We created this intense "bread pudding" using chocolate spice cake instead of bread and baked it in a Charlotte mold with a custard adapted from a recipe in Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Random House, 1991). We like to cover this cake with rich, dark chocolate sauce. This recipe accompanied Elizabeth Schneider's September/October 1995 feature, "Where the Chocolate Tree Blooms," about cacao in Venezuela.
For the Cake
- 10 tbsp. butter
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup dark or light molasses
- 1 cup strong coffee, cooled
- 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the Custard and Serving
- 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Chocolate-Sauce">Chocolate/ Sauce</a>
For the cake: Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a jelly roll pan with 1 tbsp. of the butter; set aside. Sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard, and pepper together into a medium bowl. Beat sugar and remaining 9 tbsp. butter together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then molasses. Mix in one-third of the flour mixture, then one-third of the coffee; repeat process twice. Beat in chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until top springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Set aside to let cool.
For the custard: Melt chocolate with milk and cream in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Set aside to let cool. Whisk eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl, whisk into milk mixture, and set aside.
Cut parchment paper to fit sides and bottom of a 13-cup charlotte mold. Grease mold with half the remaining butter, line with paper, and grease with remaining butter. Cut a circle of cake to fit bottom of mold and press into bottom. Cut 7 more pieces into flared "planks", about 1" × 2" × 3 1⁄2". Place in mold wide end up, leaving 3⁄4" spaces in between, as if making a crown. Cut remaining cake into irregular squares and place inside crown. Pour custard over cake pieces. Bake for 70 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 45–60 minutes.
To serve: Invert cake onto a plate and unmold. Pour half the Chocolate Sauce over cake and serve the remaining sauce on the side.