hot mess chocolate cake

hot mess cake | movita beaucoup

Yesterday, I went to the college where I will be starting baking school in the fall. I received an email last week asking if I’d like to attend an information session entitled: Are You Ready For College? Like J-Lo, I go hard or go home, so I immediately signed up for the session. Sure, I’m currently teaching in a post-secondary program, but being a student again is a totally different thing. And since I’d never actually stepped foot on the campus before, I figured it would be the first step in winning at school becoming a good student.

hot mess cake | movita beaucoup

Turns out only three other people were wondering if they are ready for college next fall. Two teenagers and a man in his mid-twenties sat at a long conference table beside me. The two session leaders discussed the diversity in age at the college. They were looking at me the whole time, and kind of nodding. They also discussed how that diversity impacts classes – how there might be a mature student up front waving a hand in the air and asking a question every five minutes, but that’s awesome, and not annoying. The two teenagers glanced my way. Then session leaders talked about the importance of time management – especially for people planning to work while in school, or those with children. And again, they were looking at me. I resisted the urge to yell, “wait, kids suck! I DON’T have kids. Are ya with me, homies? Bounce wit me.” Because I didn’t want to intimidate the teenagers with my awesomeness.

hot mess cake | movita beaucoup

I asked if a Justin Bieber binder might be a good idea for taking notes, and the session leaders nodded and said that yes, it would probably be a good idea. They gave us brochures and pamphlets. And then they asked if we’d like to see where we would be studying. I blurted out, “oh my god, yes,” before any of the youngsters could protest. So, after touring the plumbing and power engineering shops, I got a tour of the kitchens and the bakery. Oh, AND THE CHOCOLATE ROOM. And by the end of the session, I thought: I’m totally going to do this.

hot mess cake | movita beaucoup

So, to celebrate the fact that I am, indeed, ready for college, I give you this cake. This perfectly imperfect cake. This cake isn’t structured or refined. And like me, it won’t win a beauty pageant. It’s old school. It is a hot mess. It uses a microwave, mofo. But I’m pretty sure you’re gunna like it. It’ll grow on you just like I did. Because it’s delightful.

This cake is basically a reversed lava cake. It is sweet and chocolatey. Perfect with a tall glass of milk. We’re talkin’ about a one-bowl chocolate cake, topped with what is essentially hot, chocolate pudding. You need to assemble the cake while it’s still warm, and then you’re going to slather the topping on while it’s still hot. It will seal in the moisture. And that topping will run all over the serving plate.

Don’t worry. I think you’re ready for it.

. . .

Hot Mess Chocolate Cake

recipe: adapted from a recipe with unknown original source

print and bake

The secret to this moist cake is the pudding-like topping which should be applied while the cakes are still warm and the sauce is still hot. The cake should be assembled on the intended serving plate.

Yields one 2-layer 9-inch cake.

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For the filling/topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Begin by making the cakes:

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. (To line with parchment paper, trace the pans onto a sheet of parchment paper and cut out. Trim to fit in bottom of pans.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all of the above listed cake ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa, oil, baking powder, vanilla, eggs and milk) in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for 2-3 minutes to combine, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through. Divide batter equally between the the two prepared baking pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool for five minutes on racks until removing from pans. (Don’t forget to remove the parchment paper as well.) As the cakes are cooling, prepare the topping.

To make the topping:

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and boiling water in large microwave-safe bowl, mixing well to combine. Microwave for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken and rise – it will become almost pudding-like.

Once the mixture has thickened, remove from microwave and stir in the vanilla and butter. Allow to cool for a minute or two before applying to the still-warm cakes. Stir the mixture before applying to the cakes.

To assemble the cake:

Place one of the cakes on a serving platter or cake stand. The topping is runny, so I would recommend using a platter or stand with a lip to prevent spill-over. Spoon some of the filling onto the top of the cake and spread. Let it absorb into the cake a little. Spoon on more filling and gently spread until you’ve got a good coating of filling on the cake. Place the second cake on top of the first, pressing gently to secure. Allow to sit for a minute so the cakes adhere. Then begin spooning the topping over top of the cakes, gently spreading with a spatula, and allowing it to run over the sides. The topping is runny – spoon/drizzle in small quantities until you feel the cake can take no more! Allow to cool.

Extra topping? Pour it over some ice cream! (Yum!)


  1. on February 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This cake makes me prettttty happy! I’m sure you can show those youngsters what’s up in school. Rock ’em. And keep making yummy things like this!

