Chocolate Pudding Cake

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.

Three dessert bowls hold chocolate cake topped with ice cream. The main one has chocolate sauce over the top.

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.

Two bowls hold chocolate pudding cake topped with ice cream with spoons between them.

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.
The ingredients to make a dessert recipe are laid out in bowls and measuring cups.

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.
  • Vanilla
  • 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.
A closeup image of chocolate cake in a bowl topped with vanilla ice cream.

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:

  1. Stir together the dry ingredients from the flour to the baking powder.
  2. Mix together the milk, vanilla, and melted butter.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Press batter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  5. Stir together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips and sprinkle this over the top of the batter.
  6. Pour the hot water over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Here are more descriptive step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Make the Cake Base

A hand pours melted butter over a cocoa powder 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

Two hands hold a glass bowl pouring chocolate crumbles over a cake batter.

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!

A hand pours hot water over cake batter mix in a white casserole dish.

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!

A closeup shot of chocolate pudding cake in a bowl topped with melty vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Delicious and indulgent, this Chocolate Pudding Cake delivers a cake you'll want to make on repeat!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 185kcal

Ingredients

Pudding

Chocolate Pudding Sauce

Instructions

  • 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.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

I used Enjoy Life Foods mini chocolate chips for this recipe.
Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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.

Looking down on two dessert bowls filled with cake topped with ice cream. The text reads: Chocolate Pudding Cake.

21 Responses to Chocolate Pudding Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCynthia Hill Reply

    Making this again. Everyone loved it last time!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlymarla Reply

    TOTALLY my kinda cake!!!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAngie Reply

    mmm, I know I’ll always find something delicious on your site!!!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyShaina Reply

    This looks wonderful. I love a good pudding cake.

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