The Nigella Diaries: About Chocolate

In the introduction to this recipe – which she calls Sticky Chocolate Pudding – Nigella tells us that her family refers to this as Lemon Surprise; the surprise being that there is no lemon.

Seriously though, Nigella’s Sticky Chocolate Pudding is essentially a self-saucing pudding. And, on account of the fact that it uses both cocoa and dark chocolate buttons in the sponge and about 120g of cocoa in the sauce – a very rich one at that. In fact, as tasty as it was – and it was extremely luxurious – a little bit of this goes a very long way indeed.

The verdict was, in fact, that while it was nice, my family prefers the self-saucing pudding that I’ve been making since I was a teenager and is so foolproof that I’ve even cooked it in a camp or Dutch oven over a campfire. It’s even quick enough to whip up as a midweek after dinner treat.

Nigella, your lemon surprise is pretty fabulous – and I’ll be keeping it for those occasions where deep deep solace is required – but for everyday comfort, I’ll be sticking with my tried and true classic – the recipe of which is below. You’re welcome.

What you need for the cake…

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 80g melted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • I teaspoon vanilla
  • 1egg, lightly beaten

What you need for the sauce

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water

What you do with it

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Butter the dish that you’re using – a 20cm round souffle dish would work, but I actually use a shallow pyrex style dish too… or a 2-quart Dutch oven when in the great outdoors.
  • Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl, stir in the sugar
  • Combine the egg, milk, vanilla and cooled butter in a jug and slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined and smooth. Spoon into the prepared dish.
  • To make the sauce, sprinkle the combined sugar and cocoa over the pudding
  • Carefully pour over the boiling water and place into the oven for about 30 minutes – until crusty on the outside and soft and squidgy on the inside.
  • Serve with cream, ice cream, custard or a combination of all of the above.

I’ve taken on the challenge to cook my way through Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat. You can find more episodes here.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

21 thoughts

  1. Your tried and true classic self saucing Chocolate pudding recipe looks very similar to my mother-in-law’s recipe which I have actually shared on my blog. It’s a firm favourite. Easy to do and soooo delicious! Yum Yum! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. Lol…but no, I called the series About Roast Chicken – it’s because that’s the first recipe in the book and she starts with talking about roast chicken.

  2. I love that you’ve out-puddinged Nigella Jo – high five to you! Sometimes too much chocolate can actually be a thing – although my husband wouldn’t necessarily agree with me on that!

  3. Now I really feel like chocolate or pudding…..especially as my bowl of banana, kiwi fruit and yoghurt just hit the deck before I took a single mouthful!

  4. I am sure Nigella is feeling rebuffed but I totally get that sometimes too much chocolate can be too rich and there is a lot to be said for the more restrained classic desserts and cakes that we grow up with. I love a self saucing pudding.

  5. Hi Jo, not sure this fits with my #FitFabFeb2019 but it sure looks decadent. You are inspiring me to bring back our special Saturday night dinners Chez Moi so this will be on the dessert menu for sure. Have a great weekend and hope you can relax after your big week in Sydney. xx

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