A tale of two cakes — Cake #2

The chocolate cake goodness, started in this post, continued to my birthday weekend.  When Matthew asked what kind of cake I wanted, I gave him a couple of options: 1) something with chocolate and peanut butter (a cake or a tart) or 2) a chocolate pudding cake.

There are various definitions of “pudding cake,” and for Matthew’s birthday a few weeks ago,, I made him a vanilla rum pudding cake that was definitely more pudding than cake.  We actually weren’t sure why the recipe included the word “cake.”

The inspiration for my request came from a blog post I saw back in January.  Yes, I’ve been dreaming of a chocolate cake with vanilla pudding poured over it for over three months!

Unfortunately, like my original inspiration, all of the pudding cake “recipes” I found in online searches involved boxes — boxed cake mix and boxed pudding.  Eh, no thanks.

Instead, Matthew whipped up a chocolate cake (in not much more time than it takes to make a cake from a box) and some delicious, creamy vanilla pudding, creating the cake of my dreams.

He started with the chocolate cake from this recipe, making it as a sheet cake in a 9×13 pan instead of a layer cake.  He made two other changes: 1) regular cocoa powder instead of Dutch-process (it’s the only kind we buy — more antioxidants!) and 2) hot water instead of the coffee.

chocolate pudding cake

Recipe by Matthew

One 9×13 chocolate cake (ingredient list and recipe here)
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 t. vanilla
2 scraped vanilla beans (optional but delicious)
2 1/2 c. whole milk
5 T. unsalted butter

Make the chocolate cake.  Once the cake is in the oven, start on the pudding.

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium pan.  Then add the egg yolks, cream, vanilla, and vanilla bean scrapings to the same pan and whisk thoroughly.  Whisk in the milk.

Heat over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the pudding has thickened and is fully bubbling.  Continue heating (and whisking) for an additional thirty seconds, then remove from heat.

Whisk in the butter.  Pour through fine mesh strainer (we skipped this step with no ill results).  Set pudding aside for a few minutes to cool and thicken slightly.

When the cake finishes baking and is still warm, poke holes in the cake at one-inch intervals, using a wooden spoon handle.  Make the holes about 2/3 the depth of the cake, NOT all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Pour the warm vanilla pudding over the warm chocolate cake.  Gently spread pudding and help guide it into the holes.  There will still be a thin layer of pudding covering the top of the cake.

Refrigerate for at least an hour, and then revel in the chocolately, vanilla-y, pudding-y goodness.

Note: If you don’t let it set up in the fridge, you’ll have a big, gooey mess.  However, the cake really does taste best at room temperature, or slightly warmer.  I recommend letting it set as directed, then serving cake and allowing to come to room temperature before eating.


  1. Beautiful – that looks delicious. How can one possibly resist a good chocolate cake?!

  2. Matthew says:

    We’ve been making our own vanilla extract for a few years. The two vanilla beans I used were ones that had already been used to make vanilla extract. If you used a fresh bean you could probably just use one and maybe even omit the extract, but this is a great way to use the beans leftover after making extract.

  3. Laura says:

    This looks VERY tasty!!

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