Yum! I was sold on this recipe the moment Nicole Weston posted it on Slashfood a week ago. Its most obvious appeal is the combination of warm moist chocolate cake and hot, fudgy pudding. But its virtues go far beyond that. Not only are the ingredients all so basic that we just have them in the kitchen anyway, but there was a conspicuous lack of butter, cream, eggs, etc…all things that usually scare me away from making desserts. Yes, there was a little oil (3 tbsp, precisely) and quite a bit of sugar, but overall, the ingredients looked decidedly healthier than your average dessert. And if that wasn’t enough, the designated dishwashers of the world (usually me, in our house) will rejoice over the fact that this sweet little morsel is mixed in the very dish it’s baked in. Just one dish and a few measuring cups and spoons to wash- hallelujah! What a refreshing change!
I decided to keep our Valentine’s Day dessert a surprise and when Dylan wanted to pitch in, I told him to just make up a batch of any flavor of ice cream that would complement chocolate. He decided on pistachio (funny how it’s not distinctive minty green when you make it yourself!) and set it up to churn while the cake finished baking. When I finally whipped dessert out with a flourish, declaring “Chocolate pudding cake is served!” I was met with a perplexed stare and an “Isn’t that the cake I made when we were in Boston last fall?” Whoops!
Dylan had already made what was nearly the same recipe from a fairly ridiculous book called Puddings: A to Z, with one for each letter of the alphabet. This was their U entry- Upside down hot fudge sponge cake, I believe. And not only had he already made it, but he had just blogged it the other day, though he hadn’t actually put the post up. (He seems to have remedied that oversight and put it up this morning on Dylan’s Outlet while I lingered in bed.) But I have to say, while the version from Puddings A to Z was good, the version from Slashfood was downright delicious…it was warm, rich, and lick-your-plate gooey. In fact it was inordinately, shockingly good in light of the minimal time and effort it demands. A great recipe for when you want to impress but are short on time.
Incidentally, I just realized that Nicole Weston (who originally posted this recipe on Slashfood) is also the genius behind one of my favorite blogs, bakingsheet. Check it out for delectable-looking treats that could satisfy any sweet tooth.
Chocolate Pudding Cake (serves 6-8)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided in half
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water, boiling
2 tsp instant coffee/espresso powder (you can substitute regular coffee for the boiling water-instant coffee mixture)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt in an 8 inch square baking pan, stirring with a fork to combine. Pour in the milk and oil, and stir again with the fork until batter is uniform.
2. Sprinkle brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup cocoa evenly over batter. Stir vanilla extract and instant coffee powder into the hot water, then pour the mixture over everything. Do not mix.
3. Place pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until surface of the cake looks dry. The pudding will be bubbling around the edges of the pan. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.