Apparently, I am very open to suggestion. Show me an elaborate dessert, the kind that requires shopping trips, and chilling times and multiple bowls, and I’ll look at it lustily for a few moments and file it away for a special occasion. I might come back to it in a year or two, or even four, or it may just sit there, taking up space in my mind that should really be dedicated to this. Show me, however, a dessert I can make in 15 minutes, with things I have in my pantry,* and chances are I’ll squeeze it in, tonight, right between my plans for Spaghetti Bolognese and a shower.

Which brings us to Ashley’s Hot Fudge Pudding Cake: one glance at that title (and those photos!) and I was making it in my own kitchen less than 24 hours later.

It begins rather innocently: you whisk together the dry ingredients, and then stir in the wet. You spread this out in your cake pan, sprinkling it with chocolate chips followed by a dusting of brown sugar and cocoa. And then it gets exciting: you combine espresso powder with hot water, and pour it all over the batter, drowning it in a pool of midnight black. Bubbly, with puffs of cocoa, and little islands of chocolate, it now looks like a pre-school science project. Without stirring, you lower it gingerly into the oven. While baking, the sauce seeps to the bottom of the pan creating a thick, rich pudding, and leaving a layer of moist chocolate cake in its wake. Served warm, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it is seriously ooh-inducing.

*Let’s be honest, I didn’t have chocolate chips, because I eat them like the candy that they are, so I picked up a chocolate bar along with a pint of vanilla ice cream on my way home. 

P.S. I’m giving away a copy of Joy the Baker’s cookbook! (Ends 5/6).

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

The cake batter is topped with a pool of warm espresso, which slowly seeps to the bottom of the cake as it bakes, creating a bottom layer of rich, thick pudding. Served warm, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it makes for a party of contrasts: warm chocolate cake, gooey pudding and cold ice cream providing bite after bite of pleasure. Bonus points for minimal prep time and heavy reliance on pantry staples (ie: I bet you could make this right now).

from Not Without Salt

prep: 20 minutes/ baking time: 40 minutes

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 cup hot water

1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/4 cup cocoa, and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk to combine. Stir in the milk, vanilla extract, egg yolk and melted butter. Spread the batter into a buttered 8 or 9-inch square cake pan, and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup brown sugar, breaking up clumps. Sprinkle mixture over cake.

3. Combine the espresso powder with the hot water and pour all over the top of the cake, but do not stir. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles; as the sauce has now settled to the bottom creating a rich pudding. Let cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.