Hot Cocoa Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Opened in 1992 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zingerman’s Bakehouse was one of its region’s first artisanal bakeries. 25 years later, this once eight-person offshoot of Zingerman’s Deli has blossomed into a national icon, frequented by foodies across the country. To celebrate this milestone, Zingerman’s managing partners, Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo have teamed up with Chronicle books to release the Zingerman’s Bakehouse cookbook, putting the bakery’s renowned recipes into the hands of home bakers for the first time. We’re pleased to share one such recipe, for the bakery’s famous Hot Cocoa Cake. Enjoy!

Hot Cocoa Cake

Makes on 9-inch bundt cake

“We first baked this cake during the mid-90s when low-fat eating was the primary topic of health and diet conversations,” the Zingerman’s team notes in their book. “We used low-fat buttermilk and called it, unimaginatively, low-fat buttermilk cake. It was tasty and had some followers, but not a huge number. In the early 2000s, after many of us had given up on low-fat diets, we decided to fatten it up and create a more evocative name. Sour cream was the key addition. Hot Cocoa Cake is now a favorite for many, and it is definitely a bakehouse standard.”














1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter on medium speed until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the sour cream and mix in well. Add the eggs and then the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each egg is added. Once all of the eggs are in, add the vanilla extract.

3. Combine the coffee powder with the hot water. Add to the mixing bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until homogeneous.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the dry ingredients into the mixture. Use a spatula to mix gently until all of the ingredients are completely combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix gently until evenly incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then release onto a cake circle or a plate.