When it comes to special desserts these days, I’m into EASY. But I’m not willing to compromise on taste, so it’s got to be EASY and GOOD. And because Valentine’s Day is in two days, it’s also got to be HOT.
And seriously, why can’t HOT, EASY, and GOOD go together?
There are three components to this somewhat odd and altogether wonderful chocolate pudding cake: thick chocolate batter, sugar and cocoa topping, and near boiling liquid poured over the whole thing.
The liquid combines with the undissolved sugars and cocoa to make a sauce, which sinks to the bottom of the cake. What you end up with is a moist, tender layer of chocolate cake on the top and a fudgy “pudding” on the bottom. The combination of the two textures is sublime.
Now, you will find oodles of recipes for this American standard on the web. It’s an All-American standard. To get a sense of the potential range of the key ingredients, I did a little research and put together a recipe grid (using 1 cup of flour as the constant) for a dozen of the best looking examples.
The amount of cocoa for the cake differed rather dramatically from one example to the next–from 1 tablespoon to 2/3 cup. The sweetness level of the fudgy sauce was extreme for my palate, from 2/3 cup to 1¼ cups total sugar to ¼ cup cocoa. I tested an example in the middle of the range and found it uninspiring and WAY TOO SWEET.
So I dove in, shifted proportions of the key ingredients, added a little Latin flavor, and tested it again. Because the concept is too good to shove into the “never going to make it again” folder.
Everyone, including me, needs a fast and easy chocolate dessert that knocks eaters’ socks off. A dessert that is both comforting and inspiring. And memorable. This is it.
Mexicano Chocolate Pudding Cake (Fast & Easy)
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. There’s nothing especially pretty about this cake as it comes out of the oven, and you can’t cut it into pieces to serve it. There, I said it. Instead, scoop it with a large spoon and arrange as best you can in a dessert bowl, making sure that both cake and saucy “pudding” are both showing. It’s meant to look down-home and ooey, gooey inviting.
You’re going to love the flavor though: intensely chocolate, with espresso, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla notes. And the layers of alternating texture, cakey and fudgy, are divine.
Since this cake is quite rich, serve with whipped cream or better yet, premium vanilla ice cream to add contrast.
1 cup (4½ ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup natural-process, unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Mexican ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup whole or 2% milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
Topping (makes 3/4 cup)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup natural-process, unsweetened cocoa
1¼ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons instant espresso or Starbuck’s Via instant coffee
softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream
premium vanilla ice cream
dusting of Mexican cinnamon, optional
- To prepare the oven, position a rack in the middle of the oven, and heat oven to 350°F.
- To prepare the pan, lightly butter a 9-inch square ceramic or metal baking pan. (Alternatively, butter five, 1-cup capacity oven-proof ramekins.)
- To prepare the cake batter, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk in milk, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth.
- Scrape the batter into prepared baking pan (or divide among ramekins) and level with a small offset spatula. The batter will be quite thick.
- To prepare the topping, in a mixing bowl, whisk sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, and instant espresso. Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter. (For ramekins, sprinkle a generous 2 tablespoons of topping over each one. Set ramekins on an edged baking sheet.)
- In the boiling water, dissolve instant espresso. Pour liquid evenly over the cake. Do not stir the batter! (For ramekins, use about ¼ cup of liquid per ramekin. Don’t overfill.)
- Place cake pan or sheet of ramekins on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The center of the cake or ramekins should look almost set on the top, and jiggle just a little when the pan is shaken gently. If the batter moves like a lava flow under the surface of the cake, continue baking for a few minutes.
- Remove cake from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- To serve, scoop portions of warm cake onto dessert dishes (or leave in ramekins), and top with whipped cream or ice cream. Dust with cinnamon if desired. Leftover cake can be rewarmed in the microwave.
More Luscious Cakes from LunaCafe
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Butter Cake
- Chocolate Almond Pound Cake
- Chocolate Ginger Chipotle Stout Cake
- Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf & 3 Variations
- Spicy Chocolate, Banana & Fresh Ginger Tea Loaf
- Warm-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Positively Splendid: Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe
- Baking Bites: Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Savory Sweet Life: Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Two Chics and a Blog: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
Copyright 2014 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.