Sticky Chocolate Pudding

Although I own many Nigella Lawson cookbooks (I just love her!) I don’t own this one, called How to Eat, published in 1709 according to Amazon. I probably should own it because her recipes are wonderful, like this one for sticky chocolate pudding. Of course when I saw this recipe online my mind went directly to sticky toffee pudding, which we love.

It turns out, according to Ms. Lawson: “This is a variant on lemon surprise pudding, in which the mixture divides on cooking to produce a sponge above the thick lemony sauce which forms below. Indeed, it is known in my house as Lemon Surprise Pudding: the surprise being that it’s chocolate.”

She adds: “Although I didn’t actually eat this as a child, it is heady with reminders of childhood foods: the hazelnuts in the sponge bring back memories of Nutella, the thick, dark, fudgy sauce of chocolate spread. It’s heavenly with fridge-cold double cream poured over it.”

I have never heard of lemon surprise pudding, but I’d much rather have a chocolate dessert, and I love the word “sticky” in the name!

I’ve made similar cakes by the well-known baker Richard Sax, and he referred to these as pudding cakes. It’s the same process, with hot water poured on top to produce a saucy, moist cake. I made a lemon pudding cake for the blog years ago.

I loved this “pudding,” but it’s impossible for me to not compare it to the sticky toffee version, which can’t be beat in my opinion!

Sticky Chocolate Pudding

3 ounces dark chocolate
5 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1.7 ounces ground almond meal
7 ounces superfine sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
1 large egg
6 ounces whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces dark brown sugar
4 ounces unsweetened cocoa (sifted after measuring)

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Chop the chocolate roughly into pieces.

Put the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl, stir in the ground nuts and sugar, and then add the chocolate pieces.

Whisk together the melted butter, egg, milk and vanilla and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir well and once thoroughly mixed, spoon into a buttered dish. (Either a 20cm / 8 inch standard white soufflé dish or a shallow dish 23cm / 9 inches square).

Now for the sauce, put the kettle on, and mix together the cocoa and brown sugar and sprinkle over the top of the pudding mixture in the dish.

Measure out 2 cups of freshly boiled water into a jug and then pour over the top of the pudding. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. (It is worth checking after 35-40 minutes if it is in a shallow dish.) The top should be firm and springy to the touch.

Take out of the oven and serve immediately, making sure everyone gets some sponge and sauce in their bowl.

It is also good with some double cream on the side.

Definitely check the cake at 40 minutes; mine probably could have used a few less minutes in the oven. But with the sauce and cream it was not a problem!

By Published On: March 30th, 202440 Comments on Sticky Chocolate Pudding

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Bernadette March 30, 2024 at 6:50 AM - Reply

    I love Nigella. She just cracks me up. Great recipe Mimi. Thanks for the share/

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 7:22 AM - Reply

      She is so smart and eloquent and hysterical!!!

  2. angiesrecipes March 30, 2024 at 7:26 AM - Reply

    The pudding looks really rich and delicious!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 9:31 AM - Reply

      It was very good. Loved it with the cream.

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen March 30, 2024 at 7:57 AM - Reply

    This looks really delicious! Anything chocolate makes me want to dive in.
    I remember my mom making the lemon surprise pudding cake; it was really trendy for a while, and we thought it was magic.

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 9:31 AM - Reply

      Oh funny! Pudding cakes are really good, and fortunately not terribly sweet.

  4. johnrieber March 30, 2024 at 7:59 AM - Reply

    That looks delicious!

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 9:30 AM - Reply

      Thanks! It really was.

  5. Karen March 30, 2024 at 12:02 PM - Reply

    It certainly is easy enough and I love a bite or two of chocolate every night after dinner.

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 6:15 PM - Reply

      You would love this!

  6. sherry March 30, 2024 at 6:16 PM - Reply

    oh yes i love these self-saucing puddings. The lemon version is called Lemon Delicious here in australia. I think How to eat was my first Nigella book that I bought, and i have most of her books. I do love me a chocolate pudding too :)

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 8:26 PM - Reply

      I do as well. I love listening to her as well as reading her writing. She’s wonderful!

  7. Gary March 30, 2024 at 6:24 PM - Reply

    This pudding looks magnificent.
    I’ve never been much of a reader. I’m grateful that Nigella Lawson has a TV presence which is easier for me than reading.

    • Chef Mimi March 30, 2024 at 8:26 PM - Reply

      And isn’t she just so beautiful! So nice to look at while you’re listening.

  8. CarolCooks2 March 30, 2024 at 8:50 PM - Reply

    I have to admit to never having made a self saucing pudding… I have oft been tempted to make the lemon version and never have …Having grandchildren who love anything chocolate and Lily who is staying with us for the school holidays methinks this is an ideal pudding for her to make.,.Thank you for sharing,,,I too am a Nigella fan :)

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2024 at 11:04 AM - Reply

      Oh wonderful! It’s definitely kid friendly! Love Nigella.

  9. Tandy | Lavender and Lime March 31, 2024 at 12:01 AM - Reply

    This looks so good. I’ve made a similar one with beer.

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2024 at 11:04 AM - Reply

      Interesting! My husband would probably prefer that version!

  10. March 31, 2024 at 7:06 AM - Reply

    I like Nigella and chocolate – it’s a win-win!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2024 at 11:04 AM - Reply

      Hahaha! Definitely!

  11. David Scott Allen March 31, 2024 at 10:29 AM - Reply

    Well, I must admit that I’m rather surprised to find a dessert recipe that you love! Two, in fact, as you also love sticky toffee pudding. I have to say that this does sound incredible. I love chocolate and hazelnuts combined, so I plan to make “lemon surprise pudding“ sometime soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2024 at 11:05 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome! Because of sticky toffee pudding, I just had to try this. It’s just no sticky toffee pudding. I can’t help but compare!

  12. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats March 31, 2024 at 11:43 AM - Reply

    Never made self-saucing pudding, not even sure why. This definitely motivates me to try it! :)

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2024 at 6:00 PM - Reply

      They’re really good, and fun!

  13. Ann Coleman April 1, 2024 at 5:03 PM - Reply

    Wow, does that look good!

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2024 at 8:18 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Ann!

  14. Charlie DeSando April 1, 2024 at 5:35 PM - Reply

    This is one chocolate dish I have never had, looks great Mimi

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2024 at 8:18 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Charlie!

  15. Jeff the Chef April 2, 2024 at 9:28 AM - Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a dessert like this. It looks amazing.

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2024 at 9:45 AM - Reply

      Oh, you’ll love it! It’s fun to make and eat.

  16. thatskinnychickcanbake April 3, 2024 at 7:42 AM - Reply

    I finally made sticky toffee pudding last year! So decadent. Maybe I can get Bill on board by making your version with chocolate. I just won’t mention the words sticky or toffee :)

    • Chef Mimi April 3, 2024 at 9:52 AM - Reply

      Hahahahahaha! Oh those husbands!

  17. Raymund April 4, 2024 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    I can’t wait to try making this pudding myself and experience its comforting and indulgent flavors firsthand. It’s definitely going on my list of must-try desserts!

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2024 at 6:17 PM - Reply

      I liked it a lot. The two textures plus the cream are a lovely combination!

  18. ingoodflavor April 4, 2024 at 9:08 PM - Reply

    Yum!! I haven’t had any of the puddings, but they are definitely my kind of desserts. I also really like the technique.

    • Chef Mimi April 5, 2024 at 7:20 AM - Reply

      You must try stick toffee pudding, if nothing else. It’s made with dates and is out of this world!

  19. Anonymous April 5, 2024 at 3:09 PM - Reply

    This looks decadent and delicious! My daughter is baking more and more, so this will be a great one for us to try this weekend :)

    • Chef Mimi April 5, 2024 at 3:28 PM - Reply

      Oh fun! It’s very tasty!

  20. spicedblog April 9, 2024 at 6:56 AM - Reply

    1709 – wow, I knew Nigella was ahead of her time, but I didn’t realize it was by so much! :-) This sounds like a dessert that wouldn’t last long around here!!

    • Chef Mimi April 9, 2024 at 8:30 AM - Reply

      I know! This is a fun dessert because of the two parts, plus some good cream!

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