The holidays are all about indulging in decadent desserts like creamy cheesecake, holiday trifle, rich chocolate cake and fluffy mousse pie. It’s also that time of year to slip a little booze into those recipes like rum and bourbon, and don’t be afraid to go a little heavy handed, it’s Christmas after all.

Another winter favorite is hot chocolate. There’s something about sipping a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace that just makes you feel all warm inside (especially when you’re in your flannel pajamas). So I decided to turn that delicious drink into a cake. Four layers of chocolate cake are filled with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and marshmallow fluff filling, and topped with a chocolate drip and mini marshmallows.

Every year my friends and I get together for a Christmas dinner, and this was the perfect treat to end with. Holiday traditions are magical, especially when you get to spend time with the ones you love.

All photos taken by the lovely Kathy Nguyen.

Hot Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Marshmallow Filling

  • ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 7½ oz jar of Fluff Marshmallow Spread
  • 2 cups of confectionary sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk or water

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from International Culinary Center)

  • 285g of granulated sugar
  • 165g of egg whites
  • 1 pound of unsalted butter
  • 250g semi-chocolate chips

Chocolate Drip

  • 250g of heavy cream
  • 250g semi sweet chocolate

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  1. Make the cake according to the directions. Let the cakes cool completely before cutting them. After you’ve removed them from the pans, you can even pop them into the fridge for about 30 minutes, which will make them easier to slice in half.
  2. Make the marshmallow filling by creaming together the fluff and butter in the mixer with a paddle attachment. Slowly add in the confectionary sugar and milk until you get a thick but spreadable consistency. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Get ready to make the most glorious buttercream you’ll ever taste. This recipe is from the International Culinary Center. Add the egg whites and sugar to a bowl and place it over a double boiler. Whisking continuously, heat the mixture to 140 degrees. Once it’s reached the correct temperature, transfer to the stand mixture with a whisk attachment and beat on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form and the bowl isn’t hot anymore; any heat will melt the butter. Then, on low speed, add in small cubes of butter (should be slightly cooler than room temperature) then turn the mixer on high and beat until it’s light and fluffy. Don’t panic if it doesn’t come together immediately, it will, I promise, just keep mixing. Lastly, melt your chocolate over a double boiler until smooth and slowly stream into your buttercream and mix until incorporated.

Time to assemble the cake. Set up your station so you have all of your tools and components nearby: a cake circle, revolving cake stand, a large and small offset spatula, bench scraper, pastry bag, cake layers, swiss chocolate buttercream, marshmallow filling and bag of mini marshmallows.

  1. First, trim and slice your two 8 inch cakes in half to make 4 layers. To prevent your cake from sliding, add a little buttercream to the cake circle and place a layer of cake on top. Fill your pastry bag with chocolate buttercream and make a ring around the edge of the cake. Using a small offset spatula, add the marshmallow filling in the center. Repeat with each layer, making sure the the last layer is a bottom piece so it has a nice smooth top.
  2. Next, do a crumb coat by applying a nice thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Smooth it out with the large spatula or bench scraper. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes (this will make it easier to apply the final layer of buttercream.
  3. While the cake is chilling, make the chocolate drip by bringing heavy cream to a boil on the stove and pouring it over a bowl of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  4. Take your cake out of the fridge and finish it with a final coating of chocolate buttercream. Use a spatula to scoop the buttercream onto the cake and spread it down the sides. Then, take the bench scraper and gently press it against the side, rotating the cake stand to smooth out the buttercream.
  5. To apply the chocolate drop you can either use a spoon or fill a pastry bag with the ganache and pipe it around the top. A little goes a long way so add a small amount at a time to control the drip.
  6. Top with mini marshmallows!!