Over the years I've played around with it, trying many different variations: low fat milk instead of water, coffee instead of water, adding cinnamon and hot pepper, and so on....this is my latest and I think my favorite variation: Peanut Butter Swirl.
By adding 4 tablespoons of creamy organic peanut butter into the batter you get a gooey baked Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in cake form made with really good ingredients!
Just be sure you use organic peanut butter none of that stuff with high fructose Corn Syrup or dubious hydrogenated tropical oils. No need to destroy the rain forest, become obese, get diabetes and support Monsanto just because you want a little peanut butter in your chocolate pudding cake.
Whole Foods sells a reasonably price peanut butter and they offer an unsweetened version which I highly recommend.
Try it, you'll like it.
Chocolate Pudding Cake with a Peanut Butter Twist
First preheat the oven to 325 F and butter an 8" square pan (I used my clay dish it's 8 x 11 and worked just fine, I just cook it a little less).
In a bowl add 3/4 cups brewed coffee (I used left over from that morning) with 3/4 cups hot water (you can use all water if you want, I have a friend who is very coffee phobic and even though I don't think you actually can taste the coffee in this dish, he could). Put aside.
In another bowl add 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup brown sugar tightly packed and 1/3 cup cane sugar and mix together into a fine powder. Put aside
Add 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped) and 1/3 cup cocoa in a bowl and place over a barely simmering pot of water, stirring until completely melted and mixed together. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix together 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 cup of all purpose flour.
In a large bowl (I know, this is a bowl heavy recipe) whisk 2/3 cups cane sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1/3 cup whole milk (or half and half) and 1 Tablespoon of amber rum, scotch or Vanilla.
Add chocolate mixture and whisk until it is well incorporated then add the flour mixture. Mix until just blended. Spoon out into buttered pan.
Now here's the fun part: spoon 4 tablespoons of creamy organic unsweetened Peanut Butter into each corner of the batter and swirl around (I used a butter knife).
Then sprinkle with the cocoa sugar mixture.
And finally, cover with the water/coffee mixture.
Pop in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes. Check on it at the 35 minute point, this is one of those cakes that the more you cook it the less pudding on the bottom you will have. Up to you, but I like it to be half and half pudding and cake so I usually take it out of the oven at the 35 minute point. See how it's looking, if it's still really wobbly give it more time.
Add some unsweetened whipped cream and dig in! And if you did use rum or scotch offer your guest a sip on the side, it can only enhance the experience. ;-)