Ho Ho Cake

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This Ho Ho Cake begins with a rich chocolate cake that is topped with a fluffy vanilla filling and a smooth chocolate frosting. Just like your favorite childhood treat!

Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

There’s something irresistibly fun about recreating a childhood treat. This cake tastes even better than the Ho Ho Cakes that I remember and I’m willing to bet that you’ll love it from the first bite.

Because this cake is so thick and rich, it feeds a crowd. You’ll easily get 18 servings from this cake unless you have to have teenagers are nearby.

And if your teens and pre-teens happen to have a sweet tooth? All bets are off for how quickly this cake will disappear.

Ho Ho Cake

This version of Ho Ho Cake is made in a 9×13 pan. While you can certainly turn this into a fancier layer cake, you will get all of the deliciousness in this super easy 9×13 cake.

The recipe below is a variation of one of my best from-scratch chocolate cakes and it is a favorite of ours.

The cake itself is easy and moist, and it stirs up almost as fast as a box mix.

While none of the layers take that much time, you do have to plan ahead to let the cake cool completely! Don’t get impatient though, let it cool completely.

Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

Ho Ho Cake Filling

The original filling for a Ho Ho Cake is made with shortening. So, if you prefer a more “store-bought” taste, feel free to use shortening in place of the butter in this recipe.

The shortening will create a slightly smoother filling, but in my humble opinion the butter in this recipe creates a much tastier flavor and I prefer it.

Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

Yes, the recipe for the frosting has a raw egg in it. Yes, some raw eggs contain a risk of salmonella, however, raw eggs are still a fairly common cooking ingredient.

In this case, the raw egg contributes a rich, silky texture to the frosting. That said, this frosting is also good when made without the egg, so you can skip it if you aren’t comfortable with that.

If you’d like to try it, but are a little unsure still, just pick up a carton of pasteurized eggs at the grocery store and you’ll remove the risk of salmonella.

Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

Ho Ho Cake Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. Let cool completely. Meanwhile, start the filling. Whisk together the flour and cold milk in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until bubbly and thick. Set aside to cool.
  4. When cool, add the sugar vanilla and butter, beat until smooth and fluffy. A stand mixer is best for this. If it doesn’t look like it’s coming together, just keep beating it. Spread onto the cooled cake.
  5. To make the frosting. Beat together the butter, cocoa, hot water, vanilla, powdered sugar, and egg.
  6. Spread frosting over cream filling. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

Ho Ho Cake

4.50 from 18 votes
A rich chocolate cake, topped with a fluffy vanilla filling and a smooth chocolate frosting. Just like our favorite childhood treat.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 18 servings

Ingredients 

For the Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

For the Cream Filling

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup butter softened

For the chocolate frosting

  • 10 tablespoons butter melted
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 raw egg

Instructions

Cake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Filling Directions

  • Meanwhile, start the filling. Whisk together the flour and cold milk in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until bubbly and thick. Set aside to cool.
  • When cool, add the sugar, vanilla, and butter. Beat until smooth and fluffy. If it doesn't look like it's coming together, just keep beating it. Spread onto the cooled cake.

Frosting Directions

  • To make the frosting. Beat together the butter, cocoa, hot water, vanilla, powdered sugar, and egg. Spread frosting over cream filling. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece · Calories: 392kcal · Carbohydrates: 74g · Protein: 4g · Fat: 10g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Cholesterol: 13mg · Sodium: 254mg · Potassium: 124mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 55g · Vitamin A: 71IU · Calcium: 49mg · Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

{originally published 7/16/18 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/8/21}

Here are some other chocolate cake recipes that can made in a 9×13 inch pan:

Earthquake Cake from The First Year Blog

Double Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Mississippi Mud Cake from Tastes Better From Scratch

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Turtle Dump Cake from Together as a Family

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

Buckeye Brownie Bites

S’more Brownie Bites

Homemade Ho Ho Cake Recipe from Scratch. Chocolate cake, vanilla filling and smooth chocolate frosting. An easy 9 x 13 cake recipe that feeds a crowd. Just like your favorite hostess treat.

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  1. Emily says

    1 star
    I did not enjoy this cake at all. The cream filling was way too buttery and the cake had little flavor and a gummy texture. The only redeemable quality was the chocolate frosting and that was the least prevalent element to the cake. Please either change this recipe or stop making it. I am very displeased even when we followed the recipe to a tee. I am embarrassed to have made it for a whole group of people.

  2. Doug says

    My mother used to make this cake all of the time and was the family favorite but she had her own recipe that I am unable to locate. I was concerned that there were no eggs in the cake recipe. Seeing the comment of the person above, I’m now skeptical about making the cake from scratch and may use a box mix. Unfortunately time is not on my side to “try” it out with Christmas being tomorrow. I too am making for this for a large group of family and don’t want to disappoint! Emily, thank you for the “too buttery” comment. I do love butter but may go with the shortening instead.

