Hot Milk Cake

 I found this “old Vineyard recipe” for Hot Milk Cake in our local paper.  I’m always attracted to interesting old recipes that say, “This is plain food, simply prepared, and absolutely delicious.”  What’s not to like?  Thought it could be perfect for a tea party; had to try it.  

Here’s the original recipe as printed, although I finished up the directions with suggestions for things such as what size pan to use, what is “a little salt,” and what temperature to bake it at. I’ll rewrite the recipe and put it at the end of this post so you can print it out.  I broke the rule and “thought” about frosting it, but didn’t do it; and since I was “fresh out” of yellow tomato conserve, I made a sauce to puddle in the bottom of a bowl full of  cake. Y U M !  It’s still not fancy, never fear . . .

So here’s what you do for HOT MILK CAKE . . .

Set the temperature for 325 degrees.  See how easy it is already?  Piece of cake!

T H E   C A K E

First you get yourself a “rounded teaspoon” of butter (love the way old recipes are written — this was much easier than one that reads add a “knob” of butter!); drop the butter into a half cup of whole milk and heat it on top of the stove until hot.

Whisk a couple of eggs within an inch of their lives.

Gradually whisk in the sugar . . . beat well.

In goes the first half cup of flour, the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.

Stir well . . . then add the other half cup of flour and the hot milk with butter . . .

And that’s all there is to it!  Pour the cake batter into a buttered 8″ square (or round) cake pan.  Bake 40-45 min.

Pull it out of the oven when the edges start to pull away from pan, or check it with a toothpick in the center . . . allow your kitty to watch . . .

Let the charmingly plain little cake cool while you make the sauce . . .

So, for the sauce, which is also really easy, scrape the seeds from a 1″ piece of vanilla bean, put it in a small pan with heavy cream and sugar, bring to a boil, stir and cool.  Chill.

I tried the cake, as suggested, plain and unadorned, and it was wonderful.  I have to say, in real life, I would like to bite off all the chewy edges first (like corn on the cob), so good!  BUT . . .

. . .  then I added the sauce and this is when the heaven’s parted and this cake melted in my mouth becoming God’s Gift to the World; I was proud to be human and able to cook.  The sauce turns it into a kind of pudding cake.  Just delicious.

You could also add the zest of either one orange or one lemon to the cake batter if you wanted.  Probably currants too and even mini chocolate chips if you were so inclined.  It’s a plain cake — and if it would be good with yellow tomato conserve, as the original recipe says, I think you could put it with anything.  Mmmm, strawberries and whipped cream! ♥  Try it for yourself and someone you love.

  S A U C E   for  H O T  M I L K   C A K E

  • 1″ piece vanilla bean
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. sugar

Slit vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into small saucepan.  Stir in cream and bring to a boil.  Add sugar, stir well, let it cool. Chill well.

H O T   M I L K   C A K E

  • 1/2 c. hot milk with 1 rounded tsp. butter melted into it
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Butter an 8″ square or round cake pan.  Prepare milk and butter.  Whisk eggs well in a med. bowl.  Gradually whisk in sugar and beat well.  Stir in 1/2 c. flour, the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Stir in other 1/2 c. flour, then the hot milk/butter.  Pour into cake pan; bake 40-45 min.  Pour the chilled sauce into a dish and put a slice of cake on top.  Enjoy. 

110 Responses to Hot Milk Cake

  1. Sylvia says:

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic recipe! So easy to make and absolutely delicious! It was a hit!

    • sbranch says:

      Glad to hear it Sylvia! We love it too!

    • kathleen says:

      My mom pasted away in 2006 she always made the hotmilk cake sadly she didn’t write it down her twist on the icing was peanut butter topped with milk chocolate everyone always wanted her to bring it wherever we had family gatherings.Thanks for the rescipe she’ll always be with us when i’m able to bring the cake!

