Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yippee! It's National Chocolate Pudding Day & A Quick Picnic Game Update

I was just about to tell you how much I LOVE chocolate pudding, when I realized, I proclaim an awful lot of love on this blog, and your blogs, for all things sweet and decadent! How boring...Who am I kidding, I LOVE Chocolate Pudding and that's that!!!

Here's a foolproof and oh so decadent recipe I found in a small unassuming book titled Desserts and Puddings by Anne Wilson. Don't get me wrong, this magical dessert and I have been "bosom buddies" for quite a looooonnnnnggggg time:) I think so highly of this recipe, that I'm actually going to retype it rather than just scan it.

Here's what happened. As I told you, I discovered the perfect Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe to include in today's post, quite frankly, rather quickly. I knew the book, where it was and that it included a picture, which is sometimes not the case, when deciding on books and recipes for posts:) Anyway, rather than scan it, I thought you may be more tempted to give it a try if I typed instead. So type I did. Curious as to the "science" of self saucing and the history of Chocolate Pudding Cake, I took a quick leap to google for a quick search. Well, as luck would have it, I did indeed find a sorta kinda explanation for the science but not so much about the history. Instead, I "bumped" into this Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding Recipe @ Leite's Culinaria. Delighted to find a recipe which individualized these explosions of goodness, I copied the link to share. However, I just happened to do such a thing while the recipe I had just typed out and previously copied was not pasted into this post! Oh How I detest when that happens...So, I give you Chocolate Pudding Cake; Retyped:)

Chocolate Pudding Cake
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. cocoa powder (I suggest using your favorite very best good quality cocoa powder)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar (extra; see directions)
3 tbs. sifted cocoa powder (extra; see directions)

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Brush a deep 8-cup ovenproof dish with melted butter
2. Sift flour, baking powder and 4 teaspoons of cocoa into a large bowl, add the 1/2 cup sugar and stir well. Make a well in the center.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and add the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour liquid into the well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined. Pour into ovenproof dish.
4. Combine the extra cocoa in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the pudding mixture. Gently pour 1-1/2 cups of boiling water over the back of a spoon onto the pudding mixture. (This helps the liquid to evenly spread out, without leaving a hole in the batter) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. A sauce will have formed underneath the cake so it may be difficult to tell when it is done. Serve immediately with whipped cream or ice cream. (I sometimes wait until the "sauce" has thickened a bit before serving. It gets more pudding like while the cake gets more brownie like. Also, it's delicious cold or the next day!)

Why oh why? The "science" behind this recipe is right up there with the mystery of Tunnel of Fudge Cake. However, with these recipes, you don't have to worry about finding the "proper" box of frosting mix and it is just as heavenly. I'm assuming, according to what I could piece together from various websites, that the reason the layers separate so deliciously is because one is lighter than the other. Sorry, further investigation is needed. You will be pleasantly deceived into thinking you are shoveling your way into a cake like brownie soufflé when all of a sudden, an ooze of gooey chocolate goodness will erupt like lava. Another unique feature of this recipe is its portability. You can mix up the bottom layer, prepare your ovenproof ramekins, baking pan or oven safe mugs and when you’re ready to bake, just add the ingredients from the top layer and bake. How cool is that???

According to Jean Anderson in The American Century Cookbook:

"One of the most interesting cakes to come out of the 20th century, is this one from the makers of Mazola Corn Oil, which separates into layers as it bakes. The top becomes cake, and the bottom becomes pudding."

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Bottom Layer
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup corn oil (I'm sure you could use canola or even olive oil:)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top Layer
2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350° Grease a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.

BOTTOM LAYER: In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, nuts, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix in milk, corn oil, and vanilla. Spread in pan.

TOP LAYER: In small bowl, mix sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water evenly over mixture in pan.
Bake 45 minutes. Serve warm, or if you prefer, cold. Makes 8 servings.

With a soft cakelike top, and moist goozly bottom, these pudding cakes seemed to spring up all over the country in the Forties. Lemon and chocolate were the two favorite, although Betty Crocker's 1950 cookbook also gave recipes for lime, orange, and pineapple. The puddings have a comforting, old fashioned air that kept them popular into the Fifties, but doomed them in the Go-Go sixties. Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren p.147

I found a few variations for self-saucing pudding cakes which I have included in the resource section. It is now time for a Picnic Game Update!!!

Picnic Game Update

I'm ecstatic to announce all of the Picnic Game letters are "spoken" for. That's a record breaker, one week to be exact!!! Of course, I'm thrilled and you should be too!!! We have the best alphabetical group of picnic recipes you can imagine and the most innovative virtual online picnic game in the whole entire world!!! (You know anyone else whose playing the Picnic Game online:) Seriously, How cool is that!!! We have a few indescribably good surprises too!!!

If you haven't sent me your post yet, do try to get it in as soon as possible. Everyone is getting rather eager to throw out their blankets and enjoy a beautiful day of frolic and song. (Yes, stuffing your face is more than acceptable:) If, by chance, you decide you would like to include images in your Picnic Game post, or I've forgotten to send you an image, I've put the letters I have in their own Picasa album with a link to their "home" in the picnic basket. Depending on how the ABC links arrive, I'll either be posting another update on Tuesday or Wednesday. The excitement is beginning to stir, "see" ya then!!! Louise

FYI: Not only is June 27th National Orange Blossom Day, it is also the birth date of the famous Canadian woman who is credited with giving Thousand Island Dressing its name. Her name? Georgina May Campbell.

1. Classic Chocolate Pudding
2. Chocolate Pudding Cookies
3. Chocolate and Rhubarb Self-Saucing Pudding Cake @ Vegalicious
4. Chocolate-Hazelnut Self-Saucing Pudding
5. White Chocolate & Raspberry Self-Saucing Pudding
6. Chocolate Coconut Self Saucing Pudding
7. Low Carb Orange Blossom Cheesecake