  3. Elaura says

    5 stars
    Super yummy! Ho ho cake is my absolutely favourite, especially microwaved for a little bit so it all melts. I always use a box cake for ease, I also sometimes have trouble with the cream filling but it’s my absolute go-to and I have no issues with using the raw egg! Thank you!

  4. Mary says

    5 stars
    Hi there! I did try your recipe for HoHo Cake and its delicious. My kids loved it. Thank you so much for sharing. Looking forward to try out some other recipes from your blog.

  5. Julie says

    5 stars
    We have a recipe that is very similar to this and has been a family favorite for years. My recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate squares for the top layer. You make this layer in a pan on the stove, and add the egg at the end while it is still hot. This might work for those who are uncomfortable using a raw egg. I use a boxed cake mix and make it in a jellyroll pan (or a cookie sheet). This recipe is delicious though. We loved it!

  6. Marilyn says

    I haven’t made this cake for years. My grandchildren have never had it. I am making it for potluck at bowling. Was reading the recipe and saw egg in frosting. So i googled a recipe and found you.Thankyou

  7. Carmie says

    I didn’t read any comments before starting but I’m at 40 minutes of baking time and it’s still a bit jiggly in the center. I actually commented to my husband about no eggs in it. Time will tell.

  8. Lisa says

    I have a similar recipe but the cake mixed only called for 1T of oil instead of 10 like your show.

    My white filling was a little crunchy from the cane sugar. Did you ever have this problem? I left the butter out to soften for about an hour.

  9. Candace Gebhardt says

    5 stars
    Sometimes I make this same from scratch chocolate cake with caramel icing . Love the vanilla filling for this HOHO cake . Made it this morning for my husbands 71st Birthday . His request every year ! Thanks for the recipe . It’s about the same as my Grandmas .

    • Mary says

      I haven’t done that, so I can’t speak to the specifics. I’d recommend trying it and just testing for doneness around 18-20 minutes.

  10. Lea Hilke says

    I do not want to be disrespectful, but this is not a good recipe. I followed the directions. And had three other people taste it, and it was awful. Maybe all of the ingredients needed aren’t listed? I tried the recipe set for 18 servings.

    • Lea Hilke says

      clarification— I didn’t make the filling and the chocolate topping…..the cake was icky, so I threw it away before getting that far. After reading all of the wonderful comments I can’t help but think I’m missing something…..

      • Mary says

        I don’t even know what to say here if you didn’t actually make the whole recipe. Made as written, this is a classic cake that gets fairly solid reviews.

    • Mary says

      That is correct. This cake does not require any eggs for the cake. It’s similar to the recipe for an old-fashioned chocolate crazy cake which also contains no dairy or eggs.

    • Mary says

      Yes, the recipe for the frosting has a raw egg in it. Yes, some raw eggs contain a risk of salmonella, however, raw eggs are still a fairly common cooking ingredient. In this case, it contributes a rich, silky texture to the frosting. That said, this frosting is also good when made without the egg, so you can skip it if you aren’t comfortable with that. If you’d like to try it, but are a little unsure still, just pick up a carton of pasteurized eggs at the grocery store and you’ll remove the risk of salmonella.

  11. Donald Hallsten says

    5 stars
    Making this again! This time for a Super Bowl party. Thanks for the recipe. (I also am gonna use a little less shortening in the filling, just saying).

    • Mary says

      I am glad you found tweaks that work for you. That is what cooking and baking are all about. I daresay your cake will be the hit of the party though, Donald.

  12. Candace says

    5 stars
    The best! I’ve been making this cake for 50 yrs now! One exception, I use melted butter instead of oil in the cake .

  13. Mmm says

    4 stars
    My second step did NOT smooth out, and I beat it a LONG time. I put it back on the stove and beat it with a hand mixer and within a minute it was perfect. Definitely reheat while mixing to get that butter melted.

    • Mary says

      I’m not sure what might have happened to your batch, but I’m glad you found a way to make the recipe work out well in the end. Happy baking!

  14. LinLeigh says

    5 stars
    🙂 After reading some negative comments about this innocent Ho Ho Cake recipe from ChocolatewithGrace.com I’d like to add my two cents. ~ I too wondered about a cake batter without any eggs, but I tried it and it turned out beautifully! I changed nothing in the recipe for the cake and its filling. But made a slight change to the topping: I omitted the raw egg and instead I added about an additional 2 Tablespoons of hot water. It tasted yummy, like a soft fudge! As I spread the topping onto the filling … I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough so I dipped my spoon into hot water and it then spread just fine! ~Thank you, ChocolateWithGrace.com! I’ll follow your site for more delicious recipes. A+ 🙂
    PS – NOTE: Prep time IS way off though. ~ I made the cake and filling the night before (covered the cake with plastic wrap, stored the filling in a sealed plastic container) and refrigerated both. In the morning I removed both from the refrigerator, re-whipped the filling AFTER it had reached room temperature, and then prepared the frosting. – Stored completed Ho Ho Cake, covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator until it was time to serve. 🙂