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Chocolate Fudgey Puddin' Cake

Bianca Phillips / Bianca Phillips

Chocolate Fudgey Puddin' Cake

As part of's ongoing Recipe Vault series, food bloggers and network stars share how recipes connect us to those we’ve lost.

Bianca Phillips is the author of Cookin' Crunk: Eatin' Vegan in the Dirty South, a soulful collection of down-home comfort food recipes made without meats, eggs, dairy, or other animal by-products. She lives in Memphis with her partner Paul, two mutts, six cats and a rescued squirrel, and blogs daily at Vegan Crunk, where she posts photos of everyday eats, recipes, reviews and the occasional adorable cat picture. Here, she shares one recipe that reminds her of someone she loves and misses.

How did you first get interested in cooking?

Bianca: I kind of grew up in the kitchen, with my mom and my grandma both. I would follow them around. When I was 14, I went vegetarian [and] started cooking for myself a lot more, because my mom didn't really get it at first. I would come up with my own weird recipes. [But] many of the recipes in the cookbook are things they made when I was a kid that I have veganized.

What’s your favorite thing about cooking?

Bianca: Well, probably eating. Can I say that? I love cooking, but I cook to eat... It's also very meditative, I think, when you're dicing things and stirring and measuring.

What's one recipe that reminds you of someone you've lost?

Bianca: My Chocolate Fudgey Puddin' Cake, from my book, Cookin' Crunk. This is actually a recipe that my grandma gave me to include in the book.

Growing up, any time Granny made dessert for a holiday or just after dinner, we always knew that my Pa [my grandfather] would finish it off. It was never an issue of, "I've got to send you home with the cake," because Pa would eat it. He loved dessert so much. I remember he always had those little hand pies around. So this recipe really reminds me of him… it's chocolate, and he loved chocolate. It's a simple cake that's not necessarily the kind of thing you'd bring to a party, because it's not pretty. It's just a frosting-less chocolate cake with pudding underneath, but it's delicious.

My Pa died in December 2012, right after Christmas. He was alive when she made [this cake] for me first, and I tried it with her. My memory of that time is vague – I remember trying it, but I don't remember the day. But I'm certain that he finished off whatever we didn't eat that day. You know, I tried a bite, my mom probably tried a bite, and my grandma tried a little bit, and I'm sure Pa finished the rest of it off. That's the way any kind of dessert went, growing up with him.

If you were to be remembered by one recipe, what would it be?

Bianca: Definitely Southern cooking. That's mostly what I eat, because it's where I live. As far as from my book, the recipe that has gotten the most traction on the internet would be my Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy. [But] my favorite recipe from the book, and one I would hope people would remember me for, is the Country Fried Tempeh Steak with Soymilk Gravy. It's my favorite thing in the whole book. It's a fried recipe, and I think people are kind of scared to fry things. And maybe people are also concerned about health stuff. But I like to fry things.

Chocolate Fudgey Puddin’ Cake

[Note from Bianca: “This is basically like a layer of cake with a layer of chocolate pudding underneath it. It's a really cool recipe because you make the cake batter and put it in the pan, make the dry ingredients for the pudding, sprinkle the dry stuff over the cake batter, and then just pour hot water over it and put it in the oven. And somehow, through some sort of magic, the cake rises to the top and the pudding sinks to the bottom.]

Cake layer

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup soymilk

1/3 cup soy margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pudding layer

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 1/4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan.

Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant coffee, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Beat the soymilk, margarine, and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Pour batter into the cake pan. Set aside.

To make the pudding layer, stir together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and instant coffee in a medium mixing bowl.

Using your hands, sprinkle the dry pudding mixture evenly over the cake batter layer in the cake pan. Pour the hot water evenly over the top. Do not stir. As the cake bakes, the pudding layer will sink to the bottom and the cake will rise to the top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the center appears to be almost set. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Serve warm by spooning into dessert dishes and top with soy ice cream if desired.

Written by Linnea Crowther. Find her on Google+.