Hot Fudge Cake Recipe

How do you feel about homemade cake versus store-bought cake? We think store-bought cake shows up as dessert for any occasion way too often, and in our opinion, they're almost never that good. We will pass on a slice of store-bought cake any day, but homemade, that's a different story. And this hot fudge cake recipe from recipe developer, Kristen Carli, MS RD, is so easy to make, it is absolutely worth whipping up at home instead of falling back on a dry, overly frosted, store-bought option.

With this hot fudge cake recipe, you can bake the hot fudge right into your chocolatey cake, creating a moist dessert that will melt in your mouth. Served warm, fresh out of the oven, with a cold topping such as homemade whipped cream or your favorite ice cream (you can't go wrong with classic vanilla), is seriously unbeatable. This warm and tasty dessert is perfect for any possible dessert occasion and could even take over as the go-to birthday cake in your family — it's that good!

Gather your ingredients to make hot fudge cake

Before you get started, gather up all of your ingredients. You will need flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, whole milk, salted butter, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and boiling water. Not too bad, right? Most of these ingredients are likely already sitting in your pantry!

As for baking tools, you'll need one large mixing bowl for the dry ingredients and one small mixing bowl for the cocoa powder and brown sugar mixture. Also, you'll need an 8x8-inch baking dish to bake the cake in.

Start by mixing the dry ingredients

Preheat your oven to 350 F and spray your 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In your large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, four tablespoons of the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk all of this to combine until you have an even mixture.

Does anybody sift dry ingredients anymore? If you're someone who is old school (or classic) and you swear by it for your baked goods, whip out your sifter and sift away to create your most perfectly blended dry mixture!

Add wet ingredients

Right into your bowl of the dry ingredients, add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. You could mix these wet ingredients in a separate bowl first before combining with the dry ingredients, but we're definitely on team "save a dish," so we say, throw them right in there. Stir well to combine everything and be careful not to overmix. Overmixing will give your cake a more dense and overly chewy texture that we want to avoid.

Pour batter into baking dish

Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Take a mini taste break here to lick all of the batter off the spoon. You deserve it. You can also take a minute to get your water boiling on the stove for the next step. When you're ready, grab your small mixing bowl. In this bowl, add the remaining three tablespoons of cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Whisk to just roughly combine. It is totally fine to still have clumps of brown sugar in here!

Create the hot fudge sauce

Sprinkle the cocoa powder and brown sugar mixture over the top of the batter in the pan. Then, pour the 1 ½ cups of boiling water over the top of the cocoa powder and brown sugar mixture, but do not mix. As the cake bakes, this will create the delicious and fudgy sauce that will weave its way throughout the cake, making each bite so yummy and saucy. And with that step, your prep is complete.

Bake and serve

Carefully pop this masterpiece in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. You should time this out so you can serve up pieces of cake right after it comes out of the oven. The house will be full of the warm and comforting cocoa aroma while you (not-so patiently) wait. This cake is best served warm with a topping of your favorite ice cream or homemade whipped cream. Keep this recipe handy when you're in the mood for something warm and chocolatey that is sure to impress your guests!

Hot Fudge Cake Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
If you love chocolate cake, then you'll love to take things to the next level with this hot fudge cake recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hot fudge cake in pan
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir well to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly.
  5. In a small bowl, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Whisk to roughly combine.
  6. Sprinkle the cocoa powder and brown sugar mixture over top of the batter. Pour boiling water over the top of the cocoa powder and sugar mixture. Do not mix!
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, then serve warm.
Calories per Serving 252
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 17.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 31.4 g
Sodium 204.5 mg
Protein 3.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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