This recipe for hot fudge pudding cake is so fun and easy to make! In the oven, the layers of pudding and cake magically separate. Warm, ooey, gooey, and delicious!

Hot fudge pudding cake is definitely in the running for favorite dessert of all time. It checks all the boxes: ultra-chocolatey, warm and gooey, perfect with ice cream.

Hot fudge pudding cake on white plate with ice cream.

How to Make Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot fudge pudding cake starts with a pretty typical chocolate cake batter.

It is mixed together by hand (no electric mixer needed, although you could use one if you wanted to). Once the chocolate chips are stirred in, the batter will be pretty stiff. Totally ok; totally normal!

Up to this point, everything is looking like your every day chocolate cake baking session. But this is the point at which things change from “every day chocolate cake” to “other-worldly, incredible hot fudge pudding cake.”

Hold on to your whisks. It’s about to get fun and a little crazy.

How does the pudding layer form in hot fudge pudding cake?

There are a couple important steps in achieving the perfect pudding layer underneath tender chocolate cake.

  1. Spread the cake batter evenly in a 9X13-inch baking pan
  2. Cover the top of the cake batter with a dry mixture of cocoa powder + sugar
  3. Pour boiling water carefully over the entire top of the cake
  4. IMMEDIATELY place in the oven to bake

During baking, the water + sugar/cocoa mixture sinks below the leavened cake batter to form the pudding layer on the bottom.

Hot fudge pudding cake bakes for slightly less time than a traditional chocolate cake in order for the pudding and cake layers to form and set up perfectly.

So while I say this all the time, I really mean it now: DON’T OVER BAKE THIS CAKE. Other wise you’ll be left with a pretty delicious and ultra-soft chocolate cake…but very little to no pudding layer. And that would be a travesty.

You’ll know the cake is done when the top is puffy and crackly and the pudding layer is bubbling and hot.

A slight wiggle of the pan will generate a slight jiggle to the center of the cake. Embrace the jiggle. You want to see a little jiggle!

Let the cake cool for a few minutes before digging in to allow the cake and pudding to set up just a bit.

I mean, look at that pudding layer. GLORIOUS.

Top down view of hot fudge pudding cake in white 9X13-inch dish with portion removed.

Ice Cream’s Perfect Cake

Hot fudge pudding cake is ice cream’s perfect companion.

And while I’ve been known to sneak nibbles of leftover hot fudge pudding cake (don’t even ask how there are leftovers) from the fridge by the chilled spoonful, nothing beats enjoying the cake warm with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream.

This cake has been a staple for nearly two decades. My son made it for himself weekly during a long six-week jaw surgery recovery. 💙 And it is an oft-requested Sunday dessert at our house.

I took my old beloved favorite recipe and made it even better for a 9X13-inch pan, because let’s be honest, a small pan of this amazing cake hasn’t been cutting it with our crew for years.

Hot fudge pudding cake new and improved! Don’t go another day without making it.

Spoonful of ooey gooey hot fudge pudding cake on white plate.

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Spoonful of decadent hot fudge pudding cake on white plate.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake {9X13-inch Pan}

5 stars (5 ratings)

Ingredients

Topping:

  • ¾ cup (159 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (29 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake:

  • 2 cups (248 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (43 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup (242 g) milk, preferably not skim
  • ½ cup (114 g) butter, melted
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups (436 g) boiling water

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • For the topping, whisk the sugar and cocoa powder together until well-combined. Set aside.
  • For the cake, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  • To the dry ingredients, add the milk, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk together until just combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine evenly; the batter will be fairly stiff.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle sugar/cocoa topping evenly over the top of the cake batter.
  • Carefully pour the boiling water over the top. Do not stir.
  • Immediately bake the cake until the top is puffy and slightly cracked, sauce is bubbling and a toothpick inserted into cakey area comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 22-25 minutes. Over baking may result in a very thin or nonexistent pudding layer, so keep an eye on the baking time.
  • Cool the cake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 397kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 321mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 40g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from this 8X8-inch version)