  2. Lynne Knowlton on February 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Seriously puurrty. I want some . Looks fab. Congrats on baking school. You will rock it.
    Lynne 🙂

  3. Amrita on February 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

    What a delightful mess, is all I can say! You know what the best part is? There’s no excuse NOT to make it because it’s so easy, with the microwaving and all. All desserts should be like this, so if anyone catches you stuffing your face, you have every right to tell them it’s the dessert’s fault {insert happy face}

    • movita beaucoup on February 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      You are so very, very wise…

  4. teri on February 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Gosh, I love you and your craZy writings + recipes!
    I keep sending more people your way, because …..YOU DELIVER!!!
    Carry on, co-ed*
    teri in Parkdale, Oregon —————x

    • movita beaucoup on February 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      I loves you right back. Hard.

  5. frugalfeeding on February 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Very nice, Movita – pretty indeed 😀

  6. LinsFood on February 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Such an inviting cake isn’t it? Who can resist dipping a finger to swipe the chocolate? Decadent! Lin xx

  7. bwbears on February 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Really nice cake and really nice pictures!

  8. Jennie on February 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Movita, I love this post. The cake is inviting and beautiful. I wish you the best of luck on your new venture. And, awesome is what you make it. I think you’re doing a pretty good job.

  9. Isabelle @ Crumb on February 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Lady, you are totally going to dazzle those youngun’s with your awesomeness… and with your Justin Bieber notebook…. and possibly also your chocolate cake.
    BTW, those multi-coloured sprinkles always make me feel stupidly happy. Love ’em.

    • movita beaucoup on February 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Right? What is it about those sprinkles? Joy!

      WAIT. I just had a brilliant idea. Maybe I should decorate my Justin Bieber binder with sprinkles…

      • Amrita on February 18, 2012 at 3:08 am

        Best. idea. ever. Please do that and put up pictures! Baby, baby, baby ohhhhhhh…ahem…

  10. Assia on February 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Looks fantastically decadent! Thank you for sharing!

  11. spree on February 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Oh you’re ready alright! Are they ready for Movita? I’m almost hoping not. There’s some great stories ahead, fo sho!

    • movita beaucoup on February 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      No. They are not ready. And there is nothing they can do to prepare, really. Poor things…

  12. emmalina73 on February 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Can’t WAIT to see your awesomeness hitting the college scene. Those teenagers are going to be weeping into their acne as you totally outshine them with colour coded recipe binders and an extremely thorough understanding of the importance of chocolate in life. If I were you I’d start camping out in the chocolate room now just to get that extra edge.

    My motto, If you are going to bake, bake HARDCORE.

    • movita beaucoup on February 18, 2012 at 7:13 am

      I’m going to write that motto all over my binders. In smelly marker.

  13. Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) on February 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    ok, this cake looks and sounds AMAZING! i want to eat this like right now. yum!

  14. Tania on February 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Awesome and yum 🙂

  15. The Smart Cookie Cook on February 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    For something called a Hot Mess Cake, this is one good-looking dessert! You can’t go wrong with chocolate decadence, and I love the colorful touch of sprinkles.

  16. Renee on February 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    You’re totally gonna kick ass in school. Can’t wait for more stories. Speaking of kick ass – this cake totally is. Dig the sprinkles!

  17. ceciliag on February 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Just had to pop back and tell you i loved this piece of writing, You can’t tempt me with chocolate cake but I LOVE that you are going to school and are already kicking up as the mature student. You will have them eating out of your hands So Fast!! c

  18. Molly on February 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Ha! Excellent. You go rock it with your bad self. Awesome sauce.

  19. Linda Vernon on February 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Baking School eh? Interesting! But it doesn’t look to me like you need it judging from this delicious looking cake. Now I have to leave the house to go find something similiar somewhere because I can’t get the deliciousness out of my mind!!

  20. Stacy on February 18, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I am glad that you are ready, because that means the promised chocolate cake! And also some great stories as you start your classes. Best of luck to you in your new endeavor! You WILL win at school!

  21. Eggton on February 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I hope you asked them what their policy was on breastfeeding in the classroom.

    That cake looks amazing. I’m going to make it as soon as someone I like has a birthday.

    • movita beaucoup on February 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

      I wish I had asked about breastfeeding. Or adult diapers. Drat! You know, you should make this cake for your own birthday. Screw the other people in your life. Kanye would. Make that cake and eat it all by yourself. Do it!

  22. wendyellenthomas on February 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I went to cooking school at age 35 with a group of people a good 10-15 years younger. I had two kids in school and still tried to party with these youngins. I smoked. I drank…Even had a crush on a 23 year old who towed me on the back of his bike through the streets of Paris at 2am. I also got up early to swim before school 3 days a week to relieve my back pain… It was exhausting. It was a blast.
    You’ll find your place. You’ll learn quicker and retain it longer. Have fun.

    • movita beaucoup on February 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Now I want to ride through the streets of Paris at 2 am! You’re my idol. No lie.

