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Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 8 servings

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Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a super easy cake that makes its own hot fudge sauce as it bakes! Perfect with ice cream.

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.

white pie plate with grandma's hot fudge sundae cake and scoop missing

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.

overhead image of white pie plate with metal spoon scooping cake

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.)

bowl of hot fudge sundae cake with pie plate in the background

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.

close up image of hot fudge sundae cake with pie plate in the background

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.

*NOTE: Some people have mentioned the sauce was very runny. This is the recipe we have used over and over again, and yes, this is the recipe used to make the cake in the pictures! There is a lot of fudge sauce when all is said and done — as it cools it will continue to set up. If you want more of a gooey chocolate cake and less a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge sauce, reduce the boiling water to 1 1/2 cups. I have done this before, but I find that as it sits it doesn’t leave much sauce, so we like to stick to the full 1 3/4 cups.

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Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

4 from 2 votes
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!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings
Calories 271cal


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or sub all-purpose
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 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


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Combine brown sugar and ΒΌ cup cocoa. Spread over batter.
  • 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).
  • Serve warm with ice cream.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 271cal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Betty says

    I noticed on your grandma’s recipe, the word “walnuts”, but no mention in your you omit those???? I’m always “leery” of online recipes, because I’ve had them fail due to incomplete recipes…Please advise!!! Thanks!

  2. Abby says

    While this recipe did in fact work for me (which shocked me, really), it wasn’t very “chocolatey.” Next time I’ll sprinkle some chocolate chips on top of the batter before I sprinkle the brown sugar mixture on.

  3. Hamna Attique says

    Hello. I am baking it and it’s in the over for like 30 minutes but the top isn’t puffed up as you said in the recipe. What should I do?

  4. Aless says

    This was the first thing my now 30something kids taught themselves to bake!!! If I hadn’t made a dessert, they were eager to offer!! LOL!!

  5. Ashli says

    I think I goofed! Mine didn’t turn out at all—but two things against me…I live in the mountains over 7500 feet—the altitude often wreaks havoc on baking! The other is I decided to make it in a 8 x 8 glass pyrex dish. LOL help!

  6. Zorbin says

    I’ve made this for over 40 years. It came from The Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, but the name is Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. I have also made the Lemon Pudding Cake, which also comes from The Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. Both are yummy and easy.

  7. Lady Cherston says

    I ‘ve made this before. and it is to die for. You can also add caramel ice cream topping just after removing from the oven. You can also add walnuts or pecans. I find this very rich, but the ice cream cuts the richness down to tolerable levels. Boiling water is the key I think. This is a stellar recipe. I plan to make it for friends when they come over. This one’s a keeper for sure. Thanks for posting it.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Carol! The water does bring it pretty close to the top, and it will definitely depend on how deep your pie plate is. How was the end result anyway? I would guess it just wouldn’t be quite as saucy but I hope you still enjoyed it!

  8. Della Robbins says

    Hi Ashley, I have six grandchildren and bake them homemade goodies several times a week, but my question is can you double this recipe and put it in a 9by13 pan? I usually bake all kinds of candies, cakes, cookies, bars, pies, you name I make it lol, but I ALWAYS have to make double for my daughter that has five children. One batch of whatever I make doesn’t go very far cuz of so many people in their family, plus I bake so much for others also. I am one of seven children and my grandmother, aunts and mom always cooked from scratch and I inherited the baking gene, which everyone looks to me to carry on the tradition of homemade goodies. I have just discovered your site and can’t wait to start baking away! Thanks for passing this one along and I hope you have a great day!

  9. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says

    That is SO nice that your Grandma made you a cookbook of recipe collections! I have a few of my Grandma’s recipes, but she made a lot of things from memory, which makes it hard for me to recreate. This cake looks amazing! Wishing I had this for breakfast right now! And your video is SO good, Ashley! You’re a pro!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Haha, thanks Gayle! Lots and lots and lots of practice πŸ˜‰ And there’s still lots to improve! With this cake though? Nothing. Lol. Grandma’s recipes are the best!

  10. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Ashley! This is chocolate paradise! When my son went out of his own he suggested (more like insisted) that I compile a cookbook of all the recipes that I cooked for him and many of his friends. It ended up being more than 250 pages! I’m currently in the process of compiling another one specifically for my son and his best friend (my “other” son). I would urge every mother (or grandmother) to do that. It’s a gift from the heart! πŸ™‚

  11. Medha @ Whisk & Shout says

    This hot fudge cake looks unreal! And as you said, the best part is how easy it is to throw together. I love the video- that steam coming out of the bowl of gooey chocolatey goodness was SO satisfying πŸ™‚

  12. Tiffany says

    Oh man, I was scrolling through Pinterest and saw your recipe. It looked so good I immediately clicked over. I’m making this this weekend for sure. I know my husband and I will love it!

  13. kathryn davis says

    Does this do ok if kept in the fridge after you make it? If we don’t eat it all at once πŸ™‚

    • Ashley says

      Thanks! I think I’ve only had it about 18,000 times since birth and I don’t think it will ever get old!

  14. Becky says

    First…. My family & I loved this incredible dessert. I was surprised though how much I could taste the whole wheat flour. This is the first dessert I’ve made with whole wheat instead of white flour. Have you substituted white flour instead?

    • Ashley says

      You know, I use whole wheat flour a lot in my baking. I think I would notice a change maybe if I switched to white flour, but I never really notice! It would definitely work fine if you use all-purpose though!

  15. Ashley says

    This is literally in the oven as I write this! I am so excited to try this!! I had to use coconut oil in the recipe, ill be sure to let you know how it is! Thank you for sharing her recipe how wonderful! love your site, I am following you now on all platforms xoxo Ashley from

        • Ashley says

          It shouldn’t be watery at all, but it does make a good amount of hot fudge sauce. The cake layer will be on top, and the bottom half will be hot fudge sauce. How was it in the end?

        • Cassie Hernandez says

          I just took mine out of the oven as well. I smells delicious. But it looks really watery under the crust layer. I cooked it for about 40 minutes. I am going to pull it out and see what happens when the fudge under sets up a little. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Carol Rasco says

    AshleIy-I think I’m probably a lot older than you are-my family is raised and gone and their kids are mostly raised and gone. I first came across this recipe in a 50th Anniversary issue of a Gold Medal Flour book. Back then we didn’t have a lot of money and this was my favorite go-to recipe for a quick inexpensive dessert that EVERYONE wanted more of. I still have that old cookbooklet and still go to it for great recipes. I know that anyone who tries it will keep and make it over and over.

  17. Abhilash says

    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 says

      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.

  18. Peggy Jane says

    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!

  19. Jessica says

    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 says

      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!

  20. Jordan says

    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…

  21. Debi says

    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!

  22. Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats says

    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! πŸ™‚

    • Ashley says

      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 πŸ™‚

  23. Jelli says

    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.

  24. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says

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

  25. Lee willie says

    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 says

      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!

    • Ashley says

      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 πŸ™‚

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