Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

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I feel like we know each other well enough now that I can share with you a few family secrets. Like my Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake.

It’s a really big deal.


My grandma has made all of her granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law a cookbook, with recipes written out by hand and pictures from cooking magazines. She collects recipes from family members to contribute, so it is an amazing compilation of well-loved recipes.


This cake has been my favourite dessert for many, many, many years. Certainly all throughout my childhood. And as I’ve grown up and started experimenting more in the kitchen, I tend not to make the same recipe repeatedly because there are just so many that I want to try.

But I made some pork chops in the slow cooker, and they tasted great, they just didn’t look great. And I have a hard time wanting to share things with you guys that don’t photograph well. Because we eat with our eyes first, they say.

So after supper I was feeling like I should make something blogworthy, but I just didn’t have a lot of energy. I wanted something outstanding without putting in a ridiculous amount of time. And I didn’t want to mess around a lot with recipes I don’t know.

So it just made sense that I would share this with you today.


I made this entire cake, minus the baking, in the time it took my husband to unload and reload the dishwasher.

Not that it was a race.

(It was a race.)

And it’s not like it took him a really long time. I’m telling you, 10 minutes max and you can have this baby in the oven. The ingredients are all simple: there’s nothing to be chopped, melted, sifted, whatever it is that takes extra time. It’s all about minimal effort and maximum wow factor.


This recipe is awesome for entertaining, too. You could make the batter, spread it in the pan, top with the brown sugar mixture and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Then just pour the hot water on top and bake.

This cake has a chewy, almost brownie-like layer on the top and a thick, hot, rich chocolate sauce on the bottom. And it’s divine. Grab a tub of your favourite ice cream and go to town.


Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Delicious chocolate cake that makes its own hot fudge sauce while it bakes, right in the pan! This is amazing served with any flavour of ice cream: mint, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry -- you name it!


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or sub all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 1/4cup cocoa, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, 2 tbsp cocoa, baking powder, salt, milk, oil and vanilla. Batter will be very thick -- don't fear. You might need to stir with a metal spoon.
  3. Spread batter into a greased 9" pie plate or square pan (*Note: make sure your pan has tall sides, otherwise your cake might run over a bit.)
  4. Combine brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Spread over batter.
  5. Top with hot water (I use freshly boiled). Bake for about 30-35 minutes until top is dry and puffed. (*Note: put a cookie sheet underneath your pan in the oven, just in case a little spills over).
  6. Serve warm with ice cream.
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40 Responses to Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

  1. Abhilash August 4, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    Hi Ashley,

    This is perfect since this doesn’t contain eggs! I have a questions and would really appreciate it if you could help. I have 2.5 kilos of Callebaut chocolate with me and it isn’t in powder form. How can I use that instead of using Chocolate powder for this cake? Thanks for your help!

    • Ashley August 4, 2014 at 7:05 am #

      It would take a big of experimenting. To make the sauce, you really need the dry powder combined with the hot water, so I’m not sure how you could make that work. You might be able to find another recipe that doesn’t use cocoa powder.

  2. Peggy Jane August 2, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    My mom made this for me on my birthday every year, except instead of hot water at the end she used a hot cup of strong coffee, gave it just a hint of mocha flavor. Glad I found this, better late than never! Thanks!

    • Ashley August 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      Anytime! Coffee would be wonderful as well!

  3. Jessica July 29, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    I was wondering if I could use a cast iron skillet in place of the pie pan and if so do you think it would be better to use an 8 inch or a 10 3/4 inch skillet?

    • Ashley July 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      I’ve never made it in cast iron but I’m sure it’s possible! I would just keep a close eye on it as it bakes because cast iron will probably conduct heat differently. I think I would use a 10 3/4 just to be safe because it does get quite close to the top. It depends on the depth of the pan though — an 8″ might be fine if it’s deep enough. Hope that helps!

  4. plasterers bristol July 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    One of my favorites this, delicious, thanks for putting this up.


  5. Jordan June 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Saw this yesterday and its in the oven right now! it smells amazing. My only tough choice is do i share or is it all mine…

    • Ashley June 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      Haha, that’s a tough one! Let me know how you like it!

