What is self-saucing chocolate pudding?
Watch out! My rendition of this indulgent, one-pan chocolate dessert is incredibly addictive. But just what is it? Well, self-saucing chocolate pudding looks like a cake at a glance. But this chocolate masterpiece is more of a spongy pudding laced with decadent ripples of melting chocolate.
If you didn’t already believe that chocolate was among the world’s greatest aphrodisiacs, this simple and sinful dessert will surely make you a believer. An easy and almost obvious combination of all the best things in life: butter, sugar, eggs, flour and chocolate, it’s the syrup poured over the top that makes self-saucing chocolate pudding work so brilliantly.
Not quite a pudding and not exactly a cake, self-saucing chocolate pudding has a soufflé-like quality, only without all the work. The origins of the recipe aren’t known. I’ve done some digging but I just can’t find an accurate history for self-saucing chocolate pudding. It is believed to be a British invention. But there is some evidence that the concept of pouring hot water over the cake before baking to partially steam it as it bakes may be an Australian innovation.
But it really doesn’t matter where the concept for self-saucing chocolate pudding came from. What matters is that it works brilliantly to create a sensual dessert with ethereal lightness and hot, chocolate richness all in one pan. Top this simple masterpiece with a dollop of clotted cream for one of the most sensual dessert experiences imaginable.
Chef’s tip for great chocolate desserts
For the most decadent chocolate experience, splurge on a high-quality, high fat cocoa powder. (Most manufacturers won’t indicate this on the label but you can check the fat content in the nutritional information to find out. A high fat cocoa powder will have a fat content of about 22-24%.)
Recipe for Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lg egg room temperature
- 2/3 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk
for the syrup
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and cream on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides.
- Add the egg and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and add half to the butter mixture, beating on low until just mixed.
- Pour in the milk and mix on low until incorporated before adding the rest of the flour mixture.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into a thoroughly greased 8x8 baking dish and set aside while you make the syrup.
- Add the water, brown sugar and cocoa to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, watching to make sure it does not boil over.
- Pour syrup over the batter and bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve warm. Top with a dollop of cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
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