Chocolate Pudding Cake

A pan of chocolate pudding cake, with a scoop being taken out and a mug of tea nearby.

Kitra: It is snowing in DC today, which means it is the best possible time for a warm bowl of cake.

Jordan: This is a great snow day cake. It’s a great cake in general, but it’s an especially great snow day cake.

Did you stand in line for an hour yesterday to panic-stock your pantry, but now you’re too tired to make a real cake?

Did you avoid the grocery store (hi, us too) and so you have no butter, milk, or flour?

Are you feeling exceptionally cozy and want to maximize the time spent holding something warm and eating things with a spoon while wrapped in an entire duvet?

Have you been sledding, building snowcreatures, or walking a dog who refuses to wear dog boots and now you’re cold and in need of chocolate?

Boy! Have! We! Got! A! Cake! For! You!

We first made this cake a month ago, for a socially distanced gathering/new year’s party/birthday for our mother. Kitra stumbled across it on Joy the Baker and we knew instantly that it was our mom’s birthday cake.

It was gluten-free (which means our dad could eat it), grain-free (which means our mom wanted to eat it), chocolate (which makes everyone happy), warm and requiring minimal work (perfect for an outdoor meal in January), and we could serve it with a giant spoon out onto plates (which makes it great party food).

There were five of us and we were all very full of appetizers, small food, and good cocktails (the ideal dinner party menu), and we still managed to finish the entire thing.

And I have been wanting to make it again every single day since.

It takes about 20 minutes to mix together, 20 minutes to bake, and 5 minutes to cool so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Cake start to finish in less than an hour! And since it’s mostly egg it is technically breakfast if you’re me and forgot to eat anything before jumping into cake day.

And while we love the original flavorings of orange and nutmeg, you could really flavor it however you want—which means that the only required ingredients are eggs, chocolate chips, and sugar. All of which you probably have.

If you’re making it in a half batch like we both did today, you don’t even need much of any of those either. A half batch is a great size to eat on your own over the course of the day, or share with someone if you live with a creature who isn’t a dog (sorry Sophie, no chocolate cake.)

I mean, I can’t promise that there will be any cake left by the time my partner gets home from work. He doesn’t have Instagram so he doesn’t need to know this happened at all.

It really is easy to hide the evidence here. I washed all 3 dishes while the cake was baking, which means even in my tiny kitchen with my even tinier sink there’s really no trace of it except the smell of snow day happiness.

A scoop of chocolate pudding cake and some orange segments in a bowl with a mug of tea alongside.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Adapted just barely from Joy the Baker

Notes

As we said above, you can play with the ingredients here. Throw in any spices or extracts you like: Vanilla and cardamom, cinnamon and chile, even some finely chopped nuts would probably work. You can also serve it with fruit (like the segments of the orange you zested) to brighten it up a bit.

The ingredients below are for a half batch, which serves about three separate people or one person over the course of the day. It’s easily scaled up or down. You can bake this in anything, but it’ll bake more evenly in a round pan of some sort. The ideal final texture is soft, with set cakey edges and a pudding-y center. Jordan’s cake was in a rectangular dish and the ends are definitely more solid, though still delicious.

Ingredients

  • Butter and sugar, for the pan
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar, to finish (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter a 1-quart baking dish and gently coat it with sugar.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate about halfway, then stir until the remaining lumps have melted.

Put your sugar and orange zest in a medium bowl and rub together with your fingers to get as much flavor out of the zest as possible. Add the egg yolks and nutmeg and whisk (by hand is fine) until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the melted chocolate; do not be alarmed if the mix seems too firm when you do so.

Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium until nice and foamy. Add the salt and continue beating for several minutes, until they form soft peaks.

Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined, just to get things started. Switch to a rubber spatula and add the remaining whites a scoop at a time, folding gently a few times in between scoops, until there aren’t many visible white streaks left. Try not to mix it too much—it’s fine if it’s not perfectly smooth and even.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until you can shake the pan and the center of the cake jiggles but doesn’t seem liquid. Remove and cool at least five minutes before topping with powdered sugar and serving in scoops straight from the pan.

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