Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe

María del Mar Sacasa

Pudding cake is just what the title advertises: pudding and cake. The wondrous part is that both components materialize in the same pan. Batter is spread in a pan, then sprinkled with a sugar and cocoa powder mixture and liquid. This top layer filters down, essentially swapping places with the batter. The result is a layer of cake floating on top of pudding.


  • Maldon is a type of sea salt with a large, flaky, crunchy texture. It is available in many supermarkets as well as specialty markets and online.
  • Use a stainless steel nonstick skillet to brown the butter. A dark-bottomed skillet will make it difficult to see the butter as its color begins to change.
  • Cake leftovers may be refrigerated and reheated before serving.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • For the Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 1/3 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
  • For the Salted Caramel Cake Layer:
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 1/3 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon (See Notes)


  1. For the Chocolate Pudding Layer: Stir espresso powder into boiling water; reserve.

  2. In medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, sugar, and brown sugar; reserve.

  3. For the Salted Caramel Cake Layer: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

  4. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Dampen clean pastry brush with water and wipe down any sugar crystals from sides of pan. Boil mixture, swirling (but not stirring) pan occasionally, until sugar turns deep amber, 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and add cream; mixture will bubble and sputter. Return to heat and stir over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

  5. In small or medium stainless steel skillet (See Notes), melt butter over medium heat. Cook butter, swirling pan occasionally, until beginning to foam. As foam settles, brown bits of butter will become visible at the bottom of the pan (5 to 7 minutes). Immediately remove from heat and stir into reserved caramel.

  6. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined. Whisk in milk and caramel-brown butter mixture.

  7. Slowly whisk wet mixture into dry mixture, mixing only until combined. With rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan.

  8. Sprinkle batter evenly with reserved cocoa-sugar mixture, then slowly and evenly pour coffee over powder mixture. Bake until sides of cake pull away from sides of pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool 30 minutes prior to serving (it will still be warm). Sprinkle with Maldon salt, if desired, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Special equipment

8-inch square cake pan, medium heavy-bottomed saucepan , pastry brush, small or medium stainless steel skillet, whisk, cooling rack