Hoho Cake.

Not hoho as in Santa, but hoho as in Hostess. But the name sure is fitting for the holidays, no?

If you’re looking for a non-cookie holiday dessert, you’re in luck. It’s delicious and chocolatey and fun and frisky.

Oh, and it’s really healthy too! It barely has any butter.

The cake is very simple, but there are a few steps to follow.

Don’t complain though – it just means that you have more bowls and beaters to lick.

I gotta tell you… I am not a fan of hoho’s. No judgement please. In fact, in my entire life I’ve probably only consumed a bite of one hoho and thrown the rest out. They just don’t do it for me.

So I had no intentions of loving this cake. But our friend Barb first made it for us last year over the holidays and I have wanted to make it ever since. It blew my mind.

It definitely does do it for me.
Don’t ask me why it took me 12 months to make it. I don’t have all the answers. Plus, my mouth is full.

The cake covers all bases. If you love hoho’s, you will absolutely adore this cake. And if you don’t love hoho’s… you will still want to go to town on this dessert. I promise.
I highly suggest throwing it in the fridge or freezer. Mr. How Sweet is usually the one in this house that loves his cake and frosting chilled, but I have to admit that this cake takes the cake. Especially when chilled. It is pure heaven.

I made it for my brother’s birthday on Sunday, and of course I had to sample a piece before the party.

I kept thinking, just one more bite.

Oaky, maybe another.

HoHo Cake

Your favorite chocolate cake (either boxed mix or from scratch + ingredients)

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your favorite chocolate cake (I used a Devil’s Food boxed mix). Grease and flour a jelly roll pan. Pour batter in the pan and spread around until it’s even. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes; this will depend on the cake you bake, but begin to check it after 15 minutes.

Remove cake and let cool for 30 minutes. While cake is cooling, mix middle layer.
For middle layer:

1 cup butter

3 cups powdered sugar

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and slowly add the powdered sugar, beating until mixture is thick. Stream in the milk and vanilla extract, beating until the icing is combined and spreadable.  Spread in an even layer on chocolate cake. Set in the freezer for 15 minutes while you make the chocolate frosting.
For chocolate frosting:

½ cup butter

¾ cup cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

8-10 tablespoons of water, added one at a time

Cream butter and vanilla. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture is smooth– you want the frosting to be spreadable, but not thin.

Remove cake from freezer and frost. Store in the fridge.

I think we all know how this ended.

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130 Responses to “Hoho Cake.”

  1. #
    Blond Duck — December 16, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

    I should make this when I go to my in-laws and watch them curse my name! :)


  2. #
    katie — December 16, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    YUMMMMMMMM jessica! Come bake for me!


    • Jessica — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:47 am

      Would love to darling!


  3. #
    Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons — December 16, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    If it was hoho for santa it would be ho ho ho cake ;) there I said it. cheesy remark accomplished!

    on that note – it looks delicious!



    • Jessica — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:47 am

      You rock.


  4. #
    Maren — December 16, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    Oh my gosh Jessica. You never fail to impress me. Like every single day. Your blog just gets better and better.


    • Jessica — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:45 am

      That may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. THANK YOU!


  5. #
    Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie — December 16, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a hoho….I’ll have to try this cake!


  6. #
    the country cook @ Delightful Country Cookin — December 16, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    I’m a ding dong fan myself, but I think this might just ring the bell (pun totally intended).


    • Jessica — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:44 am



  7. #
    Pixie — December 16, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

    I just added this to the “things I must bake” list I have on my phone. Seriously you need to live next door.


    • Jessica — December 17th, 2010 @ 4:38 am

      That would be awesome. :)


  8. #
    Traci(faithfulfoodiefashionista) — December 17, 2010 @ 2:42 am

    You had me at Hoho :) These look so delicious and there is nothing better than licking the bowl :)


  9. #
    Tracy — December 17, 2010 @ 3:50 am

    Love Hohos! Will definitely have to try this!!


  10. #
    SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen — December 17, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    What an amazing cake!! Haven’t had ho-hos in years… but, oh, I love them!


  11. #
    Laura J. — December 17, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    Oh.my.eff. that cake looks ridiculous!! I’m literally typing this as I’m running out the door to get ingredients. My sweet tooth loves your blog…my pants…not so much.


  12. #
    katie@cozydelicious — December 17, 2010 @ 9:59 pm

    This cake looks amazing! I want to nibble all of the crumbs off that plate. Yum!


