Chocolate Pudding Cake
Updated 13th September 2023
This hot fudge pudding cake is an easy dessert that uses simple ingredients and requires very little prep time. It’s also vegan adaptable. A warm chocolate pudding cake with a hidden layer of chocolate fudge sauce! Serve it up in individual dishes or even right from the baking dish like we always do. It’s such an old fashion or vintage decadent and cozy dessert that everyone loves. It’s so easy to make - all you need is a bowl and whisk - no need to pull out the electric mixer for this one. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream! This is a fun dessert to make with kids as it s so easy to whip up and it’s a great recipe for camping as well - we have made this right on the grill - simply pre-measure and bag all your dry ingredients then put it all together and pop on to the grill and wait for the magic to happen!
What is Chocolate Pudding Cake?
Is it Chocolate Cobbler, Pudding Cake, or self saucing pudding? It can be either depending on what it’s called in your part of the world. From the names you can tell it’s a rich chocolatey dessert that features two delicious layers that form while baking. Chocolate cake on top and creamy chocolate pudding sauce on the bottom. Regardless of what you call it, it’s one irresistible dessert. Despite the name of the recipe this version does not require any kind of pudding mix - it’s all from scratch and so easy to make.
Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe Ingredients:
- SUGAR: White sugar is best, but you can also use brown sugar, or coconut sugar.
- ALL PURPOSE FLOUR: Either plain flour or a good quality 1-1 all purpose gluten-free flour.
- COCOA POWDER: Use a good quality cocoa powder, or a good dutch-process cocoa powder for a more intense chocolate flavor. If you enjoy dark and rich desserts, use dark cocoa powder. A dark cocoa powder will yield a rich and bitter-sweet chocolate flavoured pudding. A normal unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s unsweetened, will yield a milder chocolate flavoured pudding. You will taste the difference.
- BAKING POWDER: Gives some rise to the pudding.
- SALT: Brings out the sweetness and balances the flavors
- MILK: I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk will work fine.
- BUTTER: Unsalted is what I used. Vegan butter or margarine can also be used or even vegetable oil.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: A must for any good chocolate dessert! For a variation you could use almond extract or even orange extract for a chocolate orange version or peppermint extract for a chocolate mint version
- OPTIONAL ADD INS: Fee free to add some spices to this chocolate pudding - like cinnamon or a pinch of chili powder for some extra flavour or I like to add ½ teaspoon of espresso powder to the dry ingredients too which enhances the cocoa flavour. You can also add some chopped walnuts or even chocolate chips to the batter - ½ cup of either. For another variation - you can use a flavoured cocoa powder too (vanilla infused or even reishi infused) just ensure that it is unsweetened otherwise this cake will be overly sweet.
For the Fudge Sauce
- GRANULATED SUGAR & BROWN SUGAR: A combination of white sugar and darker sugar ensures a rich, thick, and sweet fudge sauce.
- COCOA POWDER: As above.Use a good quality cocoa powder, or a good dutch-process cocoa powder for a more intense chocolate flavor.
- HOT WATER: This will be carefully poured all over the pudding cake, which once baked, will seep to the bottom. Once you break into the cooked pudding cake, it will rise and add a layer of warm, creamy fudge sauce. If you are feeling adventurous and want to add more flavour - use hot coffee or hot tea - chai, earl grey or mint would be a nice flavour combo with the chocolate
- MORE VARIATIONS: As I mentioned above you can add some espresso powder to the cake ingredients to add more depth to the Cocoa flavours. Toss in a handful of toasted walnuts, hazelnuts, or sliced almonds into the batter. Add maraschino cherries on top, or add a swirl of peanut butter or nutella through the batter before baking!
How To Make a Chocolate Pudding Cake (full instructions in recipe card below)
- Start by whisking the topping ingredients together then set aside
- Then prepare the chocolate cake: combine, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk the milk, butter and vanilla together then add to the chocolate cake ingredients and mix until combined
- Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased baking pan.
- Sprinkle sugar and cocoa powder topping over the top of the batter. DO NOT STIR.
- Gently pour boiling water evenly over the cake batter (this is what will form the sauce). DO NOT STIR.
- Carefully transfer to the oven and bake.
- While baking, the cake will rise to the top and the pudding sauce will form on the bottom which you will be able to spoon over the cake like hot fudge sauce
- After pouring the boiling water over the cake batter do not stir or jostle the mixture. You want two distinctly separate layers, and if you mix it up it won’t bake properly.
- This cake is best served warm, shortly after being removed from the oven. When it is warm the cake is soft and tender with the optimal texture and the pudding sauce is creamy.
- Leftovers should be stored wrapped tight or in an airtight container in the fridge and individual servings should be reheated in the microwave.
- This cake is best within 1 day of baking, as the cake will absorb some of the pudding sauce over time.
- Make sure that your baking dish is at least 2 inches high. You need enough room for the sauce and the cake to bake on top of each other. You don’t want the risk of it bubbling over.
- Don’t forget the toppings – Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream and/or fresh berries or for an extra decadent dessert you can smooth over some chocolate frosting before you spoon it out - then you will have 3 irresistible layers melding together.
Make Ahead, Storage & Freezing
- MAKE AHEAD: If I’m prepping this cake ahead or wanting to bring it to a friends house - I will prepare some of it ahead. This cake is always best right out the oven so I like to pre measure and whisk the ingredients for the cake and the topping and place in containers or ziplock bags and whisk together the wet ingredients in a mason jar chilled until I’m ready to make the cake. Then it’s just a matter of mixing the batter, topping cake and pouring over hot water. It’s a great recipe you can whip up at someones house as long as you have access to their oven or grill - or also a great camping recipe too as you can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time then all you have to do is assemble everything, boil water and bake.
- STORAGE: Cooked pudding cake, once cooled down, can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave.
- FREEZING: Place cake in a freezer friendly container, and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat as directed.
- REHEATING: Either reheat the cake in the microwave (30 second spurts until warm) or in a preheated oven. The cake will be extra moist, as most of the fudge sauce will have been soaked up already. So don’t expect there to be too much of it to spoon over the cake.
For more tasty desserts like this check out these:
For the Chocolate Cake Mix
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk, room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Fudge Sauce
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1-¼ cups boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Grease a 9x9 square baking pan or an 8x12 oval, or a 10x8 rectangular baking dish with butter or cooking spray
- For the Topping: Whisk brown sugar, white sugar and cocoa in a small bowl, set aside.
- For the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the butter and milk, then the vanilla.
- Pour wet mixture into the flour or cake mixture. Mix until combined.
- Spread into baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar / cocoa topping mixture. Shake gently to spread out evenly. Do not mix it into the batter.
- Gently pour the hot water over the top of the pudding. Do not mix it into the batter.
- Carefully transfer to oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when poked lightly. The top will be a bit crusty, like the top of brownies.
- Remove from oven. Allow cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes on a wire rack.
- Serve cake warm, with ice cream if you like. Serve each slice upside-down and drizzle with pudding sauce from pan
- Cake can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave.
- Do not stir or mix the topping once sprinkled over top.
- To store: Cooked pudding cake, once cooled down, can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave.
- To freeze: Place cake in a freezer friendly container, and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat as directed.
- To reheat: Either reheat the cake in the microwave (30 second spurts until warm) or in a preheated oven. The cake will be extra moist, as most of the fudge sauce has been soaked up already. Once it is warm, it will seep some out.