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Really good chocolate pudding cake

I was thinking I'd like to make a chocolate pudding cake - you know the kind that makes its own chocolate sauce. The recipe I usually use is ok, but I always feel that it's somehow not quite killer enough. It lacks, I don't know, body or something. Anyone have a really outstanding recipe for this? The one I make has an eggless chocolate batter (made with unsweetened cocoa powder) on the bottom, then topped with a dry mixture of cocoa and sugar, and finally water is poured over everything and it's baked - forming a soft chocolate cake on top with a chocolate sauce on the bottom. I'm wondering if there's something missing - additional good chocolate? An egg? Suggestions anyone?

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  1. The key is using superior cocoa. I use Pernigotti, which you find sometimes at Williams-Sonoma or buy in bulk from chefshop.com.

    http://chefshop.com/Itemdesc.asp?Came...

    The following is my variation on the Hot Fudge Pudding recipe from vintage Betty Crocker cookbooks. I usually leave out the nuts.

    mix:
    1 cup flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp cocoa

    stir in:
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tbsp melted butter
    1 cup chopped walnuts (optional

    )

    Spread in 9" square pan.

    mix and sprinkle on top:
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup cocoa

    pour over:
    1-3/4 cups boiling water

    Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Robert, did you inadvertently leave out the sugar in the batter perhaps? My recipe is essentially the same except that I use 3/4 cup sugar (white, light-brown, or dark-brown -- it's all good, and I can't decide which variation I like best) in the batter and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted butter. It's one of my favorite desserts.

      Schokinag Dutch-processed cocoa makes it ultra-delicious.

      1. re: browniebaker

        Oops! Right you are. Another nice thing about this recipe is that you can do all but the boiling water step, cover tightly with plastic wrap, take to a party, and finish there so it's still warm.

        mix:
        1 cup flour
        3/4 cup sugar
        2 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp salt
        2 tbsp cocoa

        stir in:
        1/2 cup milk
        2 tbsp melted butter
        1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

        Spread in 9" square pan.

        mix and sprinkle on top:
        1 cup brown sugar
        1/4 cup cocoa

        pour over:
        1-3/4 cups boiling water

        Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

    2. I agree. Just use a really good cocoa. I'm afraid if you try to jimmy around with the ingredients, it would no longer be a pudding cake ... more like a brownie or something.

      2 Replies
      1. re: k_d

        'The Solution: Pudding cake is made by sprinkling brownie batter with a mixture of sugar and cocoa, then pouring hot water on top, and baking. For intense chocolate flavor, use Dutch-processed cocoa and bittersweet chocolate to make the cake layer. Finally, add instant coffee to the water that is poured over the batter to cut the sweetness of the cake. Bake slow and low to promote a nicer crust and a silky sauce. Be sure to let the cake rest for 20 to 30 minutes before eating, to allow the sauce to become pudding-like and the cake brownie-like.'

        See whether the following link to the Cooks Illustrated recipe works....

        http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recip...&

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          I've used that recipe and was going to recommend it -- easy and yummy, and impressed my friends who had never seen this kind of cake. I have used Droste cocoa.

      2. Try substituting dark brown sugar for half of the sugar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jackattack

          The recipe I use uses all brown sugar and I love it! I don't know if yours does or not Nyleve, but it's my all time favorite dessert.

        2. Here's a recipe I've been using for years, a variation on Robert's above. Not sure if it has the body you're looking for, but I make it a lot. Comes together in about five minutes and it always seems to make my friends (and me) happy.

          1 C. flour
          3/4 C. sugar (I usually use dark brown)
          2 T. cocoa powder (I'm in with those who say, use the best you can find/afford, but Hershey's does fine)
          2 t. baking soda
          1/2 t. salt

          Stir all that dry stuff together.
          Then add:

          1/2 C. skim milk
          2 T. veg oil
          1 t. vanilla

          Mix by hand until smooth. Splash in a little more milk if it seems too thick to pour into 8" square pan.

          In that same now-scraped-out bowl, mix:
          3/4 C. brown sugar
          1/4 C. cocoa
          1 3/4 C. hot water

          Pour over the back of a spoon onto the batter.
          Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

          And if you make it, tell me what you think.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Sassafras

            Your recipe is almost identical to mine. I think mine has a bit more oil, baking powder instead of baking soda (?!?) and slightly more cocoa.

            Here is what I plan to do (tonight): use melted butter instead of veg. oil, add a few semisweet chocolate chips to the top and use cold coffee instead of water. I'm making a double recipe in a large baking dish. Hope it works. Will post results.

            1. re: Sassafras

              Mine is really similar to this except you mix the brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle that over the batter, and then pour the hot water over the top, but you don't mix that. It's got to be one of my easiest desserts but one of my favorites too.

