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Hot Cocoa Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes during the holiday season. My Hot Cocoa Cake has 3 layers of dark chocolate cake that’s filled with marshmallow filling and frosted with hot cocoa flavored whipped cream. Heavenly! Since I had more than enough marshmallow filling, I piped dollops of marshmallow filling on top. 

Hot Cocoa Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake

If you’re looking for a chocolate cake that delivers in flavor and in color, then look no further!

  • Brown sugar: helps develop a deep chocolate flavor.
  • Espresso powder/instant coffee powder: in combination with the brown sugar help deepen the chocolate flavor.
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder: is less acidic than natural cocoa powder and enhances browning.
  • Eggs: help bind, thicken, emulsify and leaven a cake.
  • Sour cream: is an acidic ingredient and helps tenderize the cake. Yogurt can also be used as a substitution. 
Hot Cocoa Cake

Marshmallow Filling Tips

  • You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.
  • Make sure your egg whites are free of yolk. If there’s even a small amount they will not whip up.
  • Your mixer bowl must also be clean. If there’s any oil residue left in your bowl, the egg whites will not whip up.
  • When pouring the sugar syrup in the mixer bowl with the egg whites, be sure to pour it down the inside of the mixer bowl, making sure not to hit the whisk attachment.
  • The Marshmallow Filling is best used the day it’s prepared.

Hot Cocoa Cake

Hot Cocoa Whipped Cream

This hot cocoa flavored whipped cream is what brings this cake all together! It’a a basic whipped cream recipe with Dutch-processed cocoa added to it. Plus this recipe has a bit more sugar than a typical whipped cream recipe, which helps it become shelf stable for a few hours longer. 

Hot Cocoa Cake

Hot Cocoa Cake Assembly Tips

  1. Be sure to use a frosting dam to keep your filling inside the cake and not falling out of the sides. 
  2. Don’t over fill your cakes. I usually keep my filling from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup between each layer.
  3. Use a crumb coat even if you think you don’t need it. A crumb coat not only helps catch loose crumbs but also seals in any gaps in the cake and gives you a solid base to work with when it comes time to apply the final layer of frosting.
Hot Cocoa Cake

How To Add Cake Topping Decoration

  1. Fit a piping bag with Ateco piping tip #808.
  2. Place remaining Marshmallow Filling in the prepared piping bag.
  3. Hold your piping bag at 90 degrees and pipe concentric circles starting from the outside edge of the cake, moving all the way in the center. 
  4. Dust cake with cocoa powder right before serving.
Hot Cocoa Cake

Hot Cocoa Cake Baking Schedule

  • Day 1: Bake cake layers. 
  • Day 2: Prepare filling, frosting, assemble and serve.
Hot Cocoa Cake

Cake Storage

Cake layers can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or wrapped in plastic wrap, then wrapped in foil and stored in the freezer for up to one month. Defrost cakes in their wrapping at room temperature.

Assembled cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day.

Hot Cocoa Cake

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Hot Cocoa Cake

Adapted from Cook’s Country

Hot Cocoa Cake

Hot Cocoa Cake

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

A deep, dark chocolate 3 layered cake, filled with marshmallow filling, frosted with chocolate frosting and garnished with marshmallow filling and cocoa powder.



  • 3 8-inch round cake pan
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • Stand mixer
  • Extra stand mixer bowl (optional, but helpful)
  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Candy thermometer
  • 8-inch round cake board
  • Cake turntable
  • Bench scraper or cake comb
  • Piping bag
  • Ateco piping tip #808


  • 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup (1.5 ounces) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces)packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (2.4 ounces) Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Use remaining marshmallow filling to decorate (optional)
  • Marshmallows (optional)
  • Cocoa powder (optional)



  1. Adjust your oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl add the boiling water, chocolate, cocoa powder and instant espresso powder, whisk until smooth.
  3. Attach the paddle attachment to a stand mixer and beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition until combined. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until incorporated.
  4. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Give the batter a few final stirs by hand.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with an offset cake spatula or rubber spatula. Gently tap the cake pans on the counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Rotate cake pans twice through baking.
  6. Let cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert cakes on to wire racks to cool completely, about 2 hours.


  1. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Heat saucepan over medium-high heat uncovered. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cover the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil until the sugar syrup reaches 242 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  2. While the syrup is heating up, combine the egg whites and salt in a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed, beat egg whites, and gradually increase the speed to medium-high in the process. Beat until soft peaks form.
  3. If your sugar syrup is close to reaching 242 degrees, continue to whip the egg whites to firm peaks. If your sugar syrup is not close to reaching 242 degrees, let the egg whites wait at the soft peak stage before whipping them into firm peaks as the sugar syrup comes to temperature.
  4. Once the sugar syrup has come to 242 degrees and the egg whites are whipped to firm peaks, run the mixer on high speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the inside of the bowl and into the whipped egg whites. Continue whipping until the filling becomes thick and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minute. Add vanilla extract and whip to combine.


  1. (If you don’t have an extra mixer bowl, transfer the filling to another bowl and wash and dry your mixer bowl for the Cocoa Whipped Cream.) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cream and vanilla extract on medium-low speed until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the cream is thick and holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.


  1. Fit a piping bag with a round piping tip or coupler and place about 1 cup Cocoa Whipped Cream inside. Place 1 cake layer on an 8-round cake board and place on a cake turntable. Pipe a frosting dam around the edge of the first cake layer.
    Spread ¾ cup to 1 cup of the marshmallow filling in an even layer over the top until the filling reaches the frosting dam.
  2. Top the second layer of cake and pipe a frosting dam around the edge and spread about ¾ cup to 1 cup of the marshmallow filling in an even layer over the top, until it reaches the frosting dam.
  3. Place the third cake layer on top (bottom side up) and spread a light coating of frosting over the top and the sides of the cake creating a crumb coat, and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes. Apply the final layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. You can use a bench scraper to get the sides smooth if you wish.
  4. Fit a piping bag with Ateco piping tip #808 and fill with the remaining marshmallow filling. Pipe dollops of filling on top. Dust the cake with cocoa powder right before serving.


Cooled cakes can be stored wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, then foil for up to 1 month. Defrosted cakes at room temperature before unwrapping and frosting.

Assembled cake can be refrigerated up to 1 day in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 599Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 354mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 9g

*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*

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Thursday 2nd of November 2017

I've never seen a cake that looks quite like this, and it looks amazing!! Yum!!


Thursday 2nd of November 2017

Thank you!!! :)


Thursday 2nd of November 2017

I saw this photo and was all "yes please" and the reaction only increased as I read through the recipe. Bookmarking this baby! <3


Thursday 2nd of November 2017

Thank you so much!!!

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