This easy chocolate pudding cake recipe, also known as hot fudge cake, creates a rich chocolate pudding topped with a remarkably dense, fudgy chocolate cake. It’s a simple dessert recipe with minimal steps and ingredients. If gooey chocolate cake is your favorite, this vegan lava cake is amazing, too.
Inspiration comes from many sources. It could be reading an article, taking a walk, eating vegan comfort food, or crossing something off your bucket list like visiting the Grand Canyon. I did a little of each this week. Maybe that’s why I was inspired to make this old-fashioned chocolate pudding cake. Or maybe it just sounded good. It’s hard to say.
Of course, it’s not just any cake. One could refer to it as the grand canyons of cakes, but I’m not sure if that title works.
What is Hot Fudge Pudding Cake?
Hot chocolate pudding cakes are made when chocolate cake batter is topped with hot water and baked. The chocolate cake puddings sink to the bottom and you’re left with an incredibly moist cake on top with a layer of hot fudge or chocolate pudding at the bottom.
I love this description in Fine Cooking about the history of baked chocolate pudding cakes. In fact, these quick chocolate desserts have been around for quite a while, dating back to the 1800s.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- A thick chocolate cake batter is topped with hot water, causing the batter to rise to the top while the denser liquid sinks to the bottom, creating a cake with chocolate pudding underneath
- Using brown sugar in the topping adds a caramel flavor to the sauce
- Adding chocolate chips to the sauce increases the fudgy chocolate flavor of the pudding.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Flour — I recommend all-purpose flour.
- Sugar — I used coconut sugar, but you can substitute granulated sugar.
- Cocoa powder — I recommend natural cocoa powder.
- Baking powder
- Plant-based milk — Any plant-based milk will do, such as soy or almond milk.
- Brown sugar — Use dark, light, or even homemade brown sugar.
- Vegan butter — Any dairy-free butter or margarine will work.
- Chocolate Chips — See this dairy-free chocolate chip resource for lots of options.
- Water — If your tap water has a flavor to it, then use filtered water.
How to Make Chocolate Pudding Cake
Wondering how to make pudding cake? Well, it’s pretty easy! Begin by using these ingredients to make this delicious vegan chocolate pudding cake from scratch:
- Stir together the dry ingredients from the flour to the baking powder.
- Mix together the milk, vanilla, and melted butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Press batter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Stir together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips and sprinkle this over the top of the batter.
- Pour the hot water over the top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Here are more descriptive step-by-step instructions:
Step One: Make the Cake Base
Stir together flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine plant-based milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture and stir until combined. Press this into a greased baking dish.
You can use a 9″ square baking dish or a 2 quart casserole dish for this easy pudding cake recipe.
Step Two: Create the Chocolate Pudding Sauce
Stir together the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and brown sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle this over the cake batter in the casserole dish. Do not stir!
Make sure your water is good and hot (boiling works here too). Pour the hot water over the top. Again, do not stir!
Step Three: Bake
Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Voila!
Top each slice with a little touch of vegan whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Your guests will be impressed!
Make it Healthier
Keeping desserts simple, yet elegant is important. Here are a couple of tips to make this dessert healthier too:
- Use a sweetener you feel good about in place of the granulated sugar. For example, Stevia is a no-calorie sweetener that works for some people. You could also consider using coconut sugar.
- Try whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose flour. There’s not much difference in texture and the added fiber is beneficial.
Vegan Chocolate Desserts
This recipe for pudding cake is pretty amazing. If you love the best chocolate desserts, you’ll definitely want to check these out:
That’s it for this hot fudge chocolate pudding cake. It’s a favorite recipe I love to make on the spur of the moment because it doesn’t have a lot of difficult ingredients and it’s so delicious, too!
Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9" square or 2-quart casserole baking dish with vegetable spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and stir to combine. Press this batter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. It will be thick so use a spatula or your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom of the dish.
Chocolate Pudding Sauce
- Place the brown sugar in a bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to break up any lumps in the sugar. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Sprinkle this evenly over the top of the batter in the baking dish. Don't stir.
- Make sure the water is good and hot (boiling works too). Pour the hot water over the top. Do not stir. Carefully transfer the baking dish to the preheated oven and bake for 30–35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Top each serving with vegan whipped cream or vegan ice cream and drizzle some of the chocolate sauce.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.