Chocolate Cake

Ditch the Mug & Make This Hot Cocoa Cake Instead

Complete with a peppermint marshmallowy topping.

December 14, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than a mug of hot cocoa on a cold day. After stomping the snow off my boots and shedding my puffy, woolen layers, I’d head to the kitchen to whip up a cocoa creation.

After countless cups of just-add-water mixes, I couldn't help but get creative. I learned adding a little less water than directed made the drink thicker, more chocolatey. A splash of heavy cream gave the cocoa a richer, delightful consistency. I occasionally stirred in some of my parent’s French-vanilla flavored coffee creamer (shh!) or, I’d replace the hot water for some warm coffee for a DIY mocha.

But my favorite add-in of all was using a candy cane to mix up the cocoa, giving the drink a peppermint twist. I topped off the steamy mug with a dollop of marshmallow fluff that would melt almost instantly, resulting in a sticky sweet, chocolatey mess that enjoyed to the last drop.

Every Christmas I make a special cake to celebrate the season. This year, I’m using my favorite childhood cocoa creation as inspiration.

For the cake, I whip up a one-bowl chocolate cake batter. It’s simple and classic because, like the hot cocoa drink of my youth, it’s all about the minty marshmallow topping. Instead of using marshmallow fluff, I make a Swiss Meringue instead, adding a hint of peppermint extract so that it tastes like it was mixed up with a candy cane. Don't worry—it’s just as sticky and superbly sweet as the stuff from the jar.

Top the cake with fluffy peppermint meringue, then drizzle everything with a warm milk chocolate ganache. The cake becomes a decadent frothy mess that, like a warm mug of cocoa, you’ll enjoy to the last drop… er, bite.

Do you like to doctor up your hot chocolate? Share your favorite mix-ins below!

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Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer of the Rachael Ray Show, food writer and recipe developer. He's a contributor to Food52, Food Network Kitchen and Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine. He loves cookies, cocktails and kindness.

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