I tried to find out about the history of this old-fashioned dessert the old-fashioned way: online. (I bet you thought I went to the library, the one with the extensive section on the history of chocolate desserts.) According to unreliable internet sources, this chocolate cake that makes its own fudge sauce was invented in the early 1920s by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge when she was a student at Vassar College.
Okay, I got pretty excited that someone from my alma mater invented a dessert. Vassar students are a pretty brainy bunch, so you would expect that they would be out there inventing some genius scientific breakthrough device instead of fudge. But let’s put it in perspective. Chocolate is important, too. How could those smart-aleck inventors get through their experiments without their afternoon dose? We all need chocolate. Even those of us who squeaked by with a degree in French, and then went on to study French pastry. Perhaps it was not what my parents envisioned as they were paying the tuition bills. (Heads up, college boy, don’t even THINK of doing something like that.) The point is, chocolate is essential, especially on Valentine’s Day.
Frankly, I don’t really buy it that Emelyn could have invented this one in her dorm room. I’ve seen the dorm rooms. They’re kind of cool in an old-fashioned, Victorian way. In fact, the dorm Emelyn lived in
Victorian. The rooms definitely didn’t have ovens. Never mind. Just make it. It is incredibly easy to do, and if the dorm rooms
have ovens, it would make sense that this chocolate pudding cake could have been invented in one.
And another thing. Emelyn would be scratching her head from the great beyond if you told her that her recipe is also vegan.
Chocolate pudding cake
When you bake this pudding, the cake part rises to the top, leaving a fudgey sauce that sinks to the bottom. The pudding puffs and bubbles in the oven and then sinks as it cools. Not to worry. The little crater in the center begs to be filled with vanilla ice cream, a mandatory addition to tame the intensity of the chocolate. You may bake the pudding a few hours ahead of time and warm it in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. If you are making this for your valentine, save the extra desserts to celebrate twice, or spread the love and have a Valentine’s Day family dinner.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
In a small bowl, mix sugar and cocoa together until blended.
1 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup water
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over hot but not boiling water. Alternatively, heat at 50 percent power in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in another bowl.
4. Stir the sugar, milk, orange rind, and vanilla into the bowl of melted butter and chocolate, until blended. Stir in the flour mixture, until blended. Divide the batter evenly among four (7- or 8-ounce) ramekins, using about 1/4 cup batter for each.
5. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the topping evenly over each ramekin. Pour 3 tablespoons water on top, and set the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until top bubbles and puffs. Let rest for10 minutes. Serve while warm topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
More chocolate recipes from this blog you might want to explore: