Pat’s Chocolate Pudding Cake

My stepmother has been baking a lot. She’s always been an avid cook, but lately she’s been cranking out sweets. She even made my almond toffee for the first time, which was a big deal because until now it was my signature contribution to holiday get togethers. Our joke is that I can now shove it off to her, which is a good thing because my dad and stepbrothers are crazy for it. So I’m loving my stepmom’s baking as of late and am happy we’re swapping recipes.

This is a recipe Pat gave me the other day. She finds most cakes too dry, so I wasn’t surprised she recommended this combination of pudding and cake known for it’s ease and convenience. You pour all the ingredients in the pan in the order listed, bake for 40 minutes, and what you get is a rich hot fudge sauce (pudding) topped with a brownie-like cake.

I made this last night and it was a big hit even though I forgot to buy ice cream. Todd loved it and Fuzz and her friend (who were having a vegan dessert– another story) were fascinated with it and asked if we could try a vegan version. With no eggs in the recipe, I’m sure it would work. But here’s the recipe we used last night.

By the way, I think chocolate pudding cake might be the most difficult to dessert to photograph — or at least when you don’t have any ice cream in the house! I did my best to model this with some strawberries, but it’s a good reminder that the key to serving this is nice serving dishes, a good baking dish and ice cream. This is not one you turn out of the pan.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Pat’s Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups boiling hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan. I used metal, but glass is prettier.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.

Combine the milk, butter, and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until combined (don’t beat). Scrape batter into the pan.

Mix the remaining sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder together and sprinkle over the top. Pour the boiling water over all. Set on center rack and bake 35-45 minutes.


— I don’t know where Pat got this particular recipe, but most are similar with varying amounts of sugar. Now that I’ve tried this one, I am going to compare it to a few others.

— I used Hershey’s cocoa powder. This is perfect for showcasing the best you have, but any brand will work.

— A little espresso powder added in with the dry ingredients would be a nice touch (I didn’t have any)

— The cake thickens as it sits. It is kind of soupy straight out of the oven, but by day two it’s thick and you can eat it cold or reheat it.

— Good vanilla ice cream is highly recommended!

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  1. says

    I used to make chocolate pudding cake all the time back in the 80’s and I loved it! This recipe looks a little better than the ones I used because it calls for some butter. My recipes were really low fat, but the ice cream made up for that. πŸ™‚

  2. CindyD says

    This was my favorite cake years ago. I have recipes for it in 8 inch pan, 13×9 inch pan and for two servings if you’re interested. And did you know there’s a lemon version too?

  3. Louise says

    I have a great lemon version that I occasionally make. It works well in individual ramekins too. I’ll send it to you.

  4. says

    One of my favorite desserts! And your right, it is difficult to make it look attractive. The first time I made it for my husband, he turned up his nose. I failed to mention that it wasn’t brownies. He married me anyway.

  5. Cookies4kids says

    This was what we called “crazy cake” when I was growing up at home. My Dad could eat most of this himself and was skinny as a rail. My mother was a terrific cook and I am glad to be reminded of this recipe. I too would love the lemon version.

  6. Michele says

    I made a similar cake for a co-ed bachelor party using the Cook’s Illustrated Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe. When it was sitting out, most people thought it was a baking experiment gone horribly wrong based on how it looked in the pan. But once I served it, lots of people came back for 2nds and 3rds. So, I agree that this would be difficult to photograph.

  7. Holly says

    We love a version of this at our house too (I do it in the crockpot) and 4th the request for the lemon version!

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