Great British Bake Off: Self-Saucing Pudding

Episode 4: Dessert

Recipe (Signature Challenge): Self-Saucing Pudding

This episode was really interesting in that it showed me how different the dessert culture is between the UK and North America. I mean, I’ve always known it is different. Of course it is different! But it really manifested itself in this new episode – featuring desserts.

The first dessert (Signature Challenge) is a “self-saucing pudding”, so a dessert that creates its own sauce. There were two different kinds of cakes/puddings you could make: a ‘molten’-style cake and a self-saucing pudding. Although I’ve had molten cakes, I didn’t really see it as a challenge. So I decided to make a self-saucing pudding.

Step 1: Figure out exactly what is a self-saucing pudding.

Step 2: Find a recipe that kind of makes sense.

Step 3: Make it as best you can even though you have never had it before.

I think this challenge was the first one where I’ve never tasted (or seen) the final product. From the episode and on the internet, it looks like cake that has a sauce at the bottom. How it works is that you make a general batter (usually a bit thick) and then you sprinkle a sugar layer on TOP of the cake and pour hot water over it. The sugar mixture & water sinks to the bottom and the batter bakes above it. Believe it or not, it works. I was really hung up on whether or not the cake would “absorb” the sugar & water layer, but it didn’t!

I found a bunch of very interesting looking recipes but I settled on one that was pretty basic, a chocolate pudding (except instead of a large portion I made 8-10 small ramekins).

Here is the recipe:

It’s pretty straightforward and the ‘top’ batter proceeded as expected. However I was a bit puzzled when I made the “sauce” layer – I had so much of it! I decided not to spoon all of it into the ramekins and baked them as directed.

Here’s my advice to you, should you want to attempt it. Use ALL the sauce layer! Scoop out batter if you need to. It makes a difference. Some of the sauce layer does get soaked up into the cake, so you won’t get a nice sauce layer if you go by the pre-baked level of moisture. Also, err on the side of underbaking. It is supposed to be a pudding after all, so it’s supposed to be quite gooey and soft. I definitely overbaked mine – which probably caused more of the sauce to get soaked up into the cake. (as you can see below – it’s a pretty thin layer of sauce for a fairly dense cake)

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

But I have to say, all was not lost. Especially with a generous scoop of ice cream on top.

Overall: 5/10 (overbaked, skimped on the sauce)

Next up: Tiramisu cake! (Technical Challenge)

Tags: , ,

Categories: chocolate, Great British Bake Off


Communications specialist by day, baker/cook/triathlete/dog-owner by night. I blog about my adventures inside and outside my kitchen. Come take a look - no big whoop!


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