Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
I was a few years removed from college when my grandma gifted me with a binder full of recipes that had been typed out on a typewriter and placed into sheet protectors. On the cover was a picture of my great-grandmother, whom I had never had the opportunity to meet, as she passed away four years before I was born. In the binder was a collection of some of the best recipes that she made; family favorites, dishes she was known for, and recipes she was proud to have published in some church cookbooks. It’s a mixture of dinners, desserts, candy and even some bread. This Hot Fudge Pudding Cake is one of the recipes in the binder, and one I have been wanting to make for quite some time. It’s a fabulous old-fashioned recipe and just tastes like home.
This cake is mixed together in one bowl and in less than 10 minutes. The base of the cake is almost brownie-like, but the combination of a brown sugar and cocoa combination and hot water sprinkled on top of the cake before baking it creates a pudding-like sauce on the bottom. When slices are scooped out, they are inverted onto a plate so the sauce pools on top of the cake. It’s fabulous topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
My grandma included a little introduction about my great-grandma at the front of the binder. These are my favorite paragraphs:
“Grandmother Norris was a wonderful grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law.
To know her was to love her. Grandmother absolutely loved Christmas.
She would spend her last penny on a gift for someone.
December 26th was not too early to start on next Christmas’ gifts.
She baked a lot of cookies and made Plum Pudding.
Every room in the house was decorated for Christmas.
Birthdays were for celebrating, sometimes for a whole month…
Greeting cards were to be enjoyed and displayed.”
I think we would have been bosom buddies. I’m glad that my grandma thought to put together some of her favorite recipes; I’m slowly working my way through them and can’t wait to share more with you!
One year ago: Buckeye Peanut Butter Cookies
Two years ago: Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk Cookies
Three years ago: Pan-Fried Onion Dip and Gingered Carrot Cookies
Four years ago: Potato Salad with Herbed Balsamic Vinaigrette
Six years ago: The Chocolate Chip Cookie
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt
- ½ cup (122 ml) whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (117 g) chopped walnuts, optional
For the Topping:
- ¾ cup (165 g) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (21.5 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ cups (375 ml) hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add to the dry mixture the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and walnuts (if using). Stir with a rubber spatula until combined and spread into an even layer in the prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder, and sprinkle over the batter (do not stir!!). Pour the hot water evenly over the cake (do not stir!!).
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes (40 minutes if using 9-inch pan, 45 minutes if using an 8-inch pan) and serve warm. When serving, invert the cake squares onto the plate; the pudding sauce will be on top.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Question: what’s the difference between this and a really good brownie with hot fudge sauce?
Easy and delicious.
I’d never heard of this before.
This has long been a family favorite dessert. When my grandma died, the one cookbook I had to have was her blue America Cooks cookbook that this recipe was in. Besides the memories of watching her use it to make something for Sunday dinner, it also has all the recipes that became family classics. An awesome variation is to replace the milk with coconut milk and stir everything together, divide into individual ramekins and bake. You wind up with this little cake that makes it’s own ice cream hole and the sauce on the bottom is more like warm fudge.
I made this cake today. It was super easy and fast. It was about 10 minutes from start to when it went in the oven. I now understand why it is called fudge cake – when you invert the cake square, it has the texture of soft fudge. Delicious. I made one change – instead of 2 tablespoons cocoa power in the cake, I used one tablespoon regular cocoa power and one tablespoon of King Arthur black cocoa power. It added an even deeper chocolate flavor. I also wonder….instead of adding hot water at the end, what if you used hot coffee instead? Yum. I served it with vanilla ice cream on top. Oh, and make sure you place your cake pan on a baking sheet!! My cake pan was not very tall and it spilled over the side a little. Fortunately, the pan was on a baking sheet so it didn’t mess up my oven.
Hi Val, You could definitely use coffee in place of water; so glad you enjoyed the cake!
Can this recipe be doubled to an 11×17 baking dish? What would the bake time be on that?
Hi Jennifer, I’d probably lean more towards increasing the recipe by a factor of 1.5 to be sure that it fits, but if it’s a deep pan you might be okay. I have no idea on the bake time, as I’ve never altered this particular recipe before.
fast, easy, amazing.
This cake is very good, but it’s not very chocolatey tasting–more like brown sugar cake or maybe a German chocolate cake. Did anyone else experience that? I think I might melt some semi-sweet chocolate next time and add it to the mix to amp up the chocolate.
I have been making this pudding cake recipe forever. My mom made it when I was a little girl. I add chocolate chips and am about to try it with some espresso powder as well, to kick it up a notch! My mom got this recipe in the 1950’s, that’s how long I have been eating and making it! So cool that you like it too!
