Cakes · Desserts

Hot Cocoa Cake

I realized that I miss making ridiculous cakes. I miss getting an outrageous, albeit gluttonous, idea in my head and executing it into an undeniably delicious, attention-grabbing cake to be really proud of. This past Sunday, I’d had a pretty boring day and needed to do something awesome. I decided to bake a snazzy cake to make my Sunday exciting! A Hot Cocoa Cake with Toasted Marshmallow topping!

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I knew that I wanted a chocolate cake, and I knew exactly which recipe I was going to use – the Black Chocolate cake from my Black Forest Torte post. That cake is so rich, soft and moist! It actually tastes just like Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake boxed mix, which I have no problems with. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Betty Crocker, me and at least 3/4 of America grew up on her cake mixes. You have to give to give the woman credit.

I followed the same process to bake this cake that I did in the torte recipe, except this time around I used brown rice flour instead of regular white flour, and melted butter in place of vegetable oil in the batter. It turned out just as delicious as last time. Rich, dark and sweet. I think that the rice flour may have actually made the cake lighter and fluffier!

After pouring the dark chocolate batter into 2 round pans and baking them at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, I ran a paring knife around the edge of the cakes and let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then I inverted the cakes onto cooling racks to let them finish cooling.

Since I’m still figuring out dairy free frosting recipes, I decided to make this cake easy on myself. What goes well with dark cocoa? Marshmallows! I transferred one of the cakes onto a serving pale and grabbed a container of typical marshmallow frosting, which contains only trace amounts of dairy. I started plopping the fluffy stuff on top of the cake and with a lot of coaxing, it started to spread. And then it kept spreading. I may have used a little too much. I set the second cake layer and hadn’t counted on the weight of the cake pushing the marshmallow fluff over the sides. It started to overflow over the edges of the cake, but it ended up looking pretty cool. I think I’ll toast the middle layer of marshmallow fluff the next time I make this cake, to avoid the overflowing. I just used a knife to clean up the edges of the bottom layer and scrape off the extra fluff.

Once I had the first layers set and the last layer of marshmallow fluff on top, I grabbed Bronson’s little Butane torch and started toasting the top of the marshmallow fluff. It was a fun process, but it made me want a grown-up torch to use for stuff like this. Bronson’s lighter is powerful but has a very small diameter, so the toasted top layer was a little spotty. I also toasted around the sides to get some pretty color on the middle layer of fluff.

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It still turned out awesomely though! I wanted there to be something more decorative than just toasted marshmallow on the cake, so I decided to shave some dark chocolate over top with my microplane. It’s a long, slim grater. When I had shaved all of my dark chocolate bar and was left with those little bits that you can’t risk trying to use on a microplane because you’ll more likely just end up microplaning your fingernails, I just threw them across the top.

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I was very proud of this cake! I wish that my kitchen had better lighting so that I could really show it off in the photos. I also wish that I could figure out how to make my own gifs and insert them in here so that you could see the wonderful crack of the toasted marshmallow fluff as I cut myself a piece. When I cut my fork into my slice of cake, I loved watching the marshmallow fluff stretch into luxurious bands of whipped sugar. I’d love to make this again and be bold enough to make my own marshmallow fluff!

The mix of the deep chocolate and sugary fluff really did remind me of drinking hot cocoa. When you’re sipping the dark chocolate and you come across a marshmallow in your mug, how it breaks up the deep flavor with its sweetness. The marshmallow fluff on this cake was like a medium between mini-marshmallows and whipped cream. It had the taste of a marshmallow and was very creamy against the dark chocolate.

The next time you want something outrageous and fun for dessert, make this Hot Cocoa cake. It’ll make your boring afternoon much more interesting!

Recipe for Hot Cocoa Cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 jar marshmallow fluff
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans .
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, melted and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Drain cherries and rinse with water to remove the syrup. Mix into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Run paring knife around edges of pan. Cool 10 minutes; remove cakes  from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Set one cake on serving plate. Drop a few spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff on top and spread to edges. Toast marshmallow fluff with torch if desired. Set second layer of cake and repeat.
5. Grate dark chocolate over top of cake and decorate as you like!

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