Another day, another chocolate fudge pudding recipe. The microwave version might have foiled me completely, but I live in hope of finding one that works, because those Cadbury ones that come in tins are expensive and not nearly big enough. This one comes via the National Trust, whom I love because I’m a sucker for historical buildings and interesting jams. Turns out we have a shared weakness for chocolate fudge pudding as well as Edwardian home furnishing. (Dear National Trust: can we be friends? Tick Y/N.)

This is an oven-based recipe and, joyously, is made up entirely of ingredients I already had in my cupboard. Which means this could feasibly be an Emergency Middle-of-the-Night chocolate pudding, and it’s always good to have one of those on standby. The method is in two parts: the first looks like a fairly standard cake recipe, and begins with creaming butter and sugar together with eggs, flour, cocoa and a bit of milk. (The quantities look ridiculously small in the mixing bowl, by the way, but stick with it.)

This makes a tremendously sticky, chocolatey gloop which is spread into the bottom of a buttered ovenproof dish.

Then comes the sauce, which is not so much sauce as cocoa and brown sugar dissolved in water on the hob. It didn’t look much like fudge to me, and I was even more sceptical after I had to pour the whole lot on top of the cake mix. I put the dish in the oven swimming in unappetising-looking brown water, with little blobs of mixture floating on the top, and felt a sadly familiar sensation of chocolate-pudding-gone-horribly-wrong. Sigh.

It gets better, honest.

A little faith is required for this endeavour, however. Forty-five minutes later (quite a long wait), the pudding had somehow risen through the magically-thickened sauce, which was bubbling madly around the edges and keeping the cake afloat. In fact, the sauce had thickened so much I actually felt there wasn’t enough of it. Next time I’ll increase the quantity of water. The pudding is less of a pudding in texture and more of a cake, so again I think more liquid is required. I’ll add more milk before putting it in the dish. Still, these small deficiencies aside, this is a marvel: warm, comforting, chocolatey and (most importantly) cheap. What’s not to love?

See? Cake on top...

...and fudge underneath. How does it DO that?

Big fat spoonfuls of the stuff are compulsory.

Deliciousness: A little too dry, I thought, but yummy all the same. I’ll make it again with more liquid, and have high hopes for it.

Complexity: Very easy indeed, and it didn’t take long. I’m not a huge fan of creaming butter and sugar (at least I didn’t have to rub it in) but that was the worst of it.

Washing-up pile: One mixing bowl, one pan, one wooden spoon, one fudge-encrusted ovenproof dish. Not bad, though it’s all quite sticky.

Casualties: None to speak of. Huzzah!

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