Hot chocolate cake tastes just like your beloved cozy winter drink. Rich chocolate cake layers filled with chocolate marshmallow frosting and marshmallow fluff. Topped with additional marshmallows, this cake is not only delicious, but a real showstopper. By the way, have you tried my s'mores cake yet?
Step-by-step video tutorial
Expert tips for success
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting. Otherwise, the cake will become unstable while frosting.
- If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar to thicken it. You might want to add a pinch of salt to reduce the sweetness.
- Make sure you chill the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving as it needs time to set and chill properly.
- Slice the cake cold, otherwise the marshmallow fluff filling will ooze out too much, making the cake difficult to slice.
- You'll notice that the marshmallow fluff will ooze out over time once the cake is sliced. Cover the cut sides with plastic wrap to prevent the marshmallow flow from leaking too much during storage.
Can I make this cake with natural cocoa powder?
The cake layers are made with dutch-processed cocoa powder and baking powder. If you want to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder, then substitute 1:1. Instead of 1 tablespoon of baking powder, use 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Substitute the cocoa powder for the frosting 1:1.
How do I make hot cocoa needed for the cake layers?
Hot cocoa is just unsweetened cocoa powder and boiling hot water. You'll typically need 1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder per 1 cup (240 ml) of water, but you can check the package directions if there are any. Don't use hot chocolate or sweetened cocoa as it would change the texture and taste of the cake layers.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
- Cake layers: After baking the cake layers, let cool completely. Then tightly wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap twice. Place in freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, unwrap the cake layers and let sit on the counter for about 1-2 hours. Once it is at room temperature, make the frosting and assemble the cake as instructed.
- Whole cake: After chilling, place the cake in the freezer until it is firm, for about 2 hours. Remove the cake from the freezer and tightly wrap in plastic wrap twice. Make sure that everything is covered. Then wrap in aluminum foil twice until completely covered or place in a freezer container. It freezes well for up to 2 months. Unwrap the cake and thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Single slices: Place the slices in the freezer for about 1 hour. Then remove from the freezer and tightly wrap in plastic wrap twice until fully covered. Place in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, unwrap the cake and place on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
More festive desserts to try
- Orange Cranberry Cake
- Black Forest Cake
- Eggnog Gingerbread Tiramisu
- Tiramisu Cake
- Eggnog Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
Hot Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ¾ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
- 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup canola or mild vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup unsweetened hot cocoa
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
- 7 oz marshmallow fluff
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tablespoon milk, if needed
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 7 oz marshmallow fluff
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of two 8" (20cm) baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cake: In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or a handheld mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla just until combined. Stir in dry ingredients to combine. Slowly mix in hot cocoa until combined. The batter will be very thin. Divide batter into the two prepared baking pans equally. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature.
- Frosting: In a large mixing bowl with a stand or a handheld mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter until creamy for about 1-2 minutes. Sift in powdered sugar and cocoa and mix until combined and sugar is dissolved. Add marshmallow fluff and stir until smooth. Add salt to your taste. If the frosting is too firm, stir in 1-2 tablespoon milk to lighten it up. Stir until creamy.
- Filling: In a medium mixing bowl with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter and powdered sugar until creamy for about 1-2 minutes. Add marshmallow fluff and stir until smooth.
- Assemble: Cut a thin layer off the tops of your cakes to create a flat surface. Then cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a cake stand, turner or serving plate. Spread ¼ of the chocolate frosting over the cake. The frosting should be higher around the edges that it holds the marshmallow filling inside the cake. Layer with ⅓ of the marshmallow filling (where the frosting is lower). Repeat two more times. Place last cake layer on top and lightly frost the outside and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill at least 3 hours in the fridge or overnight. Decorate with marshmallows or whipped cream to your preference. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
You can find the video in the post above. If you don't see a video, please check your browser settings.