  2. bib says:

    Your awesome! The cake tasted the best

  3. Diane P says:

    Just made this for the girlfriends tonight ~ can’t wait to try it! (if the cake is as good as the batter, I could eat it all myself!) 🙂

  4. Barbara says:

    I am whipping this up today. I keep looking for a small cake, that is just enough for two people.

  5. judi says:

    Playing “Betty bandaid” today. Made pumpkin muffins drizzled with powdered sugar mixed with apple juice- 6 of them in ramkins – (liked the way they turned out) and 8 mini muffins in cup cake papers, that were cute but they stuck to them, waaa. NOW I am making your cake and I am coveting? your copper pan. I need to get a new “little” pan. It seems mine takes forever. Cake is in the oven and milk sauce is in the frig:) All is well….so far:)))) judi Oh, thank heavens computers still work. I had copied your recipe quite a while ago and just now went to make it. I didn’t have an oven temp for it, yikes… I just blogged, “susan branch recipe hot – thats all the further I had to go and it brought me right here YEA and there were your comforting directions!

  6. Joann says:

    I’ve looked at this recipe before and I think it has to be made soon—I love the puddle of yummy-ness beneath the cake….and the simplicity of it. I wonder if my GF flour would make it taste funny. Sometimes I just need cake!

    Stay warm and dry in the snowstorm sweetie!

  7. mitche says:

    how can i make the size of the shape circular and the cake a bit thicker? Do i have to change the amount of the ingredients?

    • sbranch says:

      That was an 8″ square pan. If you can find a smaller round pan, that would be the way to do it. But 8″ is standard…it would have to be a vintage cake pan. Put a tape measure in your pocket before you go to the antique stores. If you put it in a smaller pan, you will have to cook it just a bit longer, but you wouldn’t have to change the amount of the ingredients.

  8. Monica Sivertson says:

    Susan,this is very much like an old recipe from my grandmother. The difference is that once it is cooked we add a topping of melted butter with brown sugar and coconut that has been boiled on top of the stove. we then put the cake under the broiler for a few minutes. Crunchy goodness on top!

  9. Cathy McAvoy says:

    Monica’s suggestion on the butter, brown sugar and coconut topping is awesome …..we add cream as well, then boil till sugar dissolves and pour over cake, cool and serve …. (we call that Lazy Daisy cake) but also good is any home made butterscotch sauce made with butter, brown sugar, water and a little cornstarch to thicken slightly – serve it warm off the stove over top of the cake and a big blob of whipped cream

    • Susan Nido says:

      My mom made it this way too! Although once you make the coconut, brown sugar, butter, cream mixture, after spreading on the cake, she put it under the broiler for a short time to toast the top! My girls are now making this! I have passed it along to many friends too. I will try Susan’s cream next time. I guess I missed this original post!

  10. Kate says:

    I have a similar recipe from Maryland but it uses a buttercream frosting with crunchy peanut utter added for taste & texture. I don’t use vanilla because I use dairy fresh vanilla flavored whole milk. My family’s favorite cake!

  11. Rabia says:

    Can we add coco powder to make it chocolate cake

  12. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Thank you so much Sue for posting this great recipe , i cant wait to make it . You have made my day again i would love to make your day some day . Love to you all and plese post the Library event from Sunday . XXX Cheyenne from Las Vegas are Nevada . Cant wait to see and hear about it XXX

    • sbranch says:

      You make my day by coming by to say hello Cheyenne!

      • Cheyenne Renard says:

        I love the post of the visit of the ladies from Beatrix Potter. Will we be able to purchase one of the pins thru the society ? i would love one of those too. I have to join after i get ur book . I am thrilled they will sell it at Costco u should come to the Henderson Costco and then i could take u to some of the fun places here in Las Vegas Area. Love to have you both my cats would love to have you too . Love Cheyenne XXX

  13. Cheyenne Renard says:

    The Pink crochet square what is it called, i want to learn how to crochet n quilt too also to embroder n to knit so any help would be so greatful for . If i can find the name i can look it up to learn how to do it , just want to make one of these squares they look so nice . love to you all Cheyenne XXX

    • sbranch says:

      You can Google, how to Crochet. Or go to a local yarn store where they often have free lessons for things.

