Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

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I don’t know where Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding originated from, but it’s certainly been a dessert favourite of Kiwis for decades now. And why wouldn’t it be? Soft, spongy chocolate cake doused in fudgy chocolate sauce and served with lashings of cream – need I say more?

What’s pretty cool about this recipe is that the sauce creates itself in a kind of spooky and magical way. Let me explain… you make the pudding by layering the sponge batter on the bottom of the dish, then adding the sauce ingredients on top. During its time in the oven the ingredients do a flip-flop and you end up with the sauce on the bottom and the sponge floating on top. How can you not believe in miracles?

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I often read from reviewers of self-saucing pudding recipes, that there’s not enough sauce. Let me assure you right here and now… there is plenty. There is A LOT of sauce. There is, in fact, an entire ‘lake’ of sauce with a little bit of sponge floating on top of it! So, for all you sauce lovers out there who can never get enough sauce in their self-saucing puddings, you need go no further than this recipe.

Speaking of which, I must thank Julian from NZ Favourite for this superlative recipe – I have to admit I scoffed a large plate of it for dessert, followed by more at breakfast the next morning (that’s how I love it most – cold, straight from the fridge).

You could, of course, easily dress up the flavours a bit – perhaps add a shot of coffee to the sauce, with a teaspoon of coffee powder in the sponge… Or, maybe some orange liqueur in the sauce and orange zest in the sponge… Or, how about just adding some dates or walnuts to the sponge instead? All sorts of possibilities and all sorts of reasons I’ll be needing to make this pudding again real soon! Enjoy!!

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Serves 6

Ingredients: (This recipe uses metric measurements – click here for Unit Converter)

For the sponge:

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (use good quality)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water

To serve:

  • Extra cocoa powder or icing sugar (confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
  • Whipped cream (or ice-cream)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Put a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. For the sponge: In a large bowl mix together sugar and cocoa powder (it’s best to sift the cocoa to avoid big lumps later on!).
  3. Melt the butter and mix in with the sugar and cocoa powder. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.
  4. Add in the milk and vanilla, then mix well (it will be very thick, so I suggest using an electric beater).
  5. Spoon the mixture into a casserole type dish (around 20 x 25cm or 8 x 10 inch) so it comes no more than a third of the way up the side (you will need the extra room for the water), and level it off with the back end of a spoon.
  6. For the sauce: In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the brown and white sugar, as well as the cocoa powder (crush any large lumps in the brown sugar). Layer this dry mixture evenly over the surface of the pudding.
  7. Now, carefully pour the boiling water across the surface of the mixture (to avoid disturbing the layer beneath, gently pour the boiling water over an upturned spoon).
  8. Carefully transfer the dish to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes (start checking from 30 minutes). The sponge will be dry to the touch, cracking and pulling away from the sides of the dish, with the sauce bubbling up around it. Take the pudding out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  9. To serve: Serve either warm, or at room temperature, or cold from the fridge the next morning with a dusting of cocoa or icing sugar and lashings of whipped cream!

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting


8 thoughts on “Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

  1. Yum I love this pudding, I’m 5 kg away from my goal weight (lost 12 kg so far) but I might just splurge and make this in the weekend 😍

          1. well done! Yes I went hard core, I allow myself to odd treat cos you have to, but it’s one chocolate, not half a block, three biscuits, not most of a packet. I haven’t baked at all cos there is only me to feed 😍

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