Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cooking School: Chocolate Pudding Cake

One of the more popular restaurant desserts is a molten chocolate cake. This can mean several things. Some stories speak of a chocolate souffle that refused to cook all the way through as the origin of this dish. This souffle managed to worm it's way out of a ramekin and into the hearts (and onto the plates) of diners everywhere. A chocolate cake with a custardy chocolate sauce or some sort, served hot. How could you go wrong?
I was taught that the proper way to make a molten chocolate cake/chocolate lava cake/self saucing chocolate cake was to put a ball of ganache in the center of an individual chocolate cake or souffle and bake according to the original recipe. The ganache would melt and create a molten center. Delicious and decadent. Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of these types of cake now involve simply under-baking a cake. If you like the taste of cake batter, this could be good, but I am not such a person. I am definately wary of ordering this dessert in restaurants. Eggy, undercooked batter? Thanks, but no thanks.
When I want a chocolate cake with a rich, delicious chocolate sauce, I turn to a classic chocolate pudding cake. I love this recipe because it is baked in the same pan that it is mixed in, so there is little to no cleanup. I also love, of course, the taste! The cake is super moist and chocolatey- in fact, this is one of my favorite chocolate desserts. The chocolate pudding is extremely rich tasting, but is actually quite light, and makes a perfect compliment to the cake. To make the dish even more decadent, top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Pudding Cake
3/4 cup ap flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips (miniature, if you have them)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine flour, sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt in an 8 inch square baking pan and stir with a fork to combine. Mix in milk and oil until batter is uniform.
Sprinkle brown sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa and chocolate chips evenly over batter. Add vanilla to the hot water and pour over everything. Do not mix.
Place pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until surface of the cake looks dry. The pudding will be bubbling around the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Leftovers, if you have them, may be stored for one day at room temperature. Reheat before serving.

Serves 8-9