      • Cheyenne Renard says:

        Thank you sweet girl , i will def go to the library or go online to a local yarn shop or even Joanns or Michaels . Here in Henderson area of Las Vegas , most ppl dont do too much crafting they usually go to the casinos or to movies, the weather here is usually very nice after Feb that ppl go outdoors n dont stay in to craft or to even sew i have to check out where to do as i def want to teach seniors at the homes to make sm things to make them happy. I am going to do it for free,and since i used to have my licence in hair n nails i plan to go to do there nails n get a chance to hold there hand n chat . Human touch is one of the best ways to help any one and to paint there nails so they look pretty n can see it daily. It will make me so happy too , to know i have given some thing to some one who might never get visitors or family has forgotten them. So any tips or ideas for me to do for the senior homes let me know ok love to you all , love Jack n kitty girl too love Cheyenne XXX

    • Cheyenne Renard says:

      If you know the name of that square crochet , that would be great . Thank you Sue i would appreciate ur help . I also want to learn to quilt badly and get a new machine too i want a Bernina so bad , just the sm one probley the beginning one that would be the least expensive one too . Love to you both n fur babies. I love Downton Abbey i wanted to kill that guy for what he did i hope they flog him n the word gets out that he is a rapist n woman beater. I know that Julian will get him for us for sure . XXX my brothers name is Julian Joseph nice name my mum was auzzie she was so creative , now she is in Heaven with the Lord helping him with things i miss her so much her name is Heather Sherwood , my sisters name is Casandra that is unique for the day besides my name Cheyenne Casandra and Julian. My sons name is Ashley named after gone with the wind. love to you all Cheyenne XXX my sisters name n my brothers i gave u all three

    • Cheyenne Renard says:

      If you know the name of that square crochet , that would be great . Thank you Sue i would appreciate ur help . I also want to learn to quilt badly and get a new machine too i want a Bernina so bad , just the sm one probley the beginning one that would be the least expensive one too . Love to you both n fur babies. I love Downton Abbey i wanted to kill that guy for what he did i hope they flog him n the word gets out that he is a rapist n woman beater. I know that Julian will get him for us for sure . XXX my brothers name is Julian Joseph nice name my mum was auzzie she was so creative , now she is in Heaven with the Lord helping him with things i miss her so much her name is Heather Sherwood , my sisters name is Casandra that is unique for the day besides my name Cheyenne Casandra and Julian. My sons name is Ashley named after gone with the wind. love to you all Cheyenne XXX my sisters name n my brothers i gave u all three

  14. Cheyenne Renard says:

    I would love to know the name of the wooden trivet i dont know what they call it, I wonder if they still make these i love the old ways . Thank you again Love to you XXX

  15. Annette McD says:

    This is the second time in two days that I have run across a recipe for Hot Milk Cake. I have to accept this as a sign from the heavens that I must try out this recipe, a recipe I haven’t heard of until yesterday and now again today. I am getting out my sifter.

  16. patricia morgan says:

    I got a warm feeling reading this blog. First of all, I was a first grade teacher and one of our literature studies was the life and books of Beatrix Potter. We had such fun with her and my six year olds always enjoyed pictures of her home and stories about her “real” life.
    Second, one of my mother-in-law’s wonderful “gifts” to us was her grandmother’s recipe for Hot Milk Cake. It is wickedly delicious and I (and now my daughter) made it only for special occasions. I can taste it now. It was served with a hot butterscotch sauce made with brown sugar. MMM-good.
    I’m new to your blog and have enjoyed visiting. My good friend, Judi, introduced you to me. Thank you. I look forward to visiting often.