  6. Shae June 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    This sounds crazy amazing! My mouth is literally watering!

    • Ashley June 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Shae! It is super good!

  7. Debi June 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I promise, if you put this down and back away slowly, no one will be hit with flying sauce! I believe I have found a recipe for a get-together my girlfriends and I do every year to “out-do” each other.

    God bless your Grandmother for keeping the recipes and the love alive! Whenever you make something from her, it’s like sending a hug!

    • Ashley June 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Debi! It is a pretty special book!

  8. Laura June 17, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    Hats off the your grandma, this sounds divine. Like, I can’t possibly share this divine. Fantastic pictures too =)
    Laura recently posted…Strawberries and Champagne Boozy Butterfly CupcakesMy Profile

    • Ashley June 17, 2014 at 6:30 am #

      Thanks Laura! She definitely has some good tricks up her sleeve :)

  9. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats June 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    How cool that your grandma put a cookbook together! I wish mine would have done that, great way to keep all those yummy recipes around.

    This hot fudge sundae cake sounds right up my alley. I am a chocoaholic, so anything rich, gooey, and chocolately is a winner! :)

    • Ashley June 17, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      Thanks Krista! It is pretty special for all of us grandkids! I don’t know many people who can turn down a piece of this with some melty ice cream on top :)

  10. Jelli June 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Mmm! This looks scandalously delish. My mom has made something like this a few times, but I don’t have her recipe (and she probably already tossed the magazine where she likely found it.) Love, love the pics and can’t wait to try this. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the stories behind heirloom recipes.
    Jelli recently posted…Chocolate Cookie Dough Crunch CupcakesMy Profile

    • Ashley June 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

      Thanks Jelli! If you do try it, be sure to let me know how you like it!

  11. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain June 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    I love your grandma. For reals, is she adopting additional granddaughters?? I am first on that wait list. :D This cake looks absolutely to-die-for, Ashley! :D
    Jess @ On Sugar Mountain recently posted…Mocha Coconut SmoothieMy Profile

    • Ashley June 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

      Lol. She just might! But she’s not making many cookbooks anymore unfortunately :(

  12. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes June 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Holy yum!! So awesome that your grandma made you a cookbook! :) Thanks so much for sharing at Freedom Fridays! :)

    • Ashley June 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks Jamie! It’s pretty special :)

  13. Lee willie June 9, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    Hi, new here and will be giving this recipe a go for my family, one question though, when you add the water it goes straight on top of the brown sugar mix is that right?

    • Ashley June 9, 2014 at 6:35 am #

      Yes! You have to be careful putting it in the oven so it doesn’t slosh over the sides (you’ll want to use a deep dish), but it’s what makes the delicious sauce!

  14. Sarah @ Devour June 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    This looks so scrumptious! Warm chocolate cakes/brownies just aren’t complete without a gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yum.

    • Ashley June 9, 2014 at 6:34 am #

      Tell me about it Sarah!

  15. dina June 8, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    it looks amazing!

    • Ashley June 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks Dina! Can’t go wrong with chocolate :)

  16. Julia Olsen June 6, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Oh my gosh! This looks amazing!! :-D yum!
    Julia Olsen recently posted…Creamy Pasta With Almonds And SpinachMy Profile

    • Ashley June 6, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      It is Julia! Thanks :)

  17. Matt Robinson June 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    This is most definitely blog-worthy! Your grandma nailed it with this recipe, it sounds and looks amazing!
    Matt Robinson recently posted…Chorizo Breakfast BakeMy Profile

    • Ashley June 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      Thanks Matt! It’s been my favorite for quite some time! There are quite a few more treasures in there to bring to the blog someday :)

  18. Librarian Lavender June 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    How sweet of your grandma to make you a cookbook! That is such an amazing treasure! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can see it’s an absolute winner! Thanks for sharing!
    Librarian Lavender recently posted…Dinner with the inlaws!My Profile

    • Ashley June 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks! It is something I will cherish for a long time, that’s for sure :)


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