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
Debbie Clark says
I make my hot chocolate with whole milk. Do you think this will work with this recipe? I’m really looking forward to making this cake.
Shirley Casey says
Is there a video showing how to make this delicious cake?
There isn’t, but I will add it to my video to-do list. =) In the mean time, please let me know if you have any questions!
Ntinya Folake says
Thank you so much for this recipe
You’re very welcome!
Can you use a 9×13 pan instead of 2 9 inch pans? How long would you bake it?
I think so! For a 9×13, it should take about 30-40 minutes, depending on how your oven bakes.
Becca Kazemzadeh says
I made this yesterday for my friends’ daughter’s 3rd birthday and it was incredibly delicious! It got tons of compliments and my friend told me later on that it was the best chocolate cake she’s ever had. I will definitely be making it again!
Yay!! I’m so glad that it was a hit! It makes my day to hear things like this, so thank you for taking the time to come back and comment!
Laura Waxman says
this cake sounds delicious – i’m trying to figure out why I’ve never thought to use hot chocolate in a cake! brilliant! I also wanted to tell you that if it wasn’t full of everything I’m not able to eat, i’d probably be making it right now (even though i’m supposed to be trying to lose weight). a continuation of that is that i’d follow your blog if i didn’t have the same problem of such eating restrictions – all that to say, i love your writing style, the look of your blog and everything else about it! =)
Thank you! I appreciate your kind words!! =)
Awesome recipe! These proportions worked like charm for me (no overflow or separation issues), and the result was moist and flavorful but not too heavy. I used a K-cup for the hot chocolate (end result of 1 c liquid) and it was just fine. Many many many thanks from our household!!
I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment!! =)
Grace Gambuti says
Please tell me where the recipes are for the “Thirty Healthy Recipes”
I’m not sure what recipes you’re referring to. Can you tell me where you saw the “Thirty Healthy Recipes” at?
Tenns @ New Mama Diaries says
Looks absolutely delicious! I have already pinned and definitely plan on giving this recipe a go!
Thanks so much for pinning! I hope you enjoy the cake! =)
Adriana Calderon says
Hi I am planning on making this cake for my sons birthday next weekend, and trust me I am not a baker I always buy or pay someone to make cakes but this is his 10th and I want to make it myself. If I need to make the cake for more people though and make it taller adding a third layer how much more of ingredients do I need of each?
Hi! If you hover over the “servings” right above the ingredients, a slider will pop up. If you move that to “15” servings, that should give you the amounts that you would need to add a 3rd layer. I hope that helps! =)
Lisa@ Cooking with Curls says
I think that would make the perfect breakfast this morning! Wow…that looks delicious. :)
Sometimes you just need a little (or a lot) of chocolate in the morning! =)
Katherines Corner says
I think it looks perfect! I’m hopping over from Strut Your Stuff I enjoyed my visit to your blog. I invite you to join me at Katherines Corner Hugs! P.S. only one day left to enter my giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by!! =)
Heather @ French Press says
looks delicious! come to think of it, I don;t think I post any cakes at all :) time to fix that
Thanks!! Yes, more cake is always in order! =)
Oh wow, Kate! I love love love this recipe! YUM!
Thanks so much, Kristen!! Thanks so much for coming by! I love your site!! =)
great recipe! Thanks for sharing, I will have to try this! Your cake stood out in the link party and i had to see who made it! It looks really yummy!
Thanks so much!! And thanks for stopping by to check it out! =)
Kimberly @ A time to freeze] says
Looks so good! I’m afraid I would eat the whole thing by myself! :) Stopping by from the Time to Sparkle link party.
Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by! =)
lisa diaz says
yummy! I have pinned, tweeted & google+’d this.
I found you on Love grows wild!
thanks for sharing.
princess mousey cards
Thanks so much for all of the shares!! That’s really nice of you! =)
Gloria // Simply Gloria says
I love a good basic chocolate cake recipe…and I’ve finally found one from you!! Pinning this one as a staple.
Thanks, Gloria!! =)
Aida @ TheCraftingFoodie says
Your cake looks so decadent – my favorite kind of chocolate cake! I usually never bake with pre-made/processed ingredients, but this cake may just change that. It looks too good to pass up!
kristin M says
I really wish you’d include a chocolate buttercream recipe to compliment this!
Absolutely! The chocolate buttercream recipe that I used with the cake
will be published at midnight tonight.
Thanks Kate for the CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM recipe
No problem! I hope you enjoy it! =)
I totally agree
This cake looks amazing. I could eat that whole thing in one sitting haha