Looking for a tasty christmas cake this holiday season? The dark chocolate cake is light and fluffy and it’s not too sweet which makes for the perfect balance with the nutella buttercream and marshmallow fluff. With all these ingredients, layered together this rich and decadent cake tastes just like a cup of hot chocolate. Serve your holiday guests a piece of this cake with a nicely lit fire for the perfect winter night! #xokatierosario #nutellacakerecipe #hotchocolatecake #christmascakeideas

Nutella Hot Chocolate Cake

Soft layers of dark chocolate cake filled with nutella buttercream and marshmallow fluff.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Baking, Cake Decorating, Cake Recipe, Frosting, Nutella
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling/Decorating Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 1 6-inch round cake
Author Katie


Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup hot water & 1 TBSP espresso powder)

Nutella Buttercream

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-6 Tablespoons heavy cream

White Chocolate Water Ganache Drip

  • 6 ounces (or 2/3 cups) white chocolate candy melts
  • 1 ounce (or 2 Tablespoons) warm water


  • 2/3 cups marshmallow fluff, store-bought
  • 1/2 cup Nutella, melted


  • 10-12 large marshmallows
  • 1 paper straw


Dark Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.

  2. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, dark cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 

  3. Add the eggs and the vegetable oil on low until well incorporated.

  4. Pour in the buttermilk and add brewed coffee. Mix on medium for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  5. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

  6. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely — wrap cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.

Nutella Buttercream

  1. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and nutella until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  2. Turn the mixer to low and add cocoa powder. Then gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the salt, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Mix until combined. Mix until incorporated completely. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

  3. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the frosting for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add a tiny dot of green and yellow gel food color as needed. Then turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 minutes to push out any air bubbles.

White Chocolate Water Ganache Drip

  1. In a medium glass bowl, melt white chocolate candy melts and water in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate candy melts have mostly melted.

  2. Then mix with a rubber spatula. Continue to mix until the chocolate and water are well combined and streak free. If there are chunks of chocolate, melt for 10 seconds at a time until the chocolate is fully melted or pour the chocolate into a fine mesh sifter to remove any chocolate lumps.

  3. Pour the chocolate into a squeeze bottle for a comfortable grip for decorating. If chocolate drip becomes too cold and hardens then heat in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, shake or stir to make sure its all the same temperature. Don’t overheat or chocolate will separate, and you’ll have to remix.


  1. Remove the cake layers from the freezer and unwrap the cake layers. Next, use a serrated knife to cut off the dome of the cakes to make the layers flat and even.

  2. Add a small amount of buttercream onto the center of the cake board. Layer the chilled dark chocolate cake, cut side up onto the cake board.

  3. Add a thin layer of nutella buttercream over the cake and pipe a circle of buttercream around the edges of the cake.

  4. Add 1/3 cup of marshmallow fluff filling inside the ring of buttercream. Then add a drizzle of melted nutella on top of the filling.

  5. Place another cake layer cut side down over the top. Repeat the process for another layer — Crumb coat with nutella buttercream and freeze for 30 minutes.

  6. Add a thick layer of nutella buttercream all over the cake. Use an offset spatula to fill in any gaps with more buttercream. Then use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides of the cake. Use the offset spatula to make the top edges sharp and smooth.

  7. Add the white chocolate water ganache dripping down the sides and the top of the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth out the ganache on top.

  8. Finally, add the large marshmallows on top and add the paper straw to complete this hot chocolate cake. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Recipe Notes