Recipe courtesy of Maeve Rochford Schulz

Hot Chocolate Cake

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 50 min (includes cooling and setting times)
  • Prep: 55 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr 25 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 1 large 2-tier cake
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6 sticks (24 ounces) salted butter, plus more for buttering the pans

6 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pans

6 cups granulated sugar 

10 large eggs 

2 2/3 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 

2 tablespoons baking soda 

1 teaspoon ground espresso 

4 cups whole milk 

2 cups sour cream 

1/4 cup coffee 

Chocolate Ganache:

4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy whipping cream 

1 cup whole milk 

1 large egg yolk 

Marshmallow Buttercream:

4 sticks (1 pound) salted butter, softened

7 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 

4 cups marshmallow creme, such as Marshmallow Fluff

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Cinnamon-Nutmeg Buttercream:

4 sticks (1 pound) salted butter, softened

7 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 

1/2 cup whole milk 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg 


  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans and three 6-inch cake pans.
  2. Cream the butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and espresso in a large bowl. Combine the milk, sour cream and coffee in a separate large bowl. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the mixer until combined and a light fluffy batter is reached.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. For the chocolate ganache: Combine the chocolate chips, cream and milk in a large pot and heat until the chocolate melts and the mixture is hot, stirring to combine; do not allow to boil.
  6. To temper the egg yolk, put it in a large bowl and scoop a ladleful of the hot milk mixture into it, whisking constantly. Keep adding the rest of the hot milk mixture, a ladleful at a time, until completely combined. Whisk until the ganache is silky and shiny. Refrigerate until set and spreadable, 1 to 2 hours. (It's best if it's allowed to sit overnight to set.)
  7. For the marshmallow buttercream: Mix the butter, confectioners' sugar, marshmallow creme and vanilla extract in a stand mixer on medium until light and fully combined.
  8. For the cinnamon-nutmeg buttercream: Beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on high until fully combined, light and airy
  9. To assemble: Top a 9-inch cake layer with 1 cup of the cinnamon-nutmeg buttercream. Place another 9-inch cake layer on top of it, then top with 1 cup of the chocolate ganache. Continue alternating cake layers with buttercream and ganache layers, leaving the very top bare. Cover the whole cake in a layer of the marshmallow buttercream.

Cook’s Note

This recipe makes a large 2-tiered cake. For one 9-inch cake, divide the recipe in half.