Hot Chocolate Cake

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Hot Chocolate Cake is a moist chocolate cake with hot chocolate buttercream frosting and marshmallow filling! The combination is wonderfully decadent and addicting!

Looking for more chocolate cake recipes? I love this easy chocolate cake recipe.


So this Hot Chocolate Cake has been on my mind for some time. It was on my calendar for the holidays and just kept getting bumped back until I finally got around to it after the holidays passed. Hot chocolate just feels very holiday-y to me, but it’s obviously perfect for any cold weather.

And I’m a big hot chocolate fan. Have you ever tried it with Baileys in it? It’s amazing. And the more marshmallows the better. As I was saying to the twins yesterday (and getting some fabulous laughs with), “mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm”. If only you could actually hear me say that. It’s apparently hilarious. 🙂


As for the approach to this making this cake, I went back and forth a bit. I initially started out making the cake using some hot chocolate in the actual cake. Since hot chocolate isn’t going to be strong enough on it’s own to give a cake a full on chocolate flavor, the cake has to use both cocoa powder and hot chocolate. Otherwise you’d have a vanilla cake with a smidge of chocolate flavor. Not what we want.

Side view of a Hot Chocolate Cake on a gray cake stand
Side view of a Hot Chocolate Cake with a slice removed on a gray cake stand

BUT. If we are going to go through the trouble of using hot chocolate (and waste a perfectly good packet of it), then you should taste it, you know? And I simply couldn’t use enough hot chocolate to even start to taste the hot chocolate over the flavor of the cocoa. So I decided to roll with my favorite Moist Chocolate Cake and then use hot chocolate for the buttercream frosting.

Best. Idea. Ever.

Not only is the chocolate make amazing (if you haven’t tried it yet, you have to), but the frosting is SO good! It’s made with four whole packets of hot chocolate (assuming you use the individual packets for a cup of hot chocolate), but it’s dissolved in a small amount of milk, so you get loads of hot chocolate flavor without thinning out your buttercream. Sweet!


The only thing that could make this cake better is a wonderful marshmallow filling. I used a marshmallow frosting made with just three ingredients – butter, powdered sugar and marshmallow cream. And since more marshmallows are better, I used almost a full container and a half of cream. I also made sure that this cake had three layers of filling. Not one, not two, but three. MORE MARSHMALLOW! Get in my belly!

A slice of Hot Chocolate Cake with a bite removed next to a silver fork on a gray plate
Side view of a full Hot Chocolate Cake on a gray cake stand

The trick with this cake is layering everything. The marshmallow filling is on the softer side when at room temperature, so you will want to refrigerate the cake for about an hour after you torte and fill it – prior to frosting the full cake and decorating it. You might be able to get by without that step, but you’ll have to be really careful, since the layers slip around a bit. So do yourself a favor, and refrigerate it – it’ll be much easier to work with and it won’t budge again.

Once the cake is frosted, I added a white chocolate drip and a ring of marshmallows on top. I was torn between a white chocolate and regular chocolate drip. Both would have been so fun. But ultimately, since hot chocolate is covered with white marshmallows, I went white. Such a fun look and the hubs quite enjoyed stealing my marshmallows while I decorated.

To help give yourself full coverage with the marshmallows, it’s helpful to have both mini marshmallows and marshmallow bits, which can fill in gaps and small spaces really well. It also gives a little size variety, which looks a little more interesting.


The final result of this Hot Chocolate Cake is one amazing dessert! The combination of moist chocolate cake, smooth hot chocolate frosting and fluffy marshmallow filling is to die for. My mom about died over it herself when she tasted it and I tried to give it away as fast as possibly so that I didn’t hoard it all to myself. SO yummy and such a fun cake!

Side view of a Hot Chocolate Cake on a gray cake stand
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
A slice of Hot Chocolate Cake next to a silver fork on a gray plate

Hot Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Hot Chocolate Cake is a moist chocolate cake, hot chocolate buttercream frosting and marshmallow filling! The combination is wonderfully decadent and addicting!