I was looking online for a pudding cake recipe. I am so happy to have found yours. This is amazing!! I am eating the cake while it’s still warm, So ooey gooey. I doubled the recipe and have a feeling this won’t last long in my house. Thank you
I just put my batter into the oven not long ago and I’m really stoked and excited to see the end result! :-)
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I really want to make this yummy cake but I only have buttermilk. Can I substitute the buttermilk for normal milk and if yes do I need to adjust the baking powder?
Hi Amber, I have never tried to substitute buttermilk in this recipe, so unfortunately I can’t give you any accurate substitution information.
do you think this would freeze well? I’d like to make it for a big meal I’m hosting but I would like to bake it in advance, freeze, and then reheat next week when I’m scrambling last minute. Would that work or it would kill the gooey texture?
Hi Erica, Unfortunately, because of the texture of this particular cake, I don’t think baking, cooling, freezing and reheating would work well this cake.
Can you make this one day in advance? I’m going on a ski trip this weekend – wondering if I can bake it, cool it, reheat it the following night?
Hi Brittany, I have not tried that, but I think it should be okay.
You’re cake looks amazing! Sadly mine turned out totally wrong and dry with absolutely no pudding on top! I did exactly what your recipe said except I used canola corn oil instead of vegetable oil. Any guesses as to what happened??
Hi Vika, I’m sorry that your cake didn’t turn out. The pudding isn’t supposed to be on top, though; when you serve the cake you are to invert the slice (i.e. turn it upside-down) because the sauce is on the bottom of the cake. When you turn it upside-down on the plate, the sauce is then on top.
Thanks! Hopefully next time it turns out right!:)
I had the exact same thing happen…then I realized I had forgot to add the baking powder. I was so focused on getting it right, I completely overlooked it. Second try was spot on. Hope you are able to enjoy the cake! it’s yummy.
The cake looks awesome! I love that you’re sharing recipes from your great-grandmother. It’s so nice for you to get to peak into her world even though you didn’t get to meet her.
Could you possibly use regular brown sugar instead of light brown sugar? Would it make a difference?
Hi Vika, I’ve always assumed that light brown sugar IS “regular” brown sugar.
Oh my word, this looks amazing! Can’t get over how fudgey it looks, I just want to grab a spoon and dig right into my screen!
Looks delicious! I’m definitely going to try this :)
I must confess, after a long day at work and one glass (yes, just one) of wine, your post has brought a warmth and a tear that only a grandmother’s reference can bring to the surface. She is an inspiration to all of us, no matter the age or chapter we find ourselves in life. Thank you for sharing a personal aspect…. I think we all yearn for in our days.
Oh …. chocolate… my other favorite food. I don’t care how overused, I love it.
I remember having this dessert was I was young and I am 66 years old. Glad you found it – I know my grandson will love it! Thanks for sharing!
Mmm love this!
I love your blog so much I’ve tried few of your recipes and all turned out so good!! And this pudding cake looks amazing. Is it possible for me to bake this in a muffin pan?
Thanks so much!!!
Hi Jennifer, I’ve never attempted that, I’m honestly not sure how it would work, but if you try it, I would love to hear your feedback on it!
Don’t you just love cherished family recipes?! I have a binder full of some of my great grandmother’s best recipes. She was a phenomenal cook.
This cake looks so decedent. I can’t wait to give it a try.
The cake looks so good, I could probably eat the whole entire thing! That’s so nice she gave you a book to treasure, you ‘re so lucky! Count your blessings!
This post just put a huge smile on my face! And I am sure a piece of this would put a lot of chocolate and another big smile on my face!
My love of baking came from my grandmother. The binder story, and the book itself is the greatest thing ever. And this cake looks amazing!
How wonderful to receive such a thoughtfully-compiled collection of recipes.
This cake looks fantastic — like the true family recipe that it is. I’ve never had a pudding cake, but I can just imagine how fudgy and rich it must be.
Last Christmas, my grandmother gave each of her grandchildren a binder with her homestyle recipes. It was my favorite Christmas gift and I’ll treasure it for years to come, as I’m sure you’ve treasure the recipe book from your grandmother.
Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us : )
These are the best kind of books and memories to have! My sister did this at Christmas a couple of years ago and it is something I refer to often!
This looks great- My grandmother made a lemon pudding cake along the same lines- but we can’t find the recipe. 8-(
What a fantastic gift. No one on either side of my family ever bothered to save any family recipes. Lucky you.
Also lucky you to have that cake on your counter. Maybe mine next!!
How awesome that you have this cookbook filled with family recipes and memories! I wish I had one too :) This cake looks awesome btw, love that it gets scooped up and inverted so the “frosting” is already there.
How special to receive such a gift of recipes! This cake looks awesome!
Love this concept for a cake..I bet it tastes as good as it looks!!
This cake just looks like chocolate decadence, and I’ll bet it just melts in your mouth.
