Hot Chocolate Cake

This hot chocolate cake combines a moist, dark chocolate sheet cake with a billowy, deliciously toasted meringue frosting. Throw some shaved chocolate or decorated cookies on top and this cake will be the perfect addition to your winter festivities.

  • Author: The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale

For the sheet cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the meringue frosting:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine the water and semi-sweet chocolate. Microwave the mixture until the water is warm and the chocolate can be whisked smooth (about 30-40 seconds).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).
  3. Add the vegetable oil and continue whipping until just incorporated.
  4. Repeat with the granulated sugar.
  5. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt), mixing on low until just incorporated.
  6. Add the water/chocolate, buttermilk and vanilla extract, and mix on low until just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into a greased 9"x13" dish and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed.
  8. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before frosting.
  9. To make the frosting, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water, whisking occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
  10. Add the vanilla and whip the meringue on high until it holds stiff peaks.
  11. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and toast with a chef's torch.
  12. Garnish with cookies or bits of chocolate.


  • Buttermilk substitute: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a scant cup of milk. Stir and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before adding it to the batter.
  • Homemade pan release: My go-to pan greaser is a mixture of equal parts shortening, vegetable oil and flour. You can find all the details on making, using and storing this amazing pan release here.
  • Working ahead: This cake (unfrosted) can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to a couple months.
  • Browning the meringue without a torch: If you don’t have a culinary torch on hand, you can brown your meringue in the oven under the broiler. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • Storage: Once this cake has been frosted, it's best to eat it the day of. If you have any leftovers, you can store them at room temperature in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Miette


Keywords: chocolate sheet cake, chocolate cake recipe, hot chocolate cake