Hot Chocolate Cake

The only thing I enjoy during the cold…dark…winter days is hot chocolate. So I thought, why not make a hot chocolate cake!

This cake WAS SO MOIST, yes the flavour was also great, but the moistness of it was what I loved the most.

If you like drinking hot chocolate, you should definitely make this so you can experience eating hot chocolate too.

A slice of the hot chocolate cake on a white plate, with the full cake in the background.

Video Tutorial

What makes this a ‘hot chocolate’ cake?

You might be thinking that this just looks like a regular chocolate cake….I agree, it does.

But there are 2 ways I incorporated hot chocolate into this.

The first way is by pouring some hot chocolate over the cake layers after they had been baked. This is what made the cake so moist.

I feel like from now on I’m going to be pouring hot chocolate or chocolate milk over every chocolate cake I make, I love what it did.

Then the second way; I added hot chocolate powder into the buttercream. This made the buttercream have the same flavour a cup of hot chocolate has!

The full hot chocolate cake covered in buttercream and with marshmallow fluff piped on top.

Ingredients for the cake

For the chocolate cake layers, most of the ingredients are your typical cake ingredients, but there are some I wanted to talk about.

The cocoa powder

Chocolate cake is usually made with unsweetened cocoa powder.

For this cake, you want to still use this. I’ve learnt that replacing the cocoa powder in a cake with hot chocolate powder just gives you a very mild chocolate flavour and it also negatively effects the texture of the cake.

So we’re still using regular cocoa powder for the actual cake layers!

The coffee

Coffee in chocolate cake helps bring out the chocolate flavour; it makes it more prominent.

It won’t make the cake taste like coffee at all, but if you did want to leave it out, you can. Just make sure to still add the hot water.

The yoghurt

I love adding plain yoghurt to my chocolate cakes.

I’ve found that cocoa powder can be a drying ingredients. So adding yoghurt into the cake batter ensures that you still have a moist cake.

If you don’t have plain yoghurt, sour cream is the best substitute. Buttermilk will work too!

The vinegar

Adding vinegar into my chocolate cake is something I’ve only recently started doing.

Since making my red velvet cake recipe, I’ve learnt that using vinegar in cakes helps make them fluffier.

Essentially as the cake layers bake, the vinegar reacts with the baking soda, which helps the cake layers rise. Because of this extra lift in the oven, you will have a fluffier cake.

I use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar works great too. If you don’t want to use vinegar, the best substitute would be the same amount of lemon juice.

The top of the hot chocolate cake.

The hot chocolate buttercream

For the buttercream, I made an American buttercream.

Typically my go to is either Swiss meringue buttercream or just whipped cream. But for this cake, I felt like an American buttercream went well with it.

To make it, it’s pretty simple. You just beat the butter for about a minute. Then add some sieved icing sugar and vanilla. Then beat this for about 5 minutes to make it light and fluffy.

For the hot chocolate part, I heated some hot chocolate powder and cream together, then I added this into the buttercream.

The reason why I didn’t add the hot chocolate powder straight into the buttercream is because hot chocolate powder has sugar mixed into it. I don’t which exact sugar is used but I’m guessing it’s probably granulated or caster sugar.

So because of this, you want to heat the powder and cream together so that the sugar can get dissolved. If you don’t do this, you’ll be able to taste the grains of sugar in the buttercream, which in my personal opinion doesn’t taste very good.

Side note, I used the Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder, you could use whichever one you want!

Help, my buttercream is too runny!

Because of the hot chocolate/cream mixture that we’re adding into the buttercream, there is a chance that the buttercream can end up a little runny.

If this happens, the first way to solve it is by just beating it. As you keep beating the buttercream, it should thicken up.

If this doesn’t work, just put it into your fridge for 10-20 minutes. Then take it out beat it again and then the buttercream will be good to go.

One of the cake layers after being baked and levelled.

The marshmallow fluff

Hot chocolate typically has marshmallows in or on top of it. So to finish this cake, I added some marshmallow fluff on top. 

I felt like piping marshmallow fluff on the top of the cake and then toasting it slightly with a blow torch would look a lot prettier than just adding actual marshmallows on top. But you could just use real marshmallows if you wanted to.

If you’re using marshmallow fluff, I only added a bit on top but this was just personal preference, you could add as much as you want.

Just a heads up though, from my experience, marshmallow fluff starts melting after a while. So if you’re planning on making this cake a day or two before serving it, don’t add the marshmallow fluff on top straight away!

Not feeling a hot chocolate cake? Here are some other cake recipes you might like:

Hot Chocolate Cake

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  • For the cake:
  • 50g cocoa powder

  • 100ml hot water mixed with 1 teaspoon instant coffee

  • 100ml any flavourless oil (I used vegetable oil)

  • 100g plain yoghurt

  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

  • 3 eggs

  • 175g plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 125g granulated sugar

  • 125g brown sugar

  • For the hot chocolate:
  • 200ml milk

  • 4 tablespoons hot chocolate powder

  • For the buttercream:
  • 50ml double cream (or whipping cream)

  • 150g hot chocolate powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 300g unsalted butter, softened

  • 250g icing sugar, sieved

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Plus some marshmallow fluff for the top


  • Making the cake:
  • Start by pre-heating your oven to 170c/325f. Also grease and line two 6 inch cake tins.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water/coffee. Once this is smooth, whisk in the oil, yoghurt and vinegar. Now whisk in the eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, granulated and brown sugar. Add this into your other bowl and whisk everything together just until you get a smooth batter.
  • Pour this into your cake tins and bake for around 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • For the hot chocolate:
  • Whiles the cakes are baking, make the hot chocolate. Heat the milk in your microwave for about 1 minute, then mix the hot chocolate powder into this.
  • Leave this aside to cool down a little whiles your cakes are baking.
  • Once your cakes have baked, whiles they're still warm, poke some holes into them using a knife or a skewer.
  • Whiles your cake layers are still in the tins, slowly pour the hot chocolate over them. Don't add it all at once, add a bit, let the cakes soak this, then add more.
  • Leave these aside for a few hours to cool completely and to fully soak up the hot chocolate.
  • Making the buttercream:
  • In a pot, mix together the cream and hot chocolate powder. Place this over medium heat and heat, whiles mixing, for about a minute. Once the mixture starts to boil slightly, take it off the heat.
  • In a large bowl, add the softened butter and beat this for about a minute. Add half of the icing sugar into this, mix until incorporated, then mix in the rest of the icing sugar and vanilla. Once this icing sugar has been incorporated, beat this mixture for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream/hot chocolate mixture into this and beat for another few minutes until smooth and fluffy. Leave aside until you're ready to use it.
  • Assembling:
  • Once the cakes have completely cooled, you can assemble.
  • Add 1 cake layer onto a board or plate, spread some of the buttercream over this and then add another layer on top.
  • Now you can just decorate it however you want. I just iced it, piped some marshmallow fluff on top and then used a blow torch to toast the marshmallow fluff.
  • After decorating, cut into it and enjoy. I recommend warming a slice in your microwave for 10-20 seconds, it tastes so good warm!