Thursday, September 9, 2010

A tale of two puddings

I confess: the flowery wedding cupcakes were something beautiful in a time when things definitely weren't (aren't?).  They turned out lovely, for people in love, in the middle of a series of personal and baking-related flops.  The next few posts will be dedicated to sharing these little kitchen monsters with you.  

Like this one:

Which I fortunately corrected by making this one:

The last time I made something that turned out truly awful was with a sad little batch of brownies.  Everything went wrong.  I was distracted. I was stupid.  The same thing happened this week, but with self-saucing pudding cake.

My thought process went something like this: "Oh hey-- life blows.  I'll make a chocolate pudding cake because I ate them growing up and they were awesome and how could this go wrong?"  Well, let me count the ways:

1.  I don't, unless in a very specific mood as I was when I made the mexican chocolate tofu pudding, like cinnamon to fuck around with my chocolate.  So the recipe had that stacked against it.  (Yes, I realize I could have easily left it out).

2.  I misread the recipe.  It called for 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa plus 1/4, which (not so) clearly meant that the last 1/4 should be added to the sauce portion.  So I essentially doubled the cocoa in the cake. This normally might be awesome, but it kind of tasted like shit anyhow, so it just really turned out like tar.

3. I underbaked it.  This is a problem with all self-saucing pudding cake attempts: I never know when the fucking thing is done.  There always seems to be some sloppy shit in the middle, a blob that just can't make up its mind: pudding or cake? pudding or cake?  So I decided for it, took it out of the oven, then it realized it actually wanted to be cake after all, I tried to bake it more, and then gave up and ate it marsh-like.

Overall, you can see that it turned out like a sad little sticky tar pit.  

So I decided to try again, but this time with my favourite recipe from my mom.  The cake was fluffy and perfectly cooked.  The sauce was the delicious chocolate I knew and loved.  All was right in the world.  See?

To be fair, I don't blame this recipe (entirely), I blame me.  So if you want to try it and not be a dumbass in the process, please let me know how it turns out.

Brownie pudding cake
From Sara's Kitchen
Serves 4-6

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups boiling water
powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch square baking dish or round souffle dish. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and 1/3 cup cocoa in medium bowl. Add milk, butter and vanilla, stir until just blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared dish.

Combine brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Pour boiling water over entire mixture; do not stir.

Bake 35 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the top layer comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

And my favourite:

Baked Fudge Pudding

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
(optional-- I don't add them for obvious reasons) 3/4 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup coca
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups boiling water

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with the milk. Add nuts if you so desire and they won't try to kill you.

Spoon batter into a greased pudding dish or a 9'x9' cake pan

Combine cocoa, brown sugar, and sprinkle over pudding batter.  Gently pour the boiling water over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes (I find it needs about 35), until a toothpick comes out clean.  


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