  13. #
    Lisa — December 25, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

    I couldn’t wait to try this recipe for part of our Christmas menu. I unfortunately struggled with the middle layer. I followed the instructions perfectly. I was in doubt about adding the milk to the butter- usually powdered sugar is creamed with butter then the liquid is added – but I went with the directions and did not get good results. Drat. No matter how slowly I added the milk to the butter, it did not incorporate well at all. I ended with up with a buttery gritty filling that was not fluffy at all, no matter how I tried to whip it up. I am not sure what happened, but I am determined not to give up on this recipe- next time I will cream the powdered sugar with butter first and then add the liquids. I would also recommend using a clear vanilla so that filling remains white. I love hoho’s and I think this idea is great..next time!


    • Jamie — February 11th, 2011 @ 1:56 am

      oooh this happened to me I was sooo sad :( cause the rest of it was really good! I still ate it.. woops haha. the top layer was so good! I’m determined to make this again too! I was thinking,,, because I have a strawberry cake mix in the pantry to use that… hmmm but I need to figure out the middle layer first


      • Tammy — February 26th, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

        I’m in the “middle” of making this and am also having trouble with the middle layer. I’m about to scrape it back into the bowl and add more powdered sugar. I was wondering if there is a typo in the amount of butter?

        • lexie — March 11th, 2011 @ 2:50 am

          me too! figured I just did something wrong, but I’m on my 2nd attempt of the middle layer and it’s still not right — not sure what’s up, it’ll still taste ok! :)

          • Jessica — March 11th, 2011 @ 8:03 am

            Is it not thick enough? I’m just curious as to what it’s looking like – the recipe has been handed down for years and I’ve never had an issue with (there is also not a typo in the recipe) so I am wondering where the disconnect is!

            • Natalie — September 8th, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

              I’m in the middle of this problem as well! What mine is looking like:
              -Not thick. Kind of runny, and doesn’t keep any peaks. Where the image above looks like you could practically sculpt something out of that frosting, mine would just run right off the spatula.
              -Very wet
              -There seem to be tiny globules of liquids and solids, rather than a smooth combined frosting

              I’m thinking that my problem might be that I let the butter soften for quite a while before creaming it and adding the other ingredients. I was just following convention from a different recipe I have used before, but that creamed butter went directly into a cookie, so this is probably a whole different beast and maybe I should’ve used it cold? Or not so soft? Not sure if that is the problem, but my frosting bowl is in the freezer right now, trying to stiffen it up before I try beating it some more. Or maybe I just didn’t beat it long enough (but it seemed like the more I beat, the more the ingredients were separating rather than combining or thickening).

              I’ll check in later if I make any progress. I’m out of powdered sugar so I can’t start over, haha! (It still tastes good though!)

              • Natalie — September 8th, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

                Okay, so I feel a little silly. I think my problem was just due to being gun-shy about mixing! I really hadn’t mixed it very long or on a very high speed before deciding it wasn’t working out.

                Cooling the frosting down in the freezer seemed to help with the thickness some, but it probably wouldn’t have lasted. Since I had nothing to lose, I just decided to beat it on the highest speed for a while and see what happened. Imagine my delight when, several minutes later, my frosting had thickened up, combined, and looked and felt totally gorgeous!

                So my advice to anyone having trouble with their frosting incorporating is to BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF IT! Don’t be afraid to turn it up to 10 (you know you want to) and leave it there for a while. I haven’t worked with butter/sugar/milk that way before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect and was afraid of messing up by over-mixing, but that technique definitely worked for me =) Same thing applies to the chocolate frosting too. If it seems lumpy, keep beating it, ya goof! Don’t just give up! (Still took me a while to convince myself that the same thing would work twice!)

                Thanks for the recipe, it all turned out great and my husband really liked the frostings (he usually doesn’t care for homemade frosting). Can’t wait to try it again when it’s had more time to chill.

                • Terri — February 6th, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

                  To get the grittiness out of the filling, you have to use the mixer on a high speed and beat at LEAST 8-9 minutes. This dissolves the sugar and incorporates it into the other ingredients. If you dont beat it long enough, you will get “bad” results regarding the texture of the filling. The taste may be pretty much the same, but the texture is gritty from the sugar. I know that goes for regular sugar; however I’ve never made this type of filling with powdered sugar. I would think it the same.

  14. #
    Diana S — January 13, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    This cake is evil. My husband says so too. Once you start eating it, you can’t stop. It doesn’t look like anything spectacular, but it is. Especially when it is chilled.


  15. #
    Allison Adair — January 31, 2011 @ 5:42 am

    Wow! Just made this and it is super decadent and delicious!! I was feeling blue and needed a pick-me-up and this definitely did the trick! Would recommend to those who believe that cake can never be too sweet. Thanks for sharing.


    • Jessica — January 31st, 2011 @ 11:27 am

      Glad you liked it!


      • Sheila — March 5th, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

        How do you print the recipirs out?

  16. #
    Fallon — February 1, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    What a great way to dress up a boxed cake mix!


