If you’re planning to bake a cake for your next holiday party, Baked by Melissa founder Melissa Ben-Ishay has just the trick to impress your friends.
The baker and cookbook author recently stopped by People Now for National Cupcake Day to reveal some of her best tips for baking at home—and one of them is so easy you won’t believe you haven’t thought of it before.
“One of my favorite recipes in Cakes By Melissa, my cookbook that came out this fall, is the hot cocoa cake with hot cocoa icing and glaze and, of course, a cake,” Ben-Ishay says. “The whole book is about starting with one base recipe and adding your favorite ingredients to gear the cake towards what you love to eat.”
Ben-Ishay says to add a chocolate flavor to your cake, start with a vanilla cake base, add a little cocoa powder and then about a half cup of your favorite hot cocoa mix.
“Adding the hot cocoa mix makes it taste like a cup of hot cocoa,” she says. “I love the bottom of the mug — that goo — and that’s what you get when you make the cake with the hot cocoa mix and especially pairing it with the icing.”
WATCH THIS: ‘Baked By Melissa’ Founder Melissa Ben-Ishay Shares Her Tips on Icing Cupcakes Like a Pro
The entrepreneur also shared a little bit on her background and how she developed her famous cupcake business: “I was actually working in advertising and baking my tie-dye cupcakes for everyone and anyone, and then I was fired so I went home and I baked 250 cupcakes, four batches. I knew I needed to take control of my own happiness.”