Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake – think of this as a sliceable version of Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding – with a LOT more chocolate fudge sauce! The perfect cosy dessert for cool winter days that’s easy to make.
The chocolate cake of your dreams…
I know this is a great dessert for sweater weather. But holy moly. It’s so good, I’ll wager that after you’ve made it once, you’ll make it over and over again regardless of the weather.
Let me paint the picture for you. A warm slice of soft chocolate cake, moist in a way that cakes can only be when warm. A scoop of melty vanilla ice cream on top.
Then you douse – douse, my friends! – with hot chocolate fudge sauce. The ice cream starts to melt, and you get beautiful swirls of chocolate with white streaks pooling around your cake. You dig in with a spoon, getting a big scoop of cake soaked with the chocolate sauce and melted ice cream, and that first bite, that first glorious bite…..
Did I mention how easy this Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake is to me? The batter is made in a single bowl with a wooden spoon. And that fudge sauce is 2 ingredients – just cream and chocolate.
Ingredients in Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake
Here’s what you need to make this winter dessert. The recipe is based on my classic Chocolate Cake, with some minor adjustments to make it suitable for serving hot as a single layer, unfrosted cake.
Dry ingredients for the warm chocolate cake
Flour – Just plain / all-purpose flour. Self raising flour will also work but the cake crumb is not as soft. (Skip the baking soda and baking powder if you use self-raising flour).
Baking soda (bi-carb) and baking powder, or use more of either – Both of these makes cakes, muffins etc rise but work differently depending on what you’re making. Baking soda is also ~3x stronger than baking powder. I like using a combination of the two for this cake for a lovely tender crumb and nice shape to the surface of the cake. However, if you only have one or the other, you can use more of what you have. See recipe notes for quantities.
Cocoa powder – Just plain cocoa powder, unsweetened. Not dutch processed – though you can use it if you’ve got this more expensive, more intense type.
White sugar – Use caster sugar / superfine sugar if you’ve got it, because it’s finer so you can be confident it dissolves easily. Else ordinary white sugar / granulated sugar works ok too.
Salt – Just a pinch brings out the flavours in this cake, especially the chocolate. Fairly standard baking practice for me these days, adding a touch of salt for this purpose!
And here are the wet ingredients in this cake:
Melted butter AND oil – Butter adds flavour into this cake while oil keeps the crumb fresh and moist for longer. Using both gives us the best of both worlds!
Egg – 1 large egg which means an egg that is sold in cartons labelled “large eggs” which is an industry standard. It is also best to be at room temperature – see this post for a quick way to do this.
Vanilla – For flavour, which compliments the chocolate.
Boiling water – Using hot rather than cold water makes the cocoa flavour “bloom” so the cake tastes more chocolatey. You’ll smell the chocolate the moment the hot water mixes into the batter!
No coffee? Some chocolate cakes include a touch of coffee which brings out the chocolate flavour. I tried it but it didn’t add anything to this cake because you get so much chocolate flavour from the hot fudge sauce!
Hot chocolate fudge sauce
Fudge sauce comes in many forms – some made with cocoa powder and evaporated milk, some with melted chocolate, some a combination of the two. The hot fudge sauce for this cake is the most luxurious of its kind – pourable chocolate ganache that’s made with just chocolate and cream.
The ratio of chocolate to cream is 1:1 for ganache. However, as I want the sauce to be slightly thicker when warm, I’ve increased the chocolate slightly so it’s 1/ 1/4 cups of chocolate (200g) to 1 cup / 250ml of cream.
Dark chocolate – I use standard baking dark chocolate melts or chips (US: semi-sweet chocolate chips). You can also use chopped 50 – 70% dark chocolate (Lindt is my favourite).
Chocolate melts are just a type of chocolate chips that is available here in Australia. It comes in a disc shape and is designed to melt easily and smoothly. Whereas chocolate chips, while they can also be used for melting, are designed specifically to hold their shape for your favourite chocolate chip cookies rather than melting into puddles.
Milk and white chocolate – These will work but you will need to reduce the amount of cream slightly else the fudge sauce will be too runny. This is because they are softer than dark chocolate. Fellow baking nerds can read more about this in my Chocolate Ganache recipe!
Cream – Either heavy / thickened cream or pure cream will work here. Full fat essential. Reduced fat doesn’t always mix properly into the chocolate and also the sauce will be too thin.
How to make Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake
Get the cake in the oven first. Then make the chocolate fudge sauce – it will need 20 to 30 minutes to cool a bit to allow it to thicken slightly before using.
1. Making the hot fudge cake
Just mixed up in one bowl with a whisk. No stand-mixer or electric beater required. This is a very forgiving cake. Just be sure to get it in the oven as soon as you mix the batter, don’t leave it lying around.
Mix Dry – Whisk the Dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add Wet – Add the Wet ingredients, except the boiling water, into the same bowl.
Whisk until combined. Then whisk the boiling water in. The batter will be pretty thin – not as thin as the Chocolate Cake on which this recipe is based, but still pretty thin.
Pour the batter into a lined 20cm/8″ pan. It’s best not to use a springform pan to avoid any chance of batter leakage – because as noted above, the batter is fairly thin.
Bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/350°F (160°C fan) or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean or nearly clean. Remember, we’re making a hot fudge cake here, so it’s fine if the centre is slightly damp! 🙂
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn it out and let it cool for just another 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Don’t worry, the cake will still be lovely and warm! We just want to rest the cake a bit before slicing. Hot cake is very delicate!
2. Making the hot fudge sauce
While it’s tempting to just put both cold cream and chocolate in a bowl and microwave to melt, this can lead to the chocolate seizing so you end up with a lumpy mess in your hands. Yep, speaking from first hand experience here! Make ganache properly – by pouring hot cream over the chocolate and leaving it to melt before mixing to combine.
Pour hot cream over chocolate – Heat the cream until steamy and hot using whatever method you choose: saucepan or microwave. Then pour it over the chocolate in a bowl.
Full coverage! Shake the bowl / poke as needed to ensure all the chocolate is submerged.
5 minutes – Cover with a plate and leave for 5 minutes so the cream melts the chocolate.
Mix until the cream and chocolate combine into a glossy chocolate sauce. Be patient – it will happen! If you have little chocolate lumps at the end, just pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds for a heat boost, then mix again.
Cool for 20 minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly. Just leave it in the bowl.
Serving – Give it a mix to make it smooth again. Then pour into serving jugs to let everyone help themselves. (Or, if you’re concerned about portion control, you can serve it!).
Reheating and storage – The chocolate sauce will firm up to a peanut butter consistency when refrigerated but can simply be reheated in the microwave back to perfect pourable consistency. It will keep for at least a week – just bear in mind the shelf life of the cream.
3. Serving the hot fudge cake
To serve this gloriously cosy, decadent hot chocolate cake, cut slices of cake as generous as you want. Put on a plate – or a shallow bowl (for easy chocolate-sauce-melted-ice-cream scooping). Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream then douse with warm chocolate fudge sauce. Dive in and swoon!!
And 10 seconds later…..
Matters of storage
The cake has an excellent shelf life of 5 to 7 days in the fridge. It won’t go stale thanks to the smidge of oil we’re using, and also because it is intended to serve hot. Any baked good heated up wipes out any trace of staleness!
The fudge sauce can also be kept for at least 7 days, limited only by the shelf life of the cream. Keep it in the fridge – it will firm up to a peanut butter like consistency. Scoop out what you need, then just microwave to re-melt.
And PS, in case you’re concerned, there’s plenty of hot fudge sauce for serving. 2 whole cups, that’s 500 ml. Imagine running out of chocolate sauce! Devastating. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 1 cup plain/all-purpose flour (Note 2)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened), sifted (Note 1)30g
- 3/4 tsp baking powder (Note 2)
- 3/4 tsp baking soda/bi-carb (sifted if lumpy) (Note 2)
- 1 cup caster/superfine sugar (sub ordinary white sugar)
- 1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate fudge sauce:
- 1 cup thickened / heavy cream, or pure cream (not low fat, too thin)
- 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate melts or chips (US: semi-sweet chips) – or finely chopped 60 – 70% cocoa chocolate block (Note 3)
- Vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan). Grease a 20cm/8" cake pan with butter then line with paper.
- Whisk Dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add Wet – Then add all the Wet ingredients EXCEPT the boiling water. Whisk until combined. Then add the boiling water and whisk until smooth. The batter will be pretty thin.
- Bake 40 min – Pour into the pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean – a faint smear of batter isn't a bad thing, we're making a fudge cake here!
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate, then onto a cooling rack or plate right side up. Cool for a further 10 minutes – the cake will still be warm for serving.
- Serving – Cut slices of the warm cake. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Douse with fudge sauce – just shy of 1/4 cup per slice (10 slices). Eat and swoon!
Chocolate fudge sauce (makes 2 cups):
- Heat cream until hot, just before boiling point, using your method of choice – saucepan or microwave.
- Stand 5 min – Put chocolate in bowl. Pour over hot cream. Ensure all chocolate is submerged, then cover with a plate. Leave for 5 minutes.
- Mix – Using a whisk or rubber spatula, mix vigorously until the cream and chocolate combine into a silky chocolate sauce.
- Cool to thicken for 20 minutes. Give it a stir then pour into a jug for serving!
– Just baking soda: use 1 teaspoon in total Self raising flour – Skip both the baking soda and baking powder, switch the plain flour with self raising flour. The crumb won’t rise quite as much but still fluffy and lovely! 3. Chocolate – Use chocolate intended for baking sold in the baking aisle, not eating chocolate (Lindt 70% is the exception). If using a block, chop it finely. Don’t use ordinary eating chocolate – it’s hit and miss. Some will melt fine, others do not. AUSTRALIA: “Melts” are intended for melting so are safest to use. However, chips will melt fine too. US: Semi-sweet chips are perfect for this. 4. Storage – Cake will keep for 5 – 7 days in the fridge (stays moist thanks to a touch of oil). Warm to serve. Fudge sauce will keep for at least a week – factor in the cream shelf life. Firms up in the fridge, just warm to melt. Both the cake and sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Nutrition per serving, assuming 10 servings and all the sauce is consumed. Excludes ice cream.
Life of Dozer
Busted, helping himself to the bin. He’s so gross! 😝 Probably rebelling because he was deprived of chocolate cake. No chocolate for dogs!