Chocolate pudding cakes are wonderful desserts that are perfect for treating yourself on a lazy night in. They’re delicious and easy to make, with a two-part batter that bakes into a separate cake and sauce in one dish in the oven. Pudding cakes are often baked in large casserole dishes and are simply spooned out to serve. This casual presentation means that, while they’re certainly indulgent, they’re rarely anyone’s top choice for an elegant dinner party dessert. One way to give your pudding cakes a visual upgrade is to bake them in ramekins and turn one large casserole into decadent individual portions.
These Irish Coffee Chocolate Pudding Cakes are inspired by Irish coffee, a classic coffee drink made with whipped cream and Irish whiskey. The coffee drink will warm you up on a cold night and this dessert, served warm, will do the same.
The pudding cakes start with a chocolate batter that has a generous dose of instant espresso in it. The cake uses cocoa powder for a deep, bittersweet chocolate flavor that works well with the coffee. The cake batter is portioned into ramekins, then each is topped with a combination of extra ingredients that help to form the sauce while the cakes bake. I describe the sauce ingredients as a “topping” in the recipe below because the ingredients are not mixed together before they are added to the ramekins. Instead, they are simply added to the top of each cake (like a “topping”) and become a sauce as the cake bakes. The sauce includes a dose of Irish whiskey for each dessert and you’ll get a subtle hint of it in each serving, though this has much, much less alcohol per serving than the coffee cocktail does. Serve the pudding cakes warm for best results.
The pudding cakes will be nicely puffed when they come out of the oven but, like a souffle, they will fall as they cool. The steam in the airy cake keeps the cake rising high while it is in the oven, however the whole dessert is so moist (there is a pudding layer under there!) that it simply sinks slightly as it cools. You’ll still get the lovely layers of cake and sauce in every bite, however. I like to serve mine plain, but you can use the sunken cake to your advantage by filling the depression with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream before serving.
Individual Irish Coffee Chocolate Pudding Cakes
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
or 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp brown sugar
6 tsp (3 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tbsp Irish whiskey
3/4 cup hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350F. Place 6 8-oz ramekins on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in cocoa powder, instant espresso powder and vanilla extract until ingredients are well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture. Divide mixture evenly into prepared ramekins.
Top each ramekin with 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp Irish whisky and 2 tbsp hot coffee. Do not mix.
Place tray with ramekins in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops of the puddings are set and the sauce is bubbling slightly around the edges of the ramekins.
Allow puddings to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.