  17. Patti Weiss says:

    I’ve been making my mom’s recipe for hot milk cake for about 35 years — since I was 2. 😀
    My mom creams together a mixture of softened butter, brown sugar, coconut and orange zest, thinned with a little milk and then spread on top and broiled to toast. Thanks for everything you do…you’re a warm spot of sunshine on a grey Winter’s day, just delightful!

  18. Eileen M Foley says:

    Thank you for posting this a while ago. I was looking for a ‘simple’ yet delicious dessert for Valentine’s day today and all that kept coming to me was my Nana’s “hot milk cake”. I couldn’t find the recipe!! You came to the rescue.
    She made it in a round pan, cut it in half when cooled and spread it with homemade raspberry preserves. Your recipe met my need for simple and it was very delicious.
    My husband reminded me I used this recipe as the base for my pineapple upside cake and peach ‘kuchen’ when I baked when my 4 sons were very young. They now have young children. When I make the pineapple upside down cake, I doubled the recipe and used a copper-bottom skillet, melting butter in the bottom with brown sugar, placing the pineapples in circles (with or without cherries your choice) and then pouring the batter over all. I baked at about 350 for 45 minutes or longer. When it was still warm I would turn out on a very large platter (I only used it for this cake) and fix any areas that stuck. It was always a hit for the non-ending sports dinners. I’m so happy I found your blog, I know I will be back! Unfortunately I can’t find many of my old recipes. As a military family we have moved so many times they have been lost over the years. If only we had the internet and computers to save those long lost files.
    Most sincerely,

    • sbranch says:

      I have lots of homey recipes like Hot Milk Cake at the top of my blog where it says “Home Cooking” ..maybe some of them will look familiar to you.

  19. Susan, I found this recipe in your book {which I am enjoying immensely!} last week and decided to make it for my family Friday evening. It was a tremendous hit, and disappeared immediately. Saturday, my 10 year old asked if she could make another one! Well, who am I to turn down a child who is learning to bake? (smile) We made another together, only this time we doubled it in a larger pan! Oh my.
    It’s so simple to make, and just SO yummy. I’m really glad I have three kids to help me eat it!
    I’ve just arrived at Knole with you in the book and can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this adventure. Thank you so much for sharing it!


    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy to hear that — that cake is perfect to eat while in Knole! Also perfect learning material for ten year old bakers! xoxo

  20. Janet Johansen says:

    Hi. I was looking for origin of hot milk cake and came across this blog. I make a coffee cake for our morning fellowship at church every other month or so, and until today I did not realize it was a regional recipe! We live in Florida now. I’ve always gotten compliments on the cake, and I asked just about all our women at church if they were familiar with hot milk cake. Only one other lady, and that is my friend from MD, as am I. When I make this, I double it, putting in a jelly roll pan (to get more servings). Before baking I drizzle melted better then a combination of sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg over top. When cooled, I drizzle a glaze over top. This is always a hit. I’m tempted to try it GF as well, the texture reminds me of a favorite GF lemon cake, needing no icing at all. I use a raspberry glaze on top of that. Thank you for all these marvelous suggestions!

  21. Mary Esther Provencio says:

    Hi! Hot milk cake is a recipe I found in a cookbook when my children were small; for years, it was our Friday night dessert, frosted with chocolate frosting. It was a small cake, baked in my brownie pan. Since I no longer use a cookbook, I googled the cake and found your blog. How cute your blog is! Much work has gone into this one recipe! Love it! My cake is in the oven, and I will frost it with some canned fudge frosting, for old times’ sake. Thank you again for a trip down memory lane!

  22. Darlene says:

    I grew up on hot milk cake and began making this for my own family. My mom made a brown sugar caramel sauce to spoon on top ~ served warm. As my husband is not a fan of sugary sauces I now add 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a cup of coconut ~ very satisfying dessert.

  23. Anna Young says:

    Dear Susan Branch,
    My mother and I have been very eager to try this cake after reading your extremely enjoyable book A Fine Romance! Thank you for bringing us along on your trip across the pond to Jolly Ole England! We can not wait to taste this piece of English Goodness. I am Lactose intolerant and there for I am using Organic Valley lactose free everything !
    P.S Also letting our beautiful Siamese Cat ( Rabby) watch !