Chocolate Cake

2 cups (260g) flour
2 cups (414g) sugar
3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) milk
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup (240ml) hot water

Hot Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4 tbsp (60ml) hot water/milk
2.92 oz hot chocolate powder mix*
1 1/2 cups (336g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup (237g) shortening
10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
2 tbsp (14g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
12 tbsp water or milk

Marshmallow Filling

1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
10 oz marshmallow creme

White chocolate Ganache

6 oz (1 cup) white chocolate chips
3 tbsp (45ml) heavy whipping cream
Mini marshmallows
Marshmallow bits

Vanilla Buttercream, optional

1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 tbsp water/milk


1. Prepare two 8 inch cake pans (see note below) with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
2. To make the chocolate cake, add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
3. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
4. Add the hot water and mix until well combined.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
7. To make the hot chocolate frosting, dissolve the hot chocolate powder into the hot water or milk. It’ll be fairly thick. Set aside.
8. Add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
9. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
10. Add the hot chocolate mixture and cocoa powder and mix until well combined and smooth.
11. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
12. Add additional water or milk as needed to get the right consistency.
13. To make the marshmallow filling, add the butter to a mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
14. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth. It’ll take a bit for it all to fully incorporate, so scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and keep mixing.
15. Stir in the marshmallow cream. Set filling aside.
16. When you are ready to build the cake, remove cake domes from top with a large serrated knife, if needed. Divide each cake into two layers, so you have four total layers.
17. Place the first layer of cake on cake plate or cardboard cake circle. Add half a cup of hot chocolate frosting and spread into an even layer.
18. Pipe a dam around the outer edge of the cake, then fill it with about 3/4 cup of marshmallow filling. Spread into an even layer.
19. Place the second layer of cake on top and add another layer of hot chocolate frosting and marshmallow filling.
20. Repeat with the third layer of cake and filling, then top the cake with the final layer.
21. Spread a light crumb coat around the sides of the cake, then refrigerate for about an hour to let the filling firm up a bit. The layers will slip around a bit if you skip this step.
22. After refrigerating, frost the outside of the cake. Feel free to use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake with buttercream.
23. To make the white chocolate ganache, add the white chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream just until it begins to boil, then pour over the white chocolate.
24. Whisk the chocolate mixture so that it begins to melt. Heat for another 10 seconds and whisk to continue melting. If needed heat another 10 seconds.
25. Drizzle the white chocolate around the top edge of the cake. I like to use a squeeze bottle, but you can also use a spoon or any other method.
26. Fill in the top of the cake with the ganache and spread evenly.
27. To create the ring of marshmallows, make the vanilla buttercream. Add the butter to a mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
28. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
29. Add a tablespoon of water or milk and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
30. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add additional water or milk, if needed for the right consistency.
31. Pipe a ring of the vanilla buttercream around the top edge of the cake, then add mini marshmallows and marshmallow bits.
32. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Cake is best served after letting it sit out for a few hours to come closer to room temperature. Cake is best when stored well covered for 2-3 days.


1. For the hot chocolate powder mix, I used four 0.73 individual packets of hot chocolate powder. If you have one large container of hot chocolate powder, it would be about 20 tablespoons.
2. These two cakes are fairly tall once baked, so they will completely fill an 8×2 inch cake pan. If you have 8×3 inch pans, those would be ideal.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1022
  • Sugar: 113.9 g
  • Sodium: 373.9 mg
  • Fat: 56.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 131.2 g
  • Protein: 6.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.2 mg



Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

  1. Purdy

    I was wondering if you could freeze the cake layers. As this is my daughters fav cake and she wants it for her birthday party. To be able to bake ahead would be great. If yiu can freeze it how long before hand could you do it?

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, the cake layers can be frozen for up to three months. Just wrap them well and then thaw them in the fridge before using them.

  2. Mary Ann Richter

    I am anxious to taste this cake, now that it is done! I made it into a 9×13 pan for easier transport to a party, so made half recipe of hot cocoa frosting, left off the vanilla buttercream layer. Did the marshmallow layer, and white chocolate ganache, sprinkled the top with the mini mini marshmallows, and chocolate zest, Looks delicious! If I can figure out how to leave a photo,, i will.

  3. Kimberly Getz

    I’m so excited to try this cake out! I was wondering if you had a video of the decorating process? I didn’t see one but watching you decorate your Turtle Cake was so helpful! Thanks!

  4. Katherine W

    This was certainly not a beginners. Kind of cake, but it was incredible! I love the way it turned out and it was incredibly delicious! So many compliments as well! (I have two pictures I would love to send if you would like to. Let me know how to do that.)

  5. Stephanie

    I am so excited to make this for my family – Have you had any experience with cake flour or do you just use regular all purpose?

  6. Stacey

    This looks sooo good! Quick question…Is the flour used all-purpose flour or cake flour? Thank you in advance! =)

  7. Ashli

    This recipe was entirely too sweet for me and my family and I didn’t even use all of the sugar the recipe called for. I left 4 stars because the chocolate cake recipe was AMAZING! I love the concept and would be willing to make this again if I can find a way to significantly reduce the sugar.

  8. Jorunn

    Looks absolutly delicious. Will make this for a party this weekend. Just have one question. Could i make this using 6inch pans?

    1. Lindsay

      Depending on how tall you want it, you may want to cut the recipe in half. But yes, 6 inch pans should be fine.

  9. Joy Varela

    This was a hit! I have made it twice. My daughter asked for this cake for her birthday. Moist, flavorful and just sweet enough.

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t typically recommend freezing full cakes, but it should be fine. Just wrap it well and thaw in the fridge.

  10. Mari Norman

    I tried this recipe for my little ones birthday. It was a hit! My ganache was a bit thick and I would recommend finding hot chocolate packets with the recipe suggested portions. My packets were a bit more so I used 20 tablespoons. Mine tasted like chocolate but less like hot chocolate.

  11. Saydie

    So do u just use 2 round cake pins for two layers or do u use four the picture is confusing with the directions it shows four layers but the directions say just to use two

  12. Ashley S

    Made most of this tonight (will finish in am), using 2 quarter sheet pans so that I can get 4 layers plus trimmings and use acetate. The cake and the batter was fabulous! The 300° tripped me out a bit, but I followed the directions and ended up at your same time measurements for 8in. Not sure if anyone else used sheetpans, but the recipe was exact!
    Am looking forward to the frosting & filling!
    Its definitely replaced my Momofuku & Gand recipes!

  13. Dilanya

    Hi, I made this cake for my mothers birthday yesterday and it tastes amazing!!😍 had a little trouble with stacking the cake cause the frosting and marshmallow filling was really soft😅 but it came out so great at the end. Definitely making this again❤

    1. Leesa Kopperud

      I’m wondering if you could use Irish Cream instead of milk to make this a boozy dessert. Do you think that would work?

  14. Brittaney kopp

    Could this be made with a different flavor cake? My sister isn’t a big chocolate fan but I like the frosting recipe

  15. Stefanie

    Are your conversions correct? A cup of flour weighs 120 g…

    Not sure if I should use your cup requirements or your weights…

    1. Lindsay

      The weight measurements are correct. One cup of flour is 130g – at least on my site. I know it varies from site to site.

    1. Lindsay

      A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting added to the outside of the cake prior to adding the final layer. It’s meant to hold in the crumbs so that crumbs don’t get into the outer layer of frosting.

  16. Jackie

    Hi Lindsay, what a great recipe! My husband and I have random Baking Championships and this recipe is the one I’ve chosen for our Christmas Baking Championship! I’m planning on doing lots of decorating on the outside, but I need a white canvas to work with. I plan on doing your Hot Chocolate Buttercream Frosting as the crumb coat and then using your Vanilla Buttercream as the final coat. Since one of our rules is that we can’t practice or experiment with a recipe beforehand, I wanted to see your opinion on the matter. Do you think it would be enough/not too much to halve the Hot Choco frosting recipe and double the Vanilla Buttercream recipe?  Thanks so much for your hard work and I’ll let you know how it turns it! 

    1. Lindsay

      How fun! I’d probably cut the hot chocolate buttercream in half and then triple the vanilla frosting. I personally prefer to have a little extra rather than not enough.

    2. Kristin

      Hi Jackie! I’m a very amateur cake baker ( so take this with a very small grain of salt🤪) but Swiss miss has a new white chocolate powder hot chocolate. It’s delicious and it’s white in color. I wonder if that would help? Lindsay what are your thoughts on that? 

  17. Cassidy

    Hi Lindsay! Could you substitute the dark cocoa powder for this cake or is it better to use the lighter powder? We love the cake base for your coconut chocolate cake and cookies and cream cakes, but don’t want to mess this up! Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      It’s the same chocolate cake, so either way should be fine. Hershey’s did change their dark cocoa though and I find that the results aren’t quite the same.

  18. sheryl

    Hello Lindsay,
    I am making this cake for my friends daughter. I’m delivering the cake on Thursday, but her party isn’t until Friday night. How do I keep the marshmallows on top from drying out?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m a little late to respond, but the marshmallows should be fine if you store the cake well covered. The moisture from the cake should keep everything moist.

    1. Lindsay

      Thank you – glad to hear it! I’m not sure entirely, but I’m guessing you’d reducing the baking time by 5-10 minutes or so.

      1. Taz

        Hello.. this cake sound amazing!! Just wondering what the marshmallow cream is?? Can I just melt marshmallow with some golden syrup?? 
        Thank you 

      2. Lindsay

        I’m not really sure how to describe it but it’s like soft marshmallows in spread form. I don’t know if your suggestion would work. I’ve never done that.

  19. Catherine

    Hi Lindsay, I want to make this for my son’s 4th birthday next week, since he requested a “marshmallow cake”! One question: in step 18, when you say to pipe a dam around the outside, do you mean with the chocolate buttercream or marshmallow? I’m a novice at cake decorating and so want to be sure and understand. Thanks! Catherine

  20. Trish

    Hi Lindsay,
    I love your cake recipe book and just want to say all your recipes are so delightfully delicious! I would like to try this recipe but I am wondering if I could turn the cake into cupcakes instead? Thanks so much!

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks Trish! I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the book and recipes! You could certainly make this cake as cupcakes. It should make about 24 cupcakes. You just might need a little more of the filling and less frosting.

  21. Joli

    This recipe calls for milk in the cake mix but in the link you provide in paragraph form to your favorite “moist chocolate cake” it says to use buttermilk. Can I use the buttermilk? I bet that’s better.

      1. Denise

        This looks amazing, thanks so much for sharing! I cannot wait to try it out. I was wondering where you found the marshmallow bits?

  22. Kim

    Hello! I was wondering if you have ever split this into 6 in pans instead of 8 in? And if so, how many and how long would you bake for? Thank you!! So excited to try it.

  23. Diana

    My daughter wants to make this as our Christmas dessert this year. It looks so delicious. But I have a question, does it really take 10 cups of powdered sugar? 10 seems like so much. I have only made frosting twice in my life so I don’t have much experience with it. Thanks

      1. Kimberly

        I made this last Christmas but the kids want this as cupcakes this year has any one made filled cupcakes with this if so did you adjust the cooking time or the amount of hot chocolate buttercream

      2. Lindsay

        It’s hard for me to say exact amounts. The cake batter would make about 24 cupcakes so you could cut it in half if you wanted to.

  24. Marina

    I love this recipe so much! I have been waiting to try it out and I finally did. The hot cocoa buttercream is my favorite part! I love how it turned out (though my ganache drip could use some work! Lol)

  25. Melissa

    I’m going to make this today for my son/daughter/hisband’s Birthdays (1 born on the 7th the other 2 on the 8th of March!). About how tall is the finished cake? I’m wondering if it will fit under my cake dome.  So excited to give it a try!

  26. Martha

    I made this cake for my husbands birthday exactly like the recipe minus the marshmallow on top, decorated instead, he’s not one to eat marshmallows. Anyway, he really like the cake but he loves anything sweet. Most of us found it a bit too sweet and unusually texture for the cake. AGAIN, it was liked by all, it was very pretty lots of compliments, thank you Lindsey!

    1. Jo

      What was unusual about the cake texture? I’m making a birthday cake and would love to know before I get started 🙂

  27. Meilani

    This is the nicest cake i’v ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanx for sharing Lindsay, the twins sound gorgeous

      1. Brittany

        I have four 8” pans. I’m assuming times would need adjusted for baking the cakes, do you have any idea what those times would be?

      2. Lindsay

        Well, you could use two of those pans for this cake. If you want to bake the four layers individually, that’s fine but I’m not exactly sure what the baking time would be.

      1. Jane

        It is exceptionally rich…. ???? I have a lot to learn when it comes to stacking cake layers. My cake looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. ???? Each time I bake I just see it as another learning experience. Thank you for your detailed instructions.

      2. Lindsay

        Oh no! 🙂 This one definitely needs some refrigeration along the way when stacking and frosting. The marshmallow filling is on the softer side. I hope you enjoyed it!

  28. Scarlet

    This is so beautiful and sounds so delicious. How on earth did you get such a perfect ring on the marshmallows. I can see the two sizes would help but yours looks perfectly perfect!

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks Scarlet! Well there’s a little frosting underneath to help things stick, and then just some patience as I placed them all. 🙂

  29. Debbie

    Wow! What a beautiful cake. I’m going to have to make this one too. I love your recipes and I have made many of them, sorry that i forget to post comments on how awesome they are. Friends and family are going to flip over this one. And I just ordered your beautiful book.

      1. Lindsay

        No, not in this cake. I tried very hard to make this cake with hot cocoa and it just wouldn’t bake well with the amount needed to even slightly taste the hot chocolate. I’ve seen other cakes that use hot chocolate, but you can’t taste it without adding a good bit more and it messes with the cake. You definitely get great hot chocolate flavor from the frosting though!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29