Chocolate Pudding Cake

This was one of my favorite desserts when I was growing up. Mom liked it because it was easy to make, included a sauce, so no icing necessary, and it baked in about the time it took to eat dinner and do the dishes. My brother and I liked it because it was something different and, after all, what’s not to like about chocolate cake with a built-in chocolate sauce/pudding.

This is another recipe, like the Black Devil’s Food Cake, that is from the cholesterol-free baking booklet Mom had. She still has no idea where it was from or where it is now, but at least she saved these recipes. This is our fall back dessert when we want something quick that uses ingredients we have on hand.

I think I am going to experiment with using more cocoa next time. The cake didn’t taste as dark as I would like. Maybe I was just in the mood for something darker that night, or maybe the cinnamon ice cream we had with it needed a darker chocolate for contrast. I’m not saying the cake wasn’t delicious. It tasted like it always does, but if you are looking for a deep, dark chocolate – this isn’t it. It’s more of a middle-of-the-road basic chocolate. Post in the comments if you experiment with more cocoa. Or I’ll do another post for Deep Dark Chocolate Pudding Cake if I come up with something good.

Chocolate Pudding Cake
From The Cook’s Life

Serves 6-8

1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1¾ cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa. Add milk, melted butter and vanilla and stir vigorously until no dry streaks remain. Spread in greased pan.

In small bowl, mix together brown sugar and ¼ cup cocoa. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Pour hot water gently over the top. DO NOT stir.

Bake 35-40 minutes. Cake will rise to top during baking and pudding/sauce will settle to bottom. Press gently in the middle of the cake to see if it feels firm, though the whole cake will be floating on top of the sauce, so it might give a little. Just make sure the cake isn’t wet in the middle.

When done, the edges of the cake will be pulling away from the sides of the pan and the top might be cracked in spots, with sauce boiling up through the cracks.

Let the cake cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. When hot the sauce/pudding is thin. It will thicken as it cools.

Serve warm. Good with ice cream.

If you have any leftovers, briefly rewarm each serving in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before serving.

Download the recipe here.


Dessert from the Pantry – Mini Chocolate Pies

As I mentioned yesterday, Calvin spent last Friday night with my parents. They live about an hour away, and after we picked him up on Saturday I was daydreaming about dessert on the drive home (everyone daydreams about making dessert, right?). Saturday is dessert day around our house and I wanted to make something quick and easy, but different from our usual fallback of chocolate chip cookie bars or brownies.

We had part of a package of Double Stuf Oreos in the pantry. I figured it was just about enough to make crusts in my four mini pie pans. We always have the ingredients for Microwave Chocolate Pudding. And if “someone” (Rich) ran to the store for cream to whip, we would be all set for Mini Chocolate Pies.

Here is the method, with links to the chocolate pudding recipe:

Crush, or grind in a food processor, about a third of a package of Oreos. We had Double Stufs, but I think regular ones would have been better. The extra filling made the crust just a little too sweet, and you could see the flecks of white filling. Rich and Calvin thought it was just fine, though.

If you don’t have mini pie pans, you could probably do this in a regular 9-inch pie plate or small casserole dish. You might need more Oreos, or you could just press the crumbs in the bottom and not worry about going up the sides.

Press the crumbs into the pie pan(s). The cookie filling takes the place of butter or sugar in the crusts and holds the crumbs together. I first saw this on “America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS several years ago, so I can’t take credit for the method.

Bake the crust(s) in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Stay in the kitchen and let your nose tell you when they are done – they will smell chocolatey and sweet. You can’t tell by the color, because the crumbs are so dark in the first place. These go from just done to burnt in seconds – I rescued mine just in time.  Let the crusts cool on a rack while you make the pudding. We used Microwave Chocolate Pudding, but any pudding will work.

Pour the pudding into the crust(s) and lay plastic wrap directly on the pudding surface to avoid a skin on top. Place in the fridge to cool.

We took the lazy route and got whipped cream in a can. Feel free to whip your own. Top the pies just before serving. Garnish with a few chopped chocolate chips or chocolate shavings, and maraschino cherries (Rich’s choice), if you like.

These are best the same day, or at most the next day, if they last that long.

Dessert in Five Minutes


There are always going to be days when you NEED dessert. And those times are invariably when you have nothing in the house to bake with. Or you don’t have the time or the energy to make even cookie bars and deal with washing those dishes. Microwave Chocolate Pudding to the rescue!

There is, of course, a story. Rich and I were looking at chocolate pudding mix once in Wild Oats (that dates us, they have long since been swallowed up by Whole Foods), and wondering what made the pudding “health food.” The ingredients were cocoa, evaporated cane juice (otherwise known as sugar?) and cornstarch. That started us thinking about what Jell-O pudding was. Sure enough, the ingredients on the side of a box of cook and serve chocolate pudding were sugar, cocoa and cornstarch, along with dextrose and a few thickeners. We wondered why we were bothering to buy pudding mix (especially with the extra ingredients), when we had cocoa, sugar and cornstarch at home.

Lo and behold, we found this recipe in a book we already had and even better, it was a microwave recipe. So it’s quick, it only dirties one bowl, which is also the serving bowl, and it is the deepest, darkest chocolate pudding you have ever eaten. We haven’t bought pudding mix since.

The original recipe came from a Cooking Light cookbook. The only change I made to the ingredients was to double the vanilla. I did revise the directions a bit to make them a little more precise. Without further ado…


Microwave Chocolate Pudding
Adapted by The Cook’s Life
from “The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook”

 6 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ cups 2% milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a 1-quart glass bowl and stir well with a whisk to break up all the lumps. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Microwave mixture, uncovered, at 100% power for 90 seconds. Stir well. Microwave at 100% power for another 90 seconds. Stir well. Microwave at 70% power for 60-90 seconds, or until thick. Watch closely so it doesn’t boil over. Add vanilla and mix well. Pudding will thicken more as it cools. Let cool a bit before serving warm, or cover and chill. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the hot pudding if you don’t like the skin that forms as it cools.

Makes 3-4 servings.

* Works really well with skim milk, with no other changes to the recipe, but 2% tastes better, of course. Go all out and use whole milk if you have it.

 Download recipe here.