Cakes/ Chocolate/ Classic Desserts/ Dessert/ easy/ Holiday/ no mixer/ quick

Chocolate Pudding Cake

June 11, 2022

This fudgy, old-fashioned chocolate pudding cake is baked with two delicious layers s: a chocolate cake and a gooey pudding-like sauce. If you love the flavor and texture of a good old chocolate pudding, then you’re going to love this cake!

Hot Fudge Chocolate Pudding Cake

I’ve been invited to a few birthdays lately, which means I had quite a few cakes to make. I took one of my mom’s old recipe notebooks and leafed through the pages to try and find some of our family’s all-time favorite sweets. Almost every recipe consisted of notes added over the years, each in a different pen color. I then came across this pudding cake that I loved as a kid. There were no notes for this recipe, and I like to believe that’s because it’s perfect.

What is pudding cake?

Pudding cakes offer two treats in one and consist of two layers – a comforting, gooey chocolate cake and a thick chocolaty sauce that tastes just like an old-fashioned chocolate pudding. This cake goes by many names: chocolate upside down cake, hot fudge pudding cake, brownie pudding cake, or self-saucing pudding cake.

Hot Fudge Chocolate Pudding Cake

How to make chocolate pudding cake

The process of making chocolate pudding cake is a bit different than other desserts, but I promise you’ll have amazing results.

The first layer is the cake batter and the second layer consists of a “dry” mixture of cocoa and sugar. We then pour hot water evenly on top and while baking (I know, it feels so wrong, but it’s what makes this cake so good), the water sinks to the bottom and creates a chocolate sauce. The cake then rises to the top creating this deliciously warm and gooey chocolate pudding cake.

Make the chocolate cake batter

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar and mix.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients. Mix together milk, butter, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Combine the two. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scrape the batter into prepared 8×8-inch pan and smooth the top.

Make the pudding sauce and bake

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cocoa powder, brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Sprinkle mixture on top of batter, making sure it coats the entire surface evenly.
  2. Pour the hot water evenly on top. Leave as-is and do not stir (I know it sounds strange, but bear with me).
  3. Bake at 350°F/180°C for 25-30 minutes, until the top is set and the cake is cracked and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.
  4. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Tip: This cake is perfect for baking in individual 6-ounce ramekins, too. For each ramekin, pour about 1/4 cup cake batter, 2 tablespoons cocoa-sugar mixture, and 3 tablespoons hot water. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Hot Fudge Chocolate Pudding Cake

Tips for making chocolate pudding cake

  • Use Dutch-processed cocoa powder: While you can use natural cocoa powder for this recipe, too, Dutch-processed cocoa powder has a richer, more complex flavor and makes the pudding cake taste much better.
  • Don’t overbake the pudding cake. Overbaking will make the cake dry. You’ll know it’s ready when the top is set and the cake is cracked and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. This pudding cake tastes incredible on it’s own, but tastes even better served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I highly recommend!

How to store

You can store the cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. To serve, reheat in microwave and top with ice cream :).

More of my favorite chocolate desserts

4.86 from 7 votes
Hot Fudge Chocolate Pudding Cake
Chocolate Pudding Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
YIELD: 8 or 9-inch square pan
 

This easy chocolate pudding cake is made of rich chocolate cake layered with warm and gooey chocolate pudding sauce. It's rich, indulgent and a guaranteed crowd pleaser!


Ingredients
Cake:
  • 3/4 cup (105g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (20g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 56g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pudding Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup (25g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (65g) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 (360 ml) cups boiling water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 8-inch square pan.*

  2. To make the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar and mix.

  3. In a small bowl, mix together milk, butter, and vanilla until combined. Pour into flour mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

  4. To make the pudding: In a small bowl, toss together cocoa powder, brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Sprinkle mixture on top of batter, making sure it coats the entire surface evenly. Pour the hot water evenly on top. Leave as-is and do not stir.

  5. If baking in an 8×8-inch pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. If baking in individual ramekins, bake for 15-20 minutes. Bake until the top is set and the cake is cracked and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not over bake or the cake will be dry. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

  6. Serve cake warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like. Serve each slice upside-down and drizzle with pudding sauce.

  7. Cake can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave.
Recipe Notes

*This cake is perfect for baking in individual 6-ounce ramekins, too. It should make enough batter for 8-9 individual portions. For each ramekin, pour about 1/4 cup cake batter, 2 tablespoons cocoa-sugar mixture, and 3 tablespoons hot water. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    December 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    This pudding cake looks amazing and absolutely perfect for chocoholics! Love it! 😀

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you Jess!

  • Reply
    Winnie
    December 16, 2014 at 7:20 am

    אין כמו מתכונ ים של אמא וסבתא – יש בהם משהו מיוחד 🙂
    וספרי לי על ימי הולדת – שיש כל כך הרבה אחיינים אז כמעט כל הזמן יש ימי הולדת 🙂
    אוהבת את העוגה הזאת!!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you Winnie! Your doughnuts are now on my to-do list, by the way 🙂

  • Reply
    Aarav Shah
    January 8, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    Where is the video?

  • Reply
    Terri C.
    March 4, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. The pudding part is too bitter from too much cocoa powder. I’ll just use half that amount next time. I used half the vanilla and it was enough. I like the combination of white and brown sugar in the pudding. The amount of cocoa and salt in the cake is perfect. I’ll make this again with some adjustments.

    • Reply
      Faye
      February 6, 2022 at 1:07 am

      Hi,
      Did you use Dutch cocoa? I would like to make this recipe but don’t know if your review is accurately based on the correct cocoa.
      Thanks for your help.
      Faye

  • Reply
    Nona
    October 3, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Could I use chocolate fudge pudding mix instead of the pudding sauce?

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      October 5, 2021 at 2:21 am

      Hi Nona, pudding mix wouldn’t work as well because you want to use a runny sort of sauce, and pudding mix contains gelatin.

  • Reply
    magda
    January 21, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    what kind of nuts and why it is not listed in the ingredients?

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      January 24, 2022 at 3:10 am

      Hi Magda, sorry about this – it’s a typo. There are no nuts in this recipe

  • Reply
    Wendi
    February 1, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Wonderful recipe. I used buttermilk. It makes everything better in baking. Did I see somewhere baking in separate ramekins.? That would change the baking time. I seem to remember 15 minutes . Is that correct?

  • Reply
    Alicia
    August 15, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Just curious…i’ll be dealing with time restrictions to make this a warm dessert but would really like to try your version. It looks absolutely delish!! Can i make this with a chocolate cake mix and then use your pudding part over that? TIA 😋

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      August 16, 2022 at 4:24 am

      Hi Alicia, yes this will work too!

  • Reply
    Orange
    October 12, 2022 at 3:58 am

    Yummy, this is one of my favorite desserts. I’m glad I found this recipe. Didn’t have whole milk so I used canned milk. That’s the only change I made. All other directions were followed an everything came out great.

  • Reply
    Joy
    October 21, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    This cake is ABSOLUTELY delicious.!!!!! I loved it when I lived in the Midwest and now introduced it to my Northeastern husband! I used vanilla bean pasted instead of vanilla extract and increased the amount from 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon. I backed it for 25 minutes but I’m going to increase baking time to30 minutes in the future. I’m also going to try this recipe with gluten-free flour for a friend who has gluten sensitivity.

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      October 22, 2022 at 5:09 am

      Thank you, Joy! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe 🙂 Would love to hear how the gluten free version turns out!

  • Reply
    patty Gwin
    October 30, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Absolutely delicious. Didn’t change a thing. Be sure to use Dutch chocolate, a bit expensive but worth it.

  • Reply
    Janis
    December 10, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    We loved this cake! I didn’t have any whole milk so I used Half & Half and a little bit of water. I also used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder. This was a quick and easy dessert to make and so delicious, and don’t forget the ice cream!

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      December 11, 2022 at 3:26 am

      Thank you, Janis! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  • Reply
    Alison
    December 22, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Please can anyone give me a hint what ‘Dutch processed cocoa’ is?
    I’ve never heard of it – maybe I live in the wrong country.?
    Is it just cocoa from The Netherlands? Or is it a specific type of cocoa? Or a brand name?
    Thanks.

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      December 22, 2022 at 7:12 am

      Hi Alison, Dutch-processed cocoa powder has a more intense chocolatey flavor than natural cocoa powder, which is what you typically find in grocery stores. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is made with cocoa beans that have been neutralized, meaning it won’t react with baking soda. I prefer Dutch-processed for it’s flavor, but you can use natural cocoa powder for this recipe, too 🙂

      • Reply
        Alison
        December 24, 2022 at 5:18 am

        Thank you, I’ve leaned something new!

        I haven’t seen ‘Dutch processed’ on the tins or packets of any cocoa that I can buy on the shelves where I live (UK), but if I read the ingredients, I see that any cocoa intended for drinking cocoa contains the acidity regulator, Potassium Carbonate. I think most of the well known brand names of cocoa I can buy seem to ‘dutch processed’ (Cadbury’s, Green and Black’s, Hotel Chocolate) – it seems I need to make a special effort to seek out ‘Organic cocoa powder’ or ‘pure cocoa’ to get something that isn’t neutralised with an acidity regulated.
        I never knew that!

  • Reply
    Nicole Rae
    January 21, 2023 at 2:23 am

    I just made this tonight and it was delicious! It definitely took care of my chocolate craving! I added 1 tblsp instant espresso to the cake mix and the cake came out perfect! I did cook for the full 30 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      January 22, 2023 at 2:56 am

      Hi Nicole, espresso is a great addition ! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.

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