Moist homemade chocolate layer cake recipe! Hot chocolate cake is an easy, no-mixer-necessary chocolate cake. Great with chocolate buttercream!
A lot of great cake recipes have a secret ingredient. There are red velvet cakes that are made with beets, chocolate cakes made with ingredients like mashed potatoes or mayonnaise, and more!
This hot chocolate cake is made with hot chocolate. It helps to add a deep, rich chocolate flavor and makes the cake super moist.
It’s also an easy recipe to mix up. Most of the cake is mixed in one bowl, and there’s no mixer necessary to make the cake. It also only takes a few minutes to mix up, so it’s a great choice whenever you get a craving for chocolate cake!
How To Make Hot Chocolate Cake
Begin by mixing the cocoa powder and hot chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla together until well-combined. It’s important that the eggs and buttermilk be at room temperature.
Whisk the hot chocolate mixture in until combined. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in just until combined.
Divide the batter between the cake pans. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-35 minutes.
Tips For Making Hot Chocolate Cake
- Hot Chocolate: I use a standard-sized packet of hot chocolate mixed with 1 cup of hot water. However, feel free to make hot chocolate however you prefer.
- Hot Chocolate Temperature: I use hot hot chocolate. The hot hot chocolate combined with the cocoa powder helps to give this cake it’s ultra chocolaty flavor.
- Temperature: It’s important that the eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature. Mixing cold eggs and buttermilk with melted butter can cause it to solidify, and you’ll end up with clumps of butter in your cake batter.
- Frosting: Feel free to use any flavor of frosting that you like with this cake. Some delicious options are salted buttercream, chocolate buttercream, oreo frosting, and peanut butter frosting.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes!
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Hot Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder¹
- 1 cup hot chocolate2
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot chocolate; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla together until well-combined. It's important that the eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature so that the melted butter doesn't clump up.
- Add hot chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine.
- Whisk in flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt just until incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
- Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
- Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until room temperature.
- The cake is now ready to frost and assemble.
- I use regular unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed.
- I use 1 cup of hot water mixed with 1.25 oz. of hot chocolate powder (standard-sized packet).
- Nutrition facts are estimates.
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Originally published 9/20/13. Updated with new photos and tips 12/3/19.
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Comments & Reviews
I overlooked the water I needed to add for the hot chocolate portion and mixed the cocoa powder with straight hot cocoa mix. I didn’t realize it until I put the cake in the oven. The batter was thick but it cooked great, not dry but not as moist as it should have been.
I’m glad that it still turned out ok for you!
Julia G. Ray says
Very delicious and moist! I highly recommend this amazing dessert recipe!
Teresa B says
I’ve made this cake for many of our celebrations. It is soo good!
I am making it again for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I think I’ve made it as a two layer 8″ cake. Would this stack well for three layer 8″ cake? Would I just make a recipe and a half?
I haven’t tried it to say for certain, but I think they would stack well. Yes, I would make a recipe and a half. You can hover over the serving size just above the ingredients and adjust it to the number of servings that you would like, and the ingredient values will change accordingly. One thing that I’ve found that helps when I make a taller cake is to freeze the layers and then frost them. I hope that helps!
Love love this cake! I’ve made it twice and want to try cupcakes. Should I make any adjustments and how long should I bake and at what temperature. Thanks soooo much for this yummy cake.
So glad you like it! I haven’t tried this recipe as cupcakes, but when I make cupcakes, it usually takes about 18-25 minutes to bake them, and (usually) I don’t make adjustments to the temperature. Hope that gives you a good place to start!
Earl McCombs says
Looks good I’m going to try it
Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!
Made it today for my dad’s birthday and both the cake and the chocolate buttercream were delicious! I would definitely recommend this recipe, and it’s so easy too!
Thank you so much!!
Full marks from the entire family!
Thank you so much!