              1. re: Sassafras

                i've never had chocolate pudding cake before, but it's so easy i'm definitely going to try this recipe! but how do you know when it is done? should it be served right away or cooled first?

                1. re: auberginegal

                  It will look like a cake on top, but when you scoop into it, you get this warm, gooey chocolate pudding too! I like it best warm with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, (the ice cream melts pretty fast, but so good) but I've been known to eat it standing at the fridge too!

                  Edited to add: I mentioned on the easy baked goods for a bake sale thread that Snickerdoodles are one of those things I bake when I don't have a lot of ingredients on hand... this chocolate pudding cake is another one of those recipes as well.

                  1. re: auberginegal

                    Like I said above, you should let it cool 15 minutes before serving. The stuff is molten lava when it comes out of the oven.

                    If I had to make it with Hershey's or some other bland cocoa I'd use coffee instead of boiling water.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I only have Fry's cocoa - a Canadian brand. So I'm going with the coffee.

                  2. re: Sassafras

                    so I made this recipe over the weekend. It was indeed really quick and easy.

                    I think I baked it too long though. I checked it at around 40min and the top was quite cracked. Due to the overbaking, the edges were a bit tough and too chewy, and it was more cake than pudding, but I'd give it another try. I had Drost cocoa that I bought in the Netherlands, so not sure how the taste might change if I used something else.

                  3. Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake Report:

                    So, I made it. I used regular Fry's Cocoa Powder, melted butter instead of vegetable oil and coffee instead of water. I sprinkled semisweet chocolate chips on top before baking. It turned out perfectly, for what it's worth. The cake was glossy and dark over a gooey pool of chocolate sauce that formed underneath. I served it with vanilla ice cream and, well, everyone loved it.

                    Except me.

                    I guess I just don't like it that much. The sauce lacks body, even though it is dark and chocolatey. There's, I don't know, just something missing. It feels unfinished. Not creamy. Not decadent at all - just sweet and dark. It definitely needed the ice cream. I'll keep it in my repertoire for when I need an extremely easy, seemingly extravagant dessert - something to serve a pile of people quickly and cheaply. But when I serious chocolate therapy, I'll look elsewhere.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Nyleve

                      Was it the Cook's Illustrated recipe you used?
                      If not, do you get the feeling that their recipe might be better...worse?

                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                        Actually it was my own recipe - I mean, one that I stole from somewhere a long time ago. The original is made with veg. oil, not butter and contains nuts. I omitted the nuts, subbed butter for oil and added chocolate chips. I wasn't able to get my mitts on the CI recipe.

                        But I do think that it's me, not the recipe. It's probably a mouthfeel thing, rather than flavour. The sauce is thick enough - although thinner, of course, when first taken out of the oven. But it's more a matter of a non-velvetiness. I don't know - can't really describe it. I think I'm missing cream or egg or something. Will stick to other sweets unless feeding my son's film crews - they'll vacuum up anything.

                        1. re: Nyleve

                          Might I suggest it's fat you're missing? The first think I noticed about these recipes is that they are amazingly low fat. I'm going to make one right away...I have kind-of conditioned myself to like low fat dessert, but sometimes you do notice the absence of butter.

                      2. re: Nyleve

                        I see your point, Nyleve. The sauce does come out of the oven on the thin side (though I notice that by the time I go back for seconds, and certainly the next day, the pudding does thicken up). I think of it as a sort of chocolate dumpling.
                        Thanks for reporting back on your variations.

                        1. re: Nyleve

                          Thank you for reporting back. I think perhaps you might need an egg or egg yolk and more butter to get the mouthfeel you wish. In her book _Nigella Eats_, Nigella Lawson has a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding that is a pudding-cake but uses one egg in the cake batter and butter in the sauce (by dotting butter on the sprinkled-on brown sugar before pouring on hot water); that recipe could be adapted to a chocolate pudding-cake by substituting white sugar for brown and adding 2 to 4 tablespoons cocoa.

                          I think part of the appeal to me of the pudding-cake that has no egg and has just a little oil or butter in it is that (1) it does not have a lot of fat in it and yet tastes so good and (2) that I can make it with pantry staples even when I'm out of eggs.

                          1. re: browniebaker

                            Here's Nigella's version of chocolate pudding cake (in Britspeak, "chocolate sauce pudding," which includes two eggs:

                            http://www.nigella.com/recipes/recipe...

                        2. Paula Dean on the food network~ (foodtv.com) has good individual molten lava cakes that I've always been happy with.

                          1. Thank you, Robert! I'm going to want to try this way of using grated chocolate in the sauce.