In the mood for a decadent double chocolate dessert that’s dead-easy to make? Then you have come to the right place. This month’s Baking Together recipe (Double Chocolate Brownie Pudding Cake) is a new take on an old-school classic: a brownie-like chocolate cake AND a rich, saucy chocolate pudding all-in-one. What’s even better – if it could be any better – is the cake mixes up right in the baking dish with an assist from one small mixing bowl for the pudding ingredients. Super easy and epically decadent.

Growing up, my mom wasn’t a big weeknight dessert-maker so it was always a treat when she slid this chocolatey concoction into the oven before we sat down for dinner. The wafting aroma was intoxicating and it certainly made the vegetables go down faster so we could get on to dessert. As a kid, I thought this dessert was magical, because it does something very cool in the oven: It bakes into two layers – a layer of cake over warm chocolate pudding. (The cake ingredients actually start out on the bottom of the baking dish and bake their way up to the top!) Heck, I still think it’s as magical as it is delicious, but I will admit that I have made a few improvements on my mom’s version. I’ve added chopped chocolate and additional cocoa along with an egg yolk to the cake layer, making for a deeply chocolate-y flavor and a moist brownie-like texture. I also bumped up the ingredients in the pudding layer for a bigger chocolate-y yield because, well, who doesn’t want more chocolate pudding, right?

The pudding cake is best served soon after baking (30 minutes to 2 hours is optimum) to keep the pudding and cake at the best consistencies. Leftovers – covered and stowed at room temperature - can be warmed slightly in the microwave but some of the pudding layer will become quite thick and will meld with the cake. Still yummy but without the magically distinct two layers of deliciousness.

Kitchen Notes

• I’m a fan of chopped bittersweet chocolate in the cake layer as it packs a big flavor punch, but feel free to use white, milk, or semisweet. Mini chips work too.
• Sift the cocoa powder if it’s lumpy. It’s an extra step but your baked results – cake and pudding - will be silky smooth.
• For the boiling water: Fill a tea kettle or saucepan with more water than the recipe requires and, once you’ve made the batter and sprinkled over the cocoa-sugar mixture, bring it to a full boil. Measure (weight or volume) the water and pour it over the batter.
• This dessert doesn’t need any adornments, but a dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream and/or fresh berries (raspberries or sliced strawberries) or toasted, chopped nuts are tasty toppers. A little ice cream – any flavor – wouldn’t be objectional.
• A 6-cup loaf pan (I use Pyrex) is the ideal vessel for mixing and baking this dessert. The narrow width and deep sides allow for easy mixing of the cake ingredients, and the depth is also ideal for stowing all the luscious pudding that lies beneath the cake. 


Switch It Up

• Brown sugar – light or dark – can be substituted for the granulated sugar.
• I use whole or 2% milk, but half & half or light cream will also work.
• Adding instant coffee or espresso powder to either the cake or the pudding will deliver a lovely mocha flavor.
• A dash of cinnamon and perhaps the very teensiest bit of cayenne evokes a Mexican flavor profile and adds warmth to the brownie layer.
• For an adult flavor, replace the vanilla extract in the cake batter with 1 tablespoon of bourbon, brandy or flavored liqueur. It adds a subtle edge to the cake’s flavor and, if you are using a liqueur, a bit of added fruitiness.
• For a nutty twist, add a handful of toasted, chopped nuts to the cake batter.
• For chocolate – orange fans, add some finely grated zest to the cake batter along with the eggs, butter and vanilla. Top each serving with a few orange supremes for a fresh citrus blast.