  17. #
    stacey — February 11, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    ok, just made this cake, and naturally i had to test each bowl several times!!!, then i had to test a piece of the actual cake and while it is ohhh so good, my gut actually hurts, i ate so much sugar in such a short amount of time.
    Awesome recipe!!! taking in to card party tomorrow night. got to get it out of the house.


  18. #
    Sheila — March 5, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    I would like to know how to print these recipies. They all sound so good.


    • Jessica — March 5th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

      Hi Sheila – I’m currently working on making all of the recipes printable and within a few weeks the site will be redesigned and they should be. As for now you can either select the recipe and print the selection, or copy and paste it into Word.


  19. #
    BarbieQMom — April 18, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    Made this yummy treat as cupcakes to take to a BBQ and got RAVING REVIEWS – you MUST try this. More better-er than any old nasty preservative filled Hostess Ho Ho’s or Cupcakes!!! Thank you for this delicious recipe – I was asked to make 3 dozen for a friend to sell at her restaurant…. YUMMY!!!! Just FYI, if you make this as cupcakes as I did, halving the middle layer was perfect for filling 24 cupcakes.


    • Jessica — April 18th, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

      Thank you!


  20. #
    Cassie — May 25, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and i absolutely love it! I made this yesterday for the girls i work with and they all went crazy over it….it was delicious!!


  21. #
    Alicia — July 9, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    I made this cake this week, and it was fantastic! My white layer took quite a bit more powdered sugar, but it turned out wonderfully in the end.

    Thanks for posting such great stuff… I found your site recently, and can’t stay away! Keep up the great work :)


  22. #
    april — August 27, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    yea, its kinda like this is a joke recipe, becuz my middle layer turned out with a yellow color and not thick. and i taste too much vanilla.


  23. #
    Elan — October 31, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    I couldn’t get the middle layer right- I’m going to try beating it for 10 minutes straight next time and see if that one poster’s miracles happen for me.


  24. #
    Kayane — January 4, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

    Hey, I made this cake for my fiance’s 25th bday. Super moist, super rich, super delicious!
    Had one problem however, the recipe for the middle layer (white) seems to be a little off… had to alter it a bit to get the consistency right. The instructions posted above made it too runny for some reason.

    But it’s a wonderful recipe and my fiance and I thank you for sharing it!!!


  25. #
    Linda — January 5, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    Jessica, ALL your recipes look all so yummilicious and making this HOHO Cake for my second grade team tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the look on their faces and HOW they will love this cake!


    • Linda — January 11th, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

      Jessica, OHHHHH MG!!! This was outstanding…YOU ROCK girl!!1 MY team loved it and a few others that I treated it too!


  26. #
    Terri — February 6, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

    After you put this cake into the fridge, freezer–if you bake it on parchment paper, & dont put the middle on too thick, do you think you would be able to roll it up like a ho-ho? Just wondering if you ever tried it.


    • Jessica — February 6th, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

      You know, I haven’t tried it (and don’t have experience with rolling cakes) but I think that sounds fabulous!


      • Leslie — March 28th, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

        Jessica! I think your right! don’t have any experience!:(

  27. #
    Leslie — March 28, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    These are like so awesome. Chocolate and stuff are sweet!…………………………………………. Something is just wrong with this stuff because its so good and I’m like so pointless now. ;)


  28. #
    Lydia — December 15, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Just curious…is your jelly roll pan the size of two 9×13 cake pans or an 11 x 15? I made this recipe and it was HEAVENLY! We all loved it and esp. loved the fact that it had hardly any butter. :) But my middle layer didn’t look nearly as thick as yours and I was just trying to figure out if you used a different size pan than I did.



  29. #
    Cassie — June 12, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

    Love your recipes and your blog! I love this recipe and have made it many times. So great! I’ve adapted it a bit and I recently started a blog and I featured my adapted version today. Thanks for all your awesome creations!


  30. #
    Liz — December 3, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! AND THANK YOU AGAIN. My mother made this recipe during the holiday’s also. She passed away almost one year ago We have looked for this recipe in her collection of cookbooks but we couldn’t find it. In searching the internet we didn’t find on that looked right. When I came across this one I knew it was what we were looking for.

    Also – You said that your friend Barb made it for you during the holiday’s – Well my mom’s name was Barb.

    Thanks again for sharing this recipe.


  31. #
    Hope — March 18, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    I’ll start off by saying that I am a pastry chef and know what I am doing as far as technique. With that being said, I am making this right now, the middle layer tastes like straight butter and was yellow and gritty. I even beat it for 10 minutes. I’ll see how it is finished but I’m not opitpmistic. I wish I would have read the other comments before making it or I would have found a different recipe for hoho cake.



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