Sometimes a gob smacking, over-the-top, super sweet, warm chocolaty treat is the only thing that will brighten a dull day. That’s when it’s time to make Heavenly Goo (Chocolate Fudge Pudding.) As homey a recipe as you’ll ever make, this pan of cake with tunnels of cocoa syrup pleases everyone, especially when served warm with whipped cream.

There isn’t much technique to this 1950’s recipe. The base is a light chocolate-scented batter. You sprinkle a dry cocoa powder and sugar mixture over the top of the batter. When water is poured over and the batter bakes, kitchen chemistry takes over. The cocoa turns into a syrup that sinks into the batter creating rivulets of fudge.

You can see those tunnels of chocolate in the cake after baking shown here

Heavenly Goo


Bake the Heavenly Goo just until the batter sets and the tunnels of liquid turn fudgy.  It will continue to set and firm as it cools and tastes best when slightly moist and warm. Because the mixture is quite sugary, it sticks to the edges of the pan. Score the pudding into sections while it is still warm to make the servings easier to remove from the pan the next day.

Chocolate Fudge Pudding

Kitchen Notebook

For many years, young women at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts dined royally thanks to chef Jes Bonde and his wife. The Bonde’s ran the kitchen. Lucky students including me never ate so well. We enjoyed homemade crumb cake, brioche, “air pie”, honey buns and birthday cake decorated by “Elvis” the baker. On weekends, we had seafood Newburg. Silver bowls of ice cream from the local creamery made their appearance on communal tables in the early years. Pot roast, stuffed sole, macaroni and cheese, make your own sandwiches with bowls of hearty soup – we had it all.  Our Facebook groups are full of threads reminiscing about the food we were served and questions about why.  To satisfy hungry young women? To prepare our palates for quality food? Lord knows but I, for one, am thankful. And spoiled.

This is a scaled-down version of Jes Bonde’s recipe for the most requested dessert from his repertoire. Last winter, Jina Corneau and I did a presentation on chocolate and this dessert for the alumni office.  (Our school merged with Phillips Academy while I was a student and away went our sumptuous meals.) The Zoom event attracted alumna from a range of decades. Jina did a fun Zoom baking demo from her home kitchen.  The school still serves the dessert on rare occasions as part of its cultural history.

Although there are hundreds of chocolate fudge pudding cake recipes in cookbooks and on the internet, this recipe is different. No eggs, not too much chocolate in the batter. Perhaps this reflects more cost-conscious times.

Heavenly Goo (Chocolate Fudge Pudding)

Yield: 8 to 10 Servings

Heavenly Goo (Chocolate Fudge Pudding)


For the batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2 ½ ounces butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

3/4 cup milk

1 cup coarse chopped walnuts

For the topping:

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. To make the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream the butter 8 to 10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating 10 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate.
  5. Add all the flour mixture then all the milk. Mix on low speed for a minute or two. Add the walnuts.
  6. Spread the thick batter in an even layer in the pan.
  7. For the topping, combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder. Sprinkle it on top of the batter. Pour the water over the top without stirring.
  8. Bake until the cake rises, and crisps and shiny pools of chocolate syrup appear in the batter, for 45 to 55 minutes.
  9. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving warm with whipped cream or ice cream.