Cakes The Book

40. Warm Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake p.740

the recipe

I can’t say that I pulled this off with the grace or style of Julia Child, I hope that I honored her commitment to salvaging disasters with this dish. The concept here is basically an upside down cake. The bottom of the pan has a chocolate pudding layer, and then a cake batter goes in on top. The Book says that “When the cake is inverted on the a cake plate a few minutes after it emerges from the oven, it is instantly bathed with a rich, creamy, oozy frosting.”

My version did involve some oozing, but that was mostly cake batter spilling over the sides of my pan and onto the bottom of my oven, where it provided that smoky barbecue flavour that is so valued in fine pastry making. I think what ended up on the bottom of the oven was mostly the “pudding” part, and what was left mixed in with the top layer of cake. It came out as normal cake topped by extra moist yet somehow burnt cake. As the picture indicates it didn’t come out of the pan without a fight either. But, I forged ahead, topped it with some powdered sugar and hoped for the best.

I can explain the bit of burning and setting of the pudding that occurred, because I baked this before I got an oven thermometer. I now know that the oven is always 25 degrees hotter than I think it is. However, the spillover is inexplicable. I used the right size pan, and it spilled over within the first 5 minutes of baking. I’d go with a 10 inch plate if I were to make it again.

The recipe calls for seedless raspberry jam. I couldn’t find any anywhere, so I was reduced to running a jar of seeded jam through a fine mesh sieve. This was far more annoying than I ever would have expected.

I was pleasantly surprised when my guests and I set into it. The cake had a nice super-moist texture, and there was great chocolate-raspberry flavour. Unfortunately, like almost all deserts in the book, it was cloyingly sweet. My guests and my dining companion had nothing but good things to say about it, and when we talked about this cake yesterday she only remembered how delicious it was. I thought the book was just into sweet sweets, but it turns out other people are too.

Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of the cake, it didn’t work out anywhere near how I’d expected it to, and it left me with a lot of oven cleanup to do. However, it delighted my guests, and after all entertaining is about pleasing them and not yourself. I’ll have to give this a higher rating than I think it deserves out of deference to the palates of my friends.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

11 replies on “40. Warm Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake p.740”

The recipe calls for not unsweetened choc but maybe you’d like it more if you did use unsweetened choc?

Good idea. I think I’d reduce it to 1/4 cup of brown and 1/4 cup of white sugar next time. Probably not that much sweetness coming from the chocolate. Of course, messing with the proportions of dry / wet ingredients is inviting disaster, I’d do a trial run before attempting to serve an altered cake to the company.

i found your cake was absolutley delicious and i would recomend it to all my friends (not!) it was absalutley horrible!i was sick streight after (and no its not my cooking its your recipie
that causes it your poisioning the world!!

Wow… I’m sorry. This cake wasn’t really my thing, but my guests really did enjoy it. I wouldn’t have expected such a strong reaction. The commenters at epicurious generally like it, and have a few tips for making it better

I’m not sure if their suggestions will help with the poisoning the world problem though.
Hope you feel better,

I have made this cake many times and it is FABULOUS!! I buy raspberry jam and put it through my food mill with with the tiniest hole disc. It never ceases to wow guests and I even used it for a demonstration at a friend’s cooking class for an example of a chocolate dessert and they LOVED it! It is in my Tried and True folder.

Excellent, once I finish the project this is a recipe I’d be interested in trying again. Mine was pretty good, but I’d be interested to see how it tastes when the recipe goes right.

I am glad you want to repeat this recipe as it really is good. I found it needed a longer baking time than the recipe indicates. Also, some of the topping sticks in the pan–no big deal, just scrape it onto the cake and smooth the top. I got the most intense raspberry flavor when I used homemade seedless raspberry jam–yowsah!! Am I sounding very Martha Stewart? I remove seeds when I make it so the flavor it intense and really shines in this cake. I don’t always have homemade so use storebought and remove seeds.

I’m planning a batch of raspberry jam this summer, so maybe the repeat will happen sooner than expected. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

My wife insists that I make this cake for all special occasions. Absolutely loves it. I’m getting a teeny bit bored with it, but it is pretty tasty.

As for seedless jam? It’s nearly impossible to find. I’ve found it a couple times, but it never gets restocked. Use the seeded. No one ever notices or cares about the raspberry seeds in the goopy pudding top.

Getting bored is never a problem for us because I’m not allowing myself to repeat any recipes in the desserts sections, or else I’ll never get them all done. Good tip on the jam, it really is a pain to filter it out if you don’t have a food mill.

You will possibly find that it’s not precise enough and is regulated over too high a temperature range. Cooking takes place over a range of 100-250F and a degree of inaccuracy of + or – 10F is not critical. Cooking thermometers will reflect this.

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