This Chocolate Pudding Cake features two delicious layers that form while baking: chocolate cake on top and creamy chocolate pudding sauce on the bottom. Serve this dessert warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Welcome to chocolate heaven. Part cake, part pudding, with a touch of brownie-like fudginess thrown in (because chocolate is THE BEST THING EVER)!
If you’re a fan of sticky-pudding-like desserts you’ve come to the right place. This chocolate pudding cake joins our pumpkin pudding cake and sticky toffee pudding as some of our favorite cake recipes. Ever.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Two desserts in one: Chocolate pudding on the bottom, chocolate cake on top!
No need for frosting: Since the cake is served with the sauce spooned over the top there is no need to add frosting.
Lots of chocolate: This pudding cake is fudgy and cakey with an almost brownie-like quality thanks to a mixture of cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and a bit of espresso powder.
From scratch: Often “pudding cake” recipes use a cake mix. I find this makes a dessert that is way too sweet and not chocolaty enough. Making this from scratch allows us to get the perfect balance of flavors!
What is a pudding cake?
A pudding cake is two desserts in one. The top layer is cake, and while baking a pudding-like sauce forms underneath the cake. This dessert is served warm, by scooping portions of cake into a bowl, then spooning the pudding sauce over the top. There is no need for frosting because the “pudding” serves as the topping.
*Full recipe below in recipe card*
Prepare the chocolate cake batter: Combine, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased 9×9 square baking pan.
Add the topping: Sprinkle sugar and cocoa powder over the top of the batter. Gently pour boiling water evenly over the cake batter (this is what will form the sauce).
Carefully transfer to the oven: Bake for 25-30 minutes.
While baking, the cake will rise to the top and the pudding sauce will form on the bottom.
- Pour the boiling water over the back of a spoon. This creates a gentle trickle instead of a solid stream which could disturb the cake batter underneath.
- After pouring the boiling water over the cake batter do not stir or jostle the mixture. You want two distinctly separate layers, and if you mix it up it won’t bake properly.
- Use a baking pan that is at least 2 inches high. You need enough room for the sauce and the cake to bake on top of each other.
- Don’t forget the toppings – serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and/or fresh berries.
Serving and storage
Serving: This cake is best served warm, shortly after being removed from the oven. It is best within one day of baking, as the cake will absorb some of the pudding sauce over time.
Storing: Leftovers should be tightly covered and refrigerated. Reheat individual servings in the microwave.
More chocolate recipes
Chocolate Pudding Cake
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup light brown sugar*, packed
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk, preferably whole or 2%
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- generous ½ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar*
- 1½ cups boiling water
- vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch** square baking pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil and vanilla and whisk until well combined and smooth. Using a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Proceed with the topping.
- In a bowl, combine cocoa powder and brown sugar, mixing until well combined (I use a fork). Sprinkle this mixture in an even layer over the top of the cake batter.
- Slowly and carefully pour the boiling water evenly over the top. TIP: I pour the water over the back of a large spoon and slowly move it around the pan while pouring. Do not stir or disturb the cake batter underneath.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake layer (on top) is cooked through. The pudding sauce should be bubbling gently around the sides of the pan. Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm, scooping the cake into bowls and spooning the sauce over the top. Recommended garnishes: vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.