My old-fashioned Hot Milk Cake recipe makes a dense yellow cake topped with a thick layer of chocolate fudge frosting. It’s a simple and easy cake, with no layering or decorating required. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Soft & Simple Hot Milk Cake
This old-fashioned hot milk cake is a must-share recipe from my grandmother’s recipe book. It’s a soft, but dense cake that reminds me of a cross between vanilla cake and pound cake. It’s topped off with a decadent fudgy frosting. I’ve re-created so many of my grandmother’s recipes (have you tried her apple dumplings?!), but this is definitely one of my family’s favorites!
There’s a lot to love about this cake, but it’s that thick, luscious, glossy, fudgy layer of chocolate frosting that really gets me. At first glance, the icing resembles a classic chocolate ganache, but it’s actually quite different. It’s very easy to make on the stove, and the end result is a smooth, glossy frosting that reminds me of fudge once it’s cooled.
My grandmother would make this for dessert every Sunday, but it would make a unique birthday cake or snacking cake as well. It’s also a perfect recipe for bakers who struggle with decorating, since the icing just gets poured on. So simple, yet so satisfying!
What You Need
This cake comes together with a few basic ingredients. You’ll need:
- Baking powder. I accidentally say baking soda in the video, but it’s baking powder you need.
- Eggs. For best results, make sure your eggs are at room temperature before you start.
- Milk. The star of the recipe! I prefer to use whole milk in this recipe and recommend you do the same for best results. An alternative or lower fat milk may result in a cake that’s a little dry.
- Chocolate. You’ll need some chopped unsweetened baking chocolate for today’s frosting. Many of you have asked if you can use cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate. While I think this could work I’m not sure exactly how much you’d need.
- Butter. My grandmother’s original recipe used shortening in the frosting, but I prefer butter. You can use whatever you like!
SAM’S TIP: I made today’s cake in a bundt pan, but I use a 13×9 in my video. The recipe includes instructions for baking in either dish.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Hot Milk Cake
- Beat the eggs them until they are pale yellow and well-beaten.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bow, then stir them into your egg mixture.
- Heat together the milk and butter until it comes to a boil, then stir this boiling hot milk mixture into your cake batter. Be careful not to splash yourself!
- Pour the batter (it will be thin!) into a prepared pan.
- Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs! Let it cool before frosting.
SAM’S TIP: Switch to a spatula once you begin combining your wet and dry ingredients to avoid over-mixing your cake. An over-mixed cake will be dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Yes! If you’re using weights, it will be the same amount. If you’re using cups, you’ll need to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.
Before we add the milk to the cake, we will scald (or boil!) it first. Most cakes use either cold or room temperature milk, so this cake is unique and certainly lives up to its name!
One of my sisters is known for cutting her slices of this cake extra wide on top and narrowed to practically nothing at the bottom to maximize her frosting to cake ratio. Smart!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Hot Milk Cake
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter¹ cut into 4 pieces
- ⅓ cup whole milk (80ml)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar (250g)
- Bundt Pan (or 9×13 baking pan)
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and grease and flour a tube pan (you may instead make this recipe in a 13×9” sheet pan). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat eggs until well-beaten and pale yellow (about 30 seconds on medium speed).
- Add sugar and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until combined.
- Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Set aside.
- Add melted milk/butter mixture and stir until combined. Batter will be thin.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake 350F (175C) for 40 minutes (if using a 13×9” pan, cake will need to bake 25-30 minutes).
- If you made this cake in a 13×9" pan, allow to cool completely in baking dish. If you baked in a bundt pan, allow cake to cool for 15 minutes and then invert onto cooling rack. Allow cake to cool completely before covering with Fudge Icing.
- Combine chopped chocolate, butter, and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are completely melted².
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in powdered sugar until fudge icing is smooth and glossy. Allow to cool, whisking frequently, until icing is cool and no longer runny, then pour over cake.³
- Allow icing to set and then slice and enjoy!
¹Butter in the frostingMy grandmother’s original recipe calls for shortening (like Crisco) rather than butter, and this seems to result in a slightly stiffer frosting. Feel free to use whichever you prefer or happen to have on hand. If the butter begins to separate, don’t panic, everything will come back together when you add your sugar.
³A note on pouring the frostingIf you made this hot milk cake in a bundt pan, let the icing thicken a bit before pouring so it doesn’t just run off the sides. If you made this cake in a 13×9″ dish, I recommend leaving it in the dish (I never turn it out onto a cooling rack) and you may pour it as soon as you have your frosting ingredients all whisked together. The edges of the pan will contain the frosting and keep any excess from going anywhere!
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.