Chocolate Pudding

This is a variant on lemon surprise pudding, in which the mixture divides on cooking to produce a sponge above the thick lemony sauce which forms below. Indeed, it is known in my house as Lemon Surprise Pudding, the surprise being that it’s chocolate. Although I didn’t actually eat this as a child, it is heady with reminders of childhood foods: the hazelnuts in the sponge bring back memories of Nutella, the thick, dark, fudgy sauce of chocolate spread. The proportions below are geared towards 6, but easily feed 8. It’s heavenly with fridge-cold heavy cream poured over it. It is also child’s play to make. Choose good cocoa and good chocolate and stick carefully to the exact measurements. If you’ve got only a single oven, it makes sense to use the shallow dish: it will take less time to cook.–Nigella Lawson

LC Wobbly In The Knees Note

Part pudding, part cake, and chocolate through and through, this dessert makes us wobbly in the knees like few other recipes can. Think of it as like spoon bread but for dessert. We think it’ll do the same for you.

Special Equipment: A standard white soufflé dishes 8 inches in diameter, or a shallow square 12-inch pan.

Chocolate Pudding Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 6 to 8


  • For the pudding
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup good, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped roughly, or chocolate morsels
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown or dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a standard white soufflé dish that’s 8 inches in diameter or a shallow square 12-inch pan.
  • 2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa into a bowl. Add the hazelnuts and sugar and stir to combine, then add the chocolate. Whisk together the melted butter, egg, milk, and vanilla and pour it into the dry ingredients. Stir well, so it’s all thoroughly mixed, then spoon it into the buttered dish.
  • 3. Now for the sauce. Not that you’re going to make it yourself (the baking does that for you), but you have to get the ingredients together. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Mix the brown sugar and cocoa in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the pudding mixture in the dish. Pour the boiled water up to the 2 cup mark of a measuring cup, then pour the boiling water over the pudding.
  • 4. Put the water-drenched pudding directly into the oven and leave it there. If you’re using a soufflé dish, don’t open the door until a good 45 minutes have passed and then press: If it feels fairly firm and springy to the touch, it’s ready. It may take up to 50 minutes. If you’re using a shallow dish, don’t open the door until a good 35 minutes have passed and then press: If it feels fairly firm and springy to the touch, it’s ready. It may take up to 40 minutes.
  • 5. Remove the dish from the oven and serve the soufflé immediately, spooning it from the dish and making sure everyone gets both sauce and cake.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

This is a great classic recipe. It turned out well and tasted great. The recipe is like those hot fudge pudding cakes because you pour the batter and then put hot water on top. It's a surprise because this forms a pudding with a cake on top. Anyway, I used a really dark chocolate cocoa powder and the whole thing turned out wonderfully rich. I would probably add some cinnamon and maybe increase the vanilla.

This was a little like what we call chocolate lava cake but with the lava on the outside, if that makes sense. It's moist and almost gooey but in a good way—an extremely rich, decadent, chocolate way. I didn't change a thing from the original recipe and it worked perfectly as written. Mine took the entire 50 minutes in the oven and was perfect. The recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, which I used, but it would work equally well with dark chocolate if you are a dark chocolate lover. A great recipe for entertaining.