Hot Chocolate Cake

A light (not dense) but decadent hot chocolate cake made with real hot chocolate
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 14 slices
Calories 575kcal
Author Sam Merritt



  • 2 cups sugar 400g
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 233g
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder 75g
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups canola oil vegetable oil would also be OK
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs preferably room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups hot chocolate (this should be hot to the touch too. If you are making your own hot chocolate, make it using milk, not water)

Chocolate Frosting

  • 3 sticks butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk

Marshmallow Buttercream

  • 6 Tbsp butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff about 1 7oz container
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Marshmallows for topping if desired


  • Makes either a 2-layer 8" or 9" cake, or a 3-layer 6" cake. Baking times will vary and are indicated for each size below.


  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare cake pans by lightly but thoroughly greasing and flouring.
  • In bowl of KitchenAid mixer (or in large bowl if using hand-mixer) whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • With mixer on low speed, stir in canola oil and water.
  • Increase speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until well-combined.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Gradually add hot chocolate to bowl, stirring in manually. Return to KitchenAid (or to hand-mixer) and stir on low-speed until well-combined (pause occasionally to scrape sides and bottom of bowl to make sure ingredients are combined completely).
  • Evenly divide batter into prepared pans (do not fill more than 3/4 full, if you have excess batter, discard).
  • If using 8" or 9" pans: bake on 350F for 25-30 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with few crumbs).
  • If using 6" pans: bake on 350F for 40-45 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with few crumbs).
  • Once finished baking, allow cakes to cool in pans for 15 minutes. Run a butterknife around the inside rim of the pan to loosen the cakes and then invert onto cooling racks to remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cocoa Frosting

  • Measure out your milk and set aside.
  • While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting by beating butter on medium speed (with KitchenAid or hand mixer) until well-creamed.
  • Add cocoa powder and 1 cup of powdered sugar, beat on low speed until it begins to combine.
  • Add approximately half of the milk and the vanilla and beat on low speed until ingredients are creamed together.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar, stir, and then add remaining milk, stirring until ingredients are creamed together.
  • Be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl to ensure ingredients are well-combined.
  • Set aside chocolate frosting and prepare marshmallow buttercream.

Marshmallow Buttercream

  • Cream together butter and marshmallow fluff.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar until combined.


  • Once cakes are completely cooled, prepare by icing each layer with chocolate, applying the chocolate most heavily 1" around the edges and creating an indent or "nest" in the center for the marshmallow fluff.
  • Spread or pipe marshmallow fluff into the indent created with the chocolate frosting, and then top with the next layer and repeat.
  • Ice the entire outside of cake with the chocolate frosting and pipe or spread marshmallow buttercream on the center of the top.
  • Just before serving, top with marshmallows for decoration (if desired) and serve.


Calories: 575kcal