Why This Recipe Works

Hot fudge pudding cake is a magical dessert; what starts out looking like a child's baking experiment gone wrong turns into a two-layered treat that any adult would eagerly tuck into. First, a fairly standard cake batter is topped with a sugar-cocoa layer, then liquid is poured over the top. As the batter bakes, the cake rises to the top, and what's left behind on the bottom turns into a pudding-style chocolate sauce. Most hot fudge pudding cakes end up looking rich and fudgy but have very little chocolate flavor. To make sure ours delivered on flavor as well as on looks, we used a combination of cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate to add multiple layers of chocolate flavor. For the puddinglike bottom layer, most recipes we found called for water, but we saw an opportunity to take our dessert to the next level. Using 1 cup of coffee in addition to 1/2 cup of water gave our pudding cake even deeper flavor (without actually making it taste like coffee). Making this treat in a cast-iron skillet was a no-brainer, since hot fudge pudding cake is meant to be served hot; cast iron does a great job of holding onto heat, so there was no worry that the dessert would cool down before it was time to eat. Serve with whipped cream.


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6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup brewed coffee
½ cup water
cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 6)

  • Calories 411
  • Cholesterol 62 mg
  • Fat 17 g
  • Sodium 234 mg
  • Saturated 10 g
  • Carbs 66 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 4 g
  • Monounsaturated 4 g
  • Sugar 47 g
  • Polyunsaturated 0 g
  • Protein 4 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 6 to 8

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter, chocolate, and 1/3 cup cocoa together in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat, stirring often, until smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. In separate bowl, whisk brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup cocoa together, breaking up any large clumps of brown sugar with fingers. In third bowl, combine coffee and water.

3. Whisk milk, vanilla, egg yolk, and remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over top, covering entire surface of batter. Pour coffee mixture gently over brown sugar mixture.

4. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cake is puffed and bubbling and just beginning to pull away from sides of skillet, about 35 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Using potholders, transfer skillet to wire rack and let cake cool for 15 minutes. Serve.