When my husband and I were first dating, he wrote to my mom and asked if I had a favorite cake that he could make for my birthday. This was the one. I still have the original email that I printed and keep in my recipe folder. My mom signed it with “Good Luck. Love, Mom.” I was the lucky one! Great cake, great birthday, great husband. Enjoy!! (And yes, heat it up in the microwave IF you have leftovers.)
I hope my grandchildren and more generations get my binder passed down to them! That’s awesome!
I love baking and hot fudge is my favorite sweet flavor! And today is my birthday, so I think I would love nothing more than to actually bake my own birthday cake tonight. So this was a perfect post for me to see today. Thank you!
this is awesome i ve made it just now !!
I’m not at home right now but when I get home this pudding cake is on! I am having a tiring day and this is going to do the trick!
I have not stopped thinking about this recipe since 3am this morning when my dog woke me up to go outside. I want to make this right now….but a couple of questions first.
1) does this reheat well? Or must it be eaten fresh from the oven?
2) how long does this keep for? (Building off the previous question)
I bet it gets eaten too quickly to have to worry about this….
Hi Kim, I have reheated it, and it’s definitely still good, but like most things, it’s of course BEST fresh from the oven :) It’d say it will keep for about 3 days.
What a precious and priceless gift. I’m just now asking my grandmother to write down her recipes. I think it’s important to keep family recipes, I know I’ll cherish them when she is no longer with us. That cake looks so mosit and fudgy!
This looks absolutely decadent! How special that the recipe was your great-grandmother’s, too :)
Aw, she sounds lovely! And the cake!!! Wow, that looks fabulous!
I’m so jealous! I wish I had a cook book like that! i sooo pinned this!!
My mom made this when we were younger….I will be 59 in November…we loved it as it was cheap and we always had baking supplies on hand, we did use fat free milk, as a sister could only drink that…still make this today…still use fat free milk, along with 1 pan chocolate cake….mix and bake in the same pan….also a cheap recipe….but very tasty…thanks for the trip down memory lane…
That looks so good I want some now….and I’m reading this at 8:30am! I must try it!
Oh my gosh your cake looks incredible!!! So moist! I want a big slice of it for breakfast!!
Wow, now this is the kind of thing I imagine when I think of “comfort food!” Looks so good. Thanks for sharing!
What a special treat to receive such a thoughtful gift from your grandmother – family recipes really are the best! And your great grandmother sounds like an amazing woman :) This cake is mouth-watering and I love the simplicity, can’t wait to give it a try!
Thank you for sharing your family recipe. What a wonderful keepsake your Grandmother gave you. She knew that putting it in your hands would keep the legacy going. My Great-Grandfather came from Germany and opend a bakery in the United States. I have a few of his recipes too and make them at Christmas. It is very special and keeps you connected with your past.
What a special gift you recieved. Your great Grandmother sounds as though she truly celebrated life and this cake says it all.
Oh my! That looks so delicious! I really want to try and make this, but I had my son 5 months ago, and I’m still trying to lose some of that weight. This fudgy goodness would not help with that! =] Maybe I will try it one day though, my husband would probably love this.
Michelle, that is such a lovely story and what a treasure in that one-if-a-kind recipe collection your grandmother gave you! I ‘save’ all your recipies, but now I’m going to create a SPECIAL sub-folder just for all the recipes you post from that collection (with appropriate credit to you, of course!). I always look forward to your posts and now even moreso. Thank you so much for sharing!!
This was always called Denver Pudding in my house growing up but I’m not sure where our recipe came from. I’ll have to ask my folks today. This was a great favorite at our house when I was a kid. Easy and delicious!
This style of cake has been on my list of todos for way too long! I gotta get in that cause this looks excellent.
I love that your grandmother made a binder of your great grandma’s recipes. I think that is something that anyone receiving would cherish. I can’t wait to hear more about the recipes from the binder.
Would you believe that I came to my computer to look up the Hot Fudge Pudding cake that I made some time ago but decided to read my feeds and saw this?!
I’ve seen recipes in cookbooks for cakes that you pour water on top, and that creates a sauce, or a pudding in this case. Ive always wanted to try it but never have. Now I know I need to. And that binder you were gifted sounds like the best.thing.ever. I know you have just gotta be savoring that thing! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
This cake looks just completely ridiculous. I want to make it right this minute. My grandmother put together a similar family recipe binder and gifted it to my dad and his brothers one year for Christmas. I have been trying to get one for myself for years, but so far, no luck. Still working on it, though.
Oh wow! Fist of all it is so awesome to have a family cookbook like this. Your grandma and great grandma sound like amazing women and amazing bakers! I have to say, I am pretty jealous! I don’t have an family cookbooks like this with vintage recipes and can only imagine how fun it is to re-create them!!
Ok, now second! This is one of the best looking cake I have ever seen! Pudding and cake? YUM! It looks so fudgy and so moist and so chocolaty. I want it all!
Your grandma sounds amazing. This cake looks amazing. What a beautiful legacy!