roommate was a gal named Jeannie. Each Monday after class Jeannie would sneak away from campus and drive to her parents’ house where she would help her younger siblings with homework and would cook and lend a hand to her father. Jeannie’s mom passed a few years back and though she was a fulltime student she still risked being expelled to pitch in. Patty would stuff Jeannie’s bed and cover for her so the house mother wouldn’t notice she was gone. When Jeanine would return waaayyyy past curfew on Monday evening, she would throw a stone at Patty’s window. Patty would wake up, round up a few gals and they’d tossed a rope down to pull Jeannie up and in through the window. Up came Jeannie, Sour Cream Chocolate cake in-hand.  The girls would eat cake and talk about life and when graduation time came, Jeannie gave Patty the recipe. So there you have it, the story behind the cake. -Ali Miller



Chocolate Chip Cake with sour cream and cinnamon sugar from Ali Miller of Gray and Davis
Serving Size: Serves 12-14


1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

8 ounces of sour cream

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

2 cups unbleached flour

 16 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips



White granulated sugar

Unsalted butter or nonstick spray for greasing


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix a few good handfuls of white sugar and a few good pinches of cinnamon.  Set aside.

Spray or grease 9 x13 inch rectangular pan or pyrex dish.  Over medium speed, beat together the butter, 1 cup of sugar and eggs until well mixed about 1 minute.  Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Spread half of the batter into the baking dish, sprinkle with chocolate chips and garnish with a generous handful of the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Gently spread the remaining half of batter on top, then garnish with chocolate chips and more of the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut into squares, if it lasts that long!