  24. Rayana says:

    Susan I can’t thank you enough for this very delicious recipe I made it long time ago and I forgot to thank you❤️❤️ Whenever I’m in doubt I’ll make it. Thank you again❤️

  25. Conchita says:

    mmm, I can almost smell it, gotta make me some of that Milk Cake!

  26. Helen Smith says:

    Thank you for the recipe. I know I must have it in one of your books but now I am going to try it

  27. Gail connelly says:

    Anxious to try the milk cake, I know it will be great with a nice pot of tea.

  28. Marianne says:

    This cake is awesome! Making it for the Downton girls when we meet on Sunday evening for tea and DVDs of Downton Abbey! Thanks so much Susan. You are the best. Happy Spring!,

  29. Suzanne says:

    I read your recipe for Hot Milk Cake yesterday and made it immediately for a get together with friends last night. What a fabulous tasting cake and so light and beautiful. I frosted it with caramel frosting and we all loved it. Thank you so much for posting the recipe! After baking cakes for 45 plus years, this one goes to the top!

  30. Susan Swartz says:

    Love your blog, Susan! I am definitely going to make your hot milk cake recipe. My mother always made it when I was growing up as it was my grandmother’s recipe. Delicious! I never could find that recipe so I am happy to have this one that is so similar. Happy Spring! We are anxiously waiting for it in Maine.

  31. Suzan says:

    I made this for Easter! Made a recipe and a half (teenage boys) and it worked perfectly in an 8×11 pan. Delicious!

  32. bella says:

    i have been searching for a hot milk cake recipe for what seems like forever (I have found some yes but none that “looked” like my mom’s version) my mom made it all the time and when she passed away in 2007 i could not find the recipe. I have many happy memories baking this cake with her as a child, thank you very much!!!!! oh and does anyone know how to make it a chocolate cake? my mother used to remove some of the flour and add cocoa powder….does this seem correct?

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe one of our Girlfriends will know . . . I haven’t tried it and wouldn’t want to guess. I think you’re on the right track . . . I saw THIS on the Internet ~ very informative, but I think you would need to experiment to get it just right. Be sure to write down what you do so you’ll know in case it turns out wonderful the first time! And good luck!

  33. Beverley Evans says:

    I love to see that I have an email from you! Your words, letters, pictures, and stories inspire me to try new recipes and live a simpler life. The Hot Milk Cake reminds of days spent with my Grandmother, Hope Brown, in her kitchen. My kitty, Fern, is a traveling cat, as she goes with me when my husband and I travel with our camper to visit National Parks!
    Thank you for sharing your life stories!

    • sbranch says:

      I wish my cats were trained for travel! They would be heaven here with us, but we’re checking into different hotels all the time . . . a camper would be the way to go! I love your grandmother’s name, Hope Brown!

  34. Anne Harned says:

    I have my Mother’s (born in 1910) recipe for Hot Milk Cake. It’s similar to yours. With a few differences. I make this always for my Strawberry short Cake. Bake and split in half. Pile on the whipped cream and berries. Top with remaining half of cake. Pile on more whipped cream and more berries. Eat away.
    2 eggs 3/4 cup of sugar Mix on medium high with electric mixer.
    In separate bowl mix together 1 C. flour with 1 1/4 tsp baking powder .
    Add to egg mixture and mix till smooth. Be sure to scrape sides of bowl. Mix till smooth
    Heat 1/2 cup Milk with 2 Tabs. butter to almost boiling. (Nice and hot)
    Combine the mixtures together. Mix until smooth.
    Bake in 8 inch buttered and floured pan.
    350 deg. for 30 min. (light brown and tests clean with a toothpick)

  35. Flower Princess~Erika Laing says:

    Oh yummy! 😍🍰☕️

  36. Kathy Landes says:

    Regarding the wood trivet. My husband made one for me some time ago and I use it constantly. Can you substitute regular vanilla in place of the vanilla bean? I also have a cake that is very similar called Lazy Day cake. Love your blog – always a bright spot in any day.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know why you couldn’t use regular vanilla. I would try it, it certainly wouldn’t ruin it! Thank you Kathy!

