A Cook's Plot

Puddings & Desserts

Guilt-Free Chocolate Pudding

When I first started this blog, I apologised in advance that my photography wasn’t exactly going to be state-of-the-art - and today’s picture, I fear, is a case in point… it turns out to be extraordinarily difficult to make chocolate pudding look as good as it tastes. But trust me, this tastes wonderful! And, best of all, it’s ‘guilt-free’ (relatively speaking) because it relies on the rich flavour of cocoa powder rather than high-calorie, high-fat chocolate for its indulgent taste, plus there’s just a tablespoon of butter in the whole recipe. This makes enough to serve 4 (or 6 at a push).


Serves 4-6

  • 100g plain flour
  • 175g granulated sugar
  • 40g unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Bournville)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • one and a half tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder.


Mix the plain flour with the granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and a good pinch of salt. Then stir in the instant espresso powder. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the semi-skimmed milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir well to make a thick batter. Rub a little extra butter on a piece of kitchen paper around a ceramic baking dish (or use low-cal oil spray) and pour the batter in, then sprinkle over the soft light brown sugar and cocoa powder.

The next bit sounds strange, and looks even stranger when you've done it: pour 500ml boiling water right over the top, then put the dish straight in the oven at 170C (fan oven). At this stage, you won't believe that the recipe could possibly work, but it will - in about 15 mins, the mixture will start to set from the centre outwards and bubble like a mini volcano. After 35 minutes, take it out of the oven and leave to stand for 20 minutes, before serving with low-fat creme fraiche (or see the tip below...)

A Cook's Plot Tip

If you don't mind a 'guilty' rather than 'guilt-free' version, make a lovely chocolate sauce to serve with it by gently melting a bar of dark chocolate, broken into pieces, with a few tablespoons of milk over a pan of simmering water.

A big spoonful of this pudding would be wonderful served on top of a couple of spoonfuls of warm cooked plums or damson puree. Yum!

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