Friday, June 1, 2012

Kahlùa Pudding Cake

My sister's birthday was this week. Since I'm such a good sister, I made her a cake. I also babysat G-man so that she and Rich could have a nice dinner. I've been wanting to make this pudding cake for weeks now, and I figured I should make it for my sister and Rich because it's pretty much guaranteed to get eaten. Rich would eat this for breakfast if he could get away with it.

My sister said that since it's her birthday cake she can eat it out of the pan with a fork if she wants. Rock on, man. It's a seriously rich dessert that is only enhanced by a dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Oh the black hole that is the granite in this kitchen. Easy ingredients: Cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, kahlùa + water, egg yolk, milk, butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract.

We start by combining the flour, baking powder, salt, and half the cocoa powder and brown sugar. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder for this because I wanted that richness dark chocolate gives. And while we're on the subject, I know Hershey's isn't super fancy. Would I love to use Scharffen Berger cocoa powder? Sure, but that's not always an option. Plus, the overwhelming flavor in this cake is Kahlùa, so using a super-high quality cocoa powder isn't all that necessary.

 Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and milk.

And don't forget the melted butter!

Stir it up to get it relatively lump-free. A few are fine, but just make sure all the big ones are gone. It's thick and almost like a brownie batter.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x9 pan. It might seem a little thin but just trust that the baking powder will do its job and the cake will rise.

 Take the other halves of the brown sugar and cocoa powder and mix them with a whisk.

 Again, try to break up the big lumps. You can also break them up with your fingers as you sprinkle it over the cake.

 Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cake batter.

 Then sprinkle the brown sugar-cocoa mixture over the chips.

 And this is what makes it a pudding cake. Pour the Kahlùa-water mixture over the whole thing but don't stir it! Just put it in the oven.

 Bake until the cake is mostly set around the edges, about 30 minutes.

 Oh we can't forget about the whipped cream. All you need is heavy whipping cream, a little sugar, and vanilla.

 Combine them in a bowl.

 Use either the whisk attachment to your stand mixer or a hand mixer. Actually you can use a whisk too, but that'll take a good bit of elbow grease. After a couple of minutes you can see the cream is starting to thicken and really coat the beaters.

Another couple of minutes and you have barely-stiff peaks begging for a quick taste with a finger. Obviously I acquiesced.

 I could eat bowls of whipped cream just by itself. A dollop on top of this cake is just so completely necessary.

A gooey pudding layer mixed with a moist and tender cake with a serious hit of Kahlùa? I'm so in. And so is my sister. As Rich said, that is solid.

Kahlùa Pudding Cake (makes one 9x9 cake)
Adapted from Not Without Salt

1 c flour
1 c dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder, divided (Recommended: Hershey's Special Dark blend)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 stick (4 tbs) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c Kahlùa + 1/4 c water
1 c whipping cream
1 scant tsp granulated sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9x9 square pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk, egg yolk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and melted butter. Make sure to break up any big lumps.
  • Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cake batter. Take the remaining brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cocoa-brown sugar mixture over the chocolate chips. Pour the Kahlùa-water mixture over the whole pan but do not stir.
  • Bake 30-34 minutes or until the edges are just set and the middle is still jiggly. Let cool 20 minutes.
  • While cake cools, make the whipped cream. Combine the cream, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on high speed until the cream has thickened and forms soft peaks. Turn the speed down and beat until the whipped cream makes barely stiff peaks. Take care not to over-beat or you will end up with butter. Serve the cake warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

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