  37. Jan Martin says:

    This does sound like a winner! Will be making this for the upcoming weekend. Maybe I’ll do your short ribs again to go with it….my mouth is watering🍴
    It was a TREAT to meet you at Apple Farm this past weekend. The time went much too fast. I have been a fan for a very long time & love when your blog & Willard arrives😍
    Blessings to you & Joe❤️

  38. Deborah says:

    It sounds heavenly! Just the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea in one of my Emma Bridgewater mugs. Thank you, Susan!

  39. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    It sounds heavenly! Just the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea in one of my Emma Bridgewater mugs. Thank you, Susan!

  40. Joanne says:

    Love your books, recipes, and especially your rose chintz china!

  41. Lindy munday says:

    So wet and gloomy here in No. Ca. just what I need. The weather is playing havoc with my arthritis.
    Love the stove just like my mom had and learned to cook on.

  42. Sharon C. says:

    Simple and perfect!!!

  43. Andrea Geary says:

    Sounds lovely… I must try this at weekend! Love old recipes thanks you for sharing! 🐇🌻🐰

  44. Clare in Maryland says:

    Love hot milk cake. My grandmother and mother and now I have all made it as a simple dessert for family gatherings. However, we also put Almond flavoring in ours.

  45. Pati says:

    Oh my word, I can’t believe I found this recipe. It is wonderful and it truly does melt in your mouth. This is just like my grandmother used to make us after school, I couldn’t get home fast enough when I knew she was making it. Thank you so much!!!!!

  46. Linda Miller says:


    Thanks for the recipe. Proving that “less is more,” and “simple” can be exquisitely delicious!

  47. Diane V. says:

    Oh, my gosh! This sounds wonderful! I love simple cakes….can’t wait to try it.

  48. Laura Benthien says:

    It figures 😞 just when I finally decide to try and loose a few share a recipe I’m dying to try.
    I made your Gazpacho last week though, mmm It’s a favorite of mine!

  49. LuAnn Davis says:

    My mama used to love it when I’d make her a Hot Milk Cake! I would make two layers and frost with homemade chocolate frosting! At Easter it’s amazing frosted with a creamy white icing and topped with sweet shredded coconut! Then, of course, plain is always scrumptious with a cup of hot tea or coffee! Soo buttery and sweet….yum!

  50. Andi Geary says:

    Thanks Susan for the receipe, sometimes simple is all you need sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try it 😁💛 sending blessings to you and Joe. Regards Andi

  51. Margaret R Harke says:

    Thank you, Susan, for this recipe. I am looking forward to making it and serving it with hot chocolate on a winter’s evening.

  52. I just made this delicious little cake and immediately recognized it as my Nana’s “sponge cake” – I think an American? Swedish? take on French genoise but simpler. It’s lovely on a dark, damp, chilly November day!

    • sbranch says:

      Did double the recipe to make two layers, or did you just cut it in half? I think two layers, with a ton of whipped cream and strawberries sounds rather wonderful!

  53. Following up on my reply – I also think it’s close to “Victoria Sponge” – very Downton Abbey! Often filled with raspberry or other jam?
    And I just love your sauce!

  54. Karen says:

    On this grey, dreary, SNOWY! day in New England, Milk cake seems like the perfect answer. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to go in the kitchen right now and whip it up.

  55. Robin Ann says:

    Using this yummy cake for my red white and blue “shortcakes” for the Fourth! Celebrating with Piri Piri chicken, Matty Matheson’s slider “pattys” potato salad, coleslaw, Arnold Palmers. It’s weird but it’s ok.

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