  23. Sydney Jones on February 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Your cake looks fabulous! I love the sprinkles, they make EVERYTHING awesome 🙂
    Oh, and you are going to so do this…you and that chocolate room……sound the corny music….AHHHHHHH!! You have to get that phone and take photos and then post them so that I can see them, because I LOVE CHOCOLATE ROOMS 🙂 I want chocolate now!

    • movita beaucoup on February 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

      2.0 seems to think I need an iPhone now as well. Mostly because I’ve been talking in a Siri voice for a couple of weeks. I just have to decide if I should get one now or wait for the new iPhone that everyone says will be coming out in the fall. I wonder what Kanye would do…

  24. wendyellenthomas on February 19, 2012 at 8:19 am

    And hello again,
    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I can’t imagine you haven’t gotten it several times over but … hey it’s my list right?! Thanks for the chuckles.

    • movita beaucoup on February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

      Thank you so, so much. I bragged about it on my facebook page. Because it’s my facebook page, right? Yay!!

  25. Lynne on February 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

    That’s a mess cake? I’m totally with that!

    I went back to school a few years ago, and I was the ‘mature student who was always raising my hand every five minutes.’ Only I wasn’t at a super-cool baking college… no, it was just a community college without the ability to eat our projects (well, there were an occasional strange student here & there, but I think they were there just to stay warm since the nearby bus station was all, like, out in the open). I envy your awesomeness. Yes, I admit it. And if I had the chance to go to baking college (especially one with a CHOCOLATE ROOM!!!), I would grab the chance. Or if I lived near your college – and then YOU would we one of the young students there.

    • movita beaucoup on February 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

      I loves ya, Lynn! And I can’t wait to eat my education…

  26. Theresa on February 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

    It’s feb & I need to make this chocolate mess to cheer me up. I’ll let you know how it works!

  27. glutenfreezen on February 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Love it, it’s gorgeous!!

  28. Abby on February 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

    How am I just now finding this? Love it! You are going to rock college.

  29. Kristina on February 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

    haha I love the title of this cake! It sounds absolutely dangerous…. I would probably end up wolfing down half the cake before anyone else could get to it! The sprinkles look gorgeous on top too, love your recipe!!

  30. Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking on February 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Haha! I love the name, “Hot Mess”! It sure looks absolutely delicious though. Thanks for sharing. You have a very nice blog and I’m glad to have found you!

  31. Susi on February 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    What a yummy looking cake. My son is a lover of all things chocolate. He may be very surprised if mommy attempts to make this for his next birthday!!! 🙂
    You’ve also been awarded. Come on by and see. 🙂

  32. Eva {not your mama's dinner} on February 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Truly Amazing! I’m in love…

  33. cravesadventure on February 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    ONE WORD – YUM!!!

  34. […] you feel like chocolate instead, try movita beaucoup’s hot mess chocolate cake.  Have you seen that thing? […]

  35. 2.0's neice on March 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Yum…Dessert for a family get-together sometimg….like maybe a,oh I don’t know,birthday…

  36. chocolate pretzel cookies. | A Periodic Table on March 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    […] what I can put them on, just for fun. And then movita beaucoup sent me over the edge with her Hot Mess Chocolate Cake, which was absolutely covered, just completely rained down upon, with the aforementioned sprinkles. […]

  37. CB on March 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    “I asked if a Justin Bieber binder might be a good idea for taking notes.” LOL! That’s hilarious, although, I can’t judge. My own collegiate folder themes were cartoon animals and super heros (My freshman year I had a 3-D Batman folder.) Also, the Hot Mess Chocolate Cakes looks delicious! I’ve already graduated though, so I can’t make the cake in preparation for college but this may be just thing to help me get ready for… Tuesday!

    • movita beaucoup on March 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Why, yes, this would be perfect for Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday…

      Also, now I want a 3D binder.

  38. Anonymous on March 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm


  39. Chocolate Chilli Mango® on July 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Love this cake….and you put sprinkles on top!!!!!!!!! <3

    I wish I could come to baking school with you .. it would be so much fun!! Plus you'll feel young again!!! Cos I'll be the one you point as "yeah, mature age students, what gives?" as you shake your head…

  40. Ginny on August 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Am I the only one who had trouble making this cake? The layers came out flat and the topping would not thicken up, even after 8 min. in the microwave?

    • movita beaucoup on August 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Ginny, the cake isn’t super tall (it’s a one bowl cake) and the sauce is supposed to be runny – which is why I described it as a reversed lava cake. The topping is essentially hot, chocolate pudding. As mentioned above, you need to assemble the cake while it’s still warm, and then you’re going to slather the topping on while it’s still hot. The topping will run all over the serving plate, so use one with a lip!

      Without seeing your results, I can’t really tell you what went wrong, but I hope that helps! Sorry you are having trouble.

  41. movita beaucoup on October 29, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in February 2012. Happy baking!