Hot Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

My new Hot Chocolate Cake is made up of light and fluffy marshmallow buttercream covering the most delicious moist dark chocolate cake layers with chocolate ganache.

Cake with marshmallow buttercream, a chocolate drip and marshmallows on it, on a cake stand.

The weather has officially turned here in Utah! We woke up to snow, so naturally, both of my kids immediately asked for hot chocolate for breakfast – something they’ll likely have at every breakfast from now until spring!

Hot Chocolate Cake

With winter weather upon us, a hot cocoa cake feels like the perfect way to celebrate the season. My hot chocolate cake is a simple, but delicious chocolate cake recipe with a scrumptious marshmallow buttercream and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Nothing too fancy or hard to make, but loaded with deliciousness!

Top view of a cake with chocolate ganache and marshmallows on top.

How to Make Moist Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake recipe is my absolute favorite. I use it in a lot of my cake recipes because it’s simply the best! The flavor is rich and decadent, and the texture is tender and moist.

To make this chocolate cake, you’ll start by combining all of the dry ingredients, including the sugar, in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the ingredients until they’re well blended.

In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and stir until combined. At that point, you’re simply pouring the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mixing until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Slice of chocolate cake on a plate.

That’s it!

This chocolate cake recipe is seriously the easiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make.

Important Tip About Cocoa Powder

To ensure your cake is ultra moist and full of chocolate flavor, it’s important to use a dark cocoa powder that has a high fat content. I highly recommend using Extra Brute Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder. This is an ingredient you don’t want to skimp on. Quality is super important for flavor and texture.

Top view of a cake with cake slices on a table.

Marshmallow Buttercream

For the marshmallow buttercream, I wanted to create something you can decorate your cake with. This is NOT like my marshmallow fluff or filling from the Ultimate S’mores Cake. While both of those marshmallow elements are incredibly delicious in that cake, neither have the consistency to fill AND cover your cake properly.

For this buttercream, I’ve combined the store-bought marshmallow cream with butter, powdered sugar, a little cream cheese, vanilla and salt.

Close up view of a cake with chocolate ganache.

How to Make Light and Fluffy Buttercream

  • Start by beating the butter and cream cheese together for several minutes at medium-high speed. This will lighten the texture of the butter, while also softening it without the butter having to be warm.
  • Sift your powdered sugar to remove any clumps and to create a fine consistency.
  • Once all of your ingredients are added, including the marshmallow cream for this recipe, you’ll turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for about 3 to 5 minutes. This helps to lighten the texture of the buttercream.
  • With the marshmallow cream and cream cheese, you won’t be adding heavy whipping cream to your buttercream like I usually suggest. The buttercream will be soft enough with the fluff and cream cheese.
Slice of chocolate cake on a plate.

For the scalloped design on the sides of my cake, I used the large scalloped scraper from my Textured Scraper Set.

Cake on a cake stand with a chocolate drip and marshmallows on it.

Hot Cocoa Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

4.95 from 19 votes
Dark chocolate cake layers with a light and fluffy marshmallow buttercream and chocolate ganache.
Prep Time 1 hr

Ingredients
 

FOR DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder, I use Extra Brute Cacao Barry
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 12 ounces marshmallow cream, store bought like THIS
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt

For the Ganache/Drip

  • 1/2 cup (85 g) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) heavy whipping cream

Instructions
 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying the bottom and sides with nonstick spray, lining the bottom with parchment paper, and spraying the parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of electric mixer, stir together all of the dry ingredients.
  • Combine eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
  • With the mixer on low, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 30 to 60 seconds. The batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix on low for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, about 15 to 16 ounces in each 8-inch pan.
  • Bake for 23 to 27 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
  • When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I still put the cakes in the freezer for an hour or so.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  • With mixer on medium speed, add the marshmallow cream, followed by the vanilla and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.

For the Ganache/Drip

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream and the chocolate chips together in 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is melted and smooth when you stir.
  • The mixture will thicken as it cools. Make sure it cools completely before using between the layers. If the mixture is too thick for the drip, just heat it again for about 10 seconds.

ASSEMBLY

  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board or cake stand. Using an offset icing spatula, sread about 1 cup of buttercream on top. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure the frosting is spread evenly over the cake. Drizzle chocolate ganache on top of the buttercream.
  • Repeat this step until you get to the final cake layer, which you will lay top side down.
  • Apply a thin coat of buttercream around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for about 10 minutes.
  • After the crumb coat is set, continue frosting and decorating the cake.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Black and White Cake, Chocolate Cake, hot chocolate cake, hot cocoa cake, marshmallow, Marshmallow buttercream

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. Hi!
    This recipe looks amazing!

    I’m from the UK and I think marshmallow creme might be difficult to get hold of. Could I use store bought Marshmallow Fluff?

  2. 5 stars
    I’m so excited to try this recipe! Thank you! I’d like to make cupcakes since I’ll be making these for a work treat. What temp and time would you suggest?

    1. Temp will always be the same, no matter what form you make the recipe. For time, I’d start with 15 minutes and you may need 20ish

  3. I am so excited to make this! How long would you suggest I bake if I used 9-inch cake pans? What about if I used 6-inch cake pans?

    1. If you bake in two 9-inch pans, you’ll want to bake for about 5-10 mins longer and if you do four 6-inch pans, you don’t have the change the time.

  4. Your cakes look yummy! Can they be converted to a sheet cake? Thought the church would love some of these recipes for special church gatherings and meals. Thank you!

      1. Really want to make this for an even coming up, and it will be the first time trying one of your recipes! Am I able to use culinary grade Dutch process cocoa powder or does it have to be natural cocoa powder?

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! My daughter made it for a party and it was so good I asked her to send me the recipe! Great texture, moist and wonderful flavor!

    1. This buttercream is a bit softer than my normal buttercream but if you’re just piping rosettes on top of the cake you should be ok. I don’t think they would hold up as well on the side of the cake.

  6. Can this buttercream be made ahead of time, similar to your others, or does that change with the marshmallow in this one?

    1. Did you try making this ahead of time? Also curious how it holds up to being made a day or two in advance (including the marshmallows on top).

      1. Yeah, you can make this in advance and freeze it to stay fresh. I’d wait to add the marshmallows on top until you’re ready to serve it.

  7. 4 stars
    The cake recipe portions are the same as the “the best chocolate chocolate cake” recipe on your blog, however that cake is for 2 8-inch round pans. It seems like splitting the batter into three will create really thin layers. Should we add 1/3 of everything?

    1. They’ll be a little thinner but not super thin. If you want three thick layers, then yes, you’ll want to add an extra half batch of the recipe.