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For the Gooiest Chocolate Cake, Pour Coffee Over Brownie Batter

Pouring coffee over the raw batter of this dessert before baking produces two distinct layers—and the most deliciously moist cake you’ve ever eaten.
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Published Mar. 16, 2023.

Hot fudge pudding cake is a magical dessert.

Making it is a science experiment that results in a cake—with all the flavors and textures of a rich and fudgy, perfectly underbaked brownie straight from the oven. 

The dessert starts out looking like you’ve taken a few wrong turns in the recipe and then emerges as a two-layered treat: one of moist chocolate cake and the other of gooey chocolate sauce.

Sound like a dessert you can’t wait to get your hands on?

Well, hang on because we saw an opportunity to take this cake to the next level.

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What Is Pudding Cake?

Pudding cake actually does not contain any pudding at all.

It is an old-fashioned cake recipe that has no frosting because of the gooey sauce-like layer (which is reminiscent of pudding) created during its unique baking process. Hence the name!

How to Make Chocolate Pudding Cake

The process is simple: You sprinkle what is essentially brownie batter with a mixture of sugar and cocoa and then pour hot water on top before baking. The “batter” goes into the oven—no stirring allowed.

As it bakes, the water, cocoa, and sugar bubble and brew to magically form a hot fudge–like sauce, while the warm, gooey cake rises to the top.

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Everything Chocolate

A recipe collection that covers it all—in chocolate. This is the definitive guide to any chocolate treat you crave, for any time of day.

But how do we make ours better than the rest? Our most important improvement: We swap the water for coffee. 

Coffee and chocolate have a special synergy, where coffee enhances chocolate’s flavor without announcing its own. Plus, its bitterness can help to cut sweetness and give even a homey dessert like this one more sophisticated flavor. 

Read on to learn how we carefully crafted our recipe to deliver the gooiest cake with the most complex chocolate flavor. 

Recipe

Rich Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Here's how to make a homey, no-fuss chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce—baked together in one dish.
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4 Ways to Make the Gooiest, Chocolatiest Pudding Cake

  1. Add instant coffee to the hot water. Any liquid will keep the cake gooey, but the addition of instant coffee enhances chocolate flavor and cuts overall sweetness from the brown and white sugar in the batter.
  2. Use two kinds of chocolate. For ultrachocolaty flavor, we used Dutch-processed cocoa powder and a handful of chopped semisweet chocolate. Bitter cocoa powder adds intense, unadulterated chocolate flavor and, like coffee, keeps sweetness in check. The chopped chocolate pieces ensure gooey pockets in the baked cake. 
  3. Add butter and a yolk. Trading flavorless vegetable oil for melted butter and adding in a large egg yolk provides richer flavor and a more brownie-like texture. 
  4. Bake it low and slow. To promote a good crust and a silky sauce, we baked our pudding cake slow and low and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving, allowing the sauce to become pudding-like and the cake brownie-like.

Serve with vanilla ice cream while still hot—and luxuriate in one of the easiest chocolate cakes you can make.

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