Chef Zeb's Hot Milk Cake

Recipe by Zeb Stevenson

Hot milk cake, an old-fashioned treat, is fine-grained, moist, high-rising, and wonderfully tasty. It can be enjoyed as is, in all its buttery glory; or paired with the icing of your choice — or fudge topping or thick caramel sauce, as shown here. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Chef Zeb Stevenson of Atlanta, who we're proud to say uses our signature unbleached all-purpose flour in this delicious cake.

Want to make 2 dozen fudge-frosted cupcakes? See "tips," below.

10 mins
40 to 45 mins
50 mins
one 9" x 13" cake or 13" x 18" sheet cake
Chef Zeb's Hot Milk Cake


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan that's at least 2" deep. Alternatively, to make a thin sheet cake, line an 18" x 13" half-sheet pan with parchment and lightly grease the sides. 

  2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until they're light and fluffy, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed using an electric or stand mixer.

  3. Slowly beat in the canola oil.

  4. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the egg mixture in the bowl, beating just enough to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat again, to fully incorporate any sticky bits.

  5. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the butter and milk just to a boil. Add the vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted.

  6. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the cake batter, mixing until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl, and mix briefly, just until smooth.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  8. Bake the 9" x 13" cake for 40 to 45 minutes or the 18" x 13" cake for 22 to 26 minutes; rotate the cake halfway through baking to help the cake bake into an even layer. The cake is done when a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top feels set. Remove the cake from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.

  9. Serve in squares, as is. Or top with icing or sauce. If you use caramel sauce, a sprinkle of flaked sea salt is a wonderful addition.

Tips from our Bakers

  • To make cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the batter as directed above. Line two standard muffin pans with muffin papers; grease the papers. Pour the batter into the prepared pans (to make a total of 24 cupcakes). Bake until the tops are light gold, about 20 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. When cool, ice and serve. To make ganache icing: Heat 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and immediately combine with 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips). Wait 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Dip the top of each cupcake into the icing. Spread any remaining icing over the tops of the cakes. Yield: 24 cupcakes.
  • Looking for a delicious chocolate topping for this cake? See our recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce.

  • Looking for a gluten-free version of this recipe? Find it here: Gluten-Free Hot Milk Cake.