A while back I posted about chocolate pots de crème, such decadent and beautiful individual chocolate desserts.  One reader asked if there was a way to make them as one large dessert, family-style.  There may well be but in my mind, pots de crème are meant to be an individual dessert and I prefer them that way.  So instead I promised to post an equally decadent family-style chocolate dessert, and here it is.  This brownie pudding is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.  It is meant to be somewhere between a cooked brownie and pudding (hence the name), and is very much like a giant molten chocolate cake.

People, this dessert is just sinful.  It is chocolatey, rich, warm and gooey – basically, perfection.  And contributing even more to its appeal is the fact that it takes just minutes to put together, requires ingredients you probably already have on hand, and can be prepared in advance and reheated when ready to serve.  I do think serving with a scoop of ice cream is essential.  The contrast of the warm brownie pudding against the smooth, cold ice cream is heavenly.


½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Lightly butter a 2-quart oval baking dish.  Melt the 2 sticks of butter and set aside to cool.

  • 02

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until thick and light yellow in color.  Meanwhile, combine the flour and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and whisk together until blended.

  • 03

    When the eggs and sugar are finished mixing, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixing bowl.  Add the flour-cocoa powder mixture to the bowl as well.  Mix on low speed just until combined.  With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the melted butter and mix again just until combined.

  • 04

    Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Place the baking dish in a larger baking pan.  Add very hot tap water to the outer baking pan to create a water bath, coming halfway up the side of the baking dish.  Bake for 60 minutes.  The center will appear very under-baked, that is the way the dessert should be.  Allow to cool slightly before serving with ice cream.


  • Oh my gosh, I could DIVE into that brownie pudding!

  • Wow, does that ever look fabulous!!! I’m making that ASAP!

  • Lori

    Wow! I saw this on Barefoot Contessa the other day and have not stopped thinking about it! I made a self saucing cake the other day and was disappointed that it wasn’t more molten-lava like. Hopefully, this is the one!

  • Marsha

    This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it.

  • This is my favorite kind of dessert – warm, gooey chocolate! With ice cream on top, it’s perfect :)

  • This looks too good to be true but I see it is true and I want to make some.

  • the perfect dessert for a chocoholic like myself! :)

  • That does look seriuosly sinful. I just made a lemon pudding cake that was similar. This looks even easier. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh I’ve seen this on her show before!!! I gotta make this for a special occasion, it looks like one of those desserts you ate and gone to heaven. Looks so dreamy with the chocolate gooey middle!

  • Mary Beth

    This dessert is absolute perfection. We had it for Valentine’s Day. Great chocolate flavor but not too much, awesome texture, and completely addictive :)
    Love your site, Annie! It is so much fun to read and very inspiring!

  • I am always looking for a tasty chocolate recipe and I love the Barefoot Contessa. This looks delicious!

  • Wow, this looks so rich and decadent and perfect for a party because who doesn’t like warm melted chocolate? Yum!

  • Karin

    Looks very yummy. I have been lurking on your site for some time now, and I made the red velvet whoopie pies for my coworkers — huge hit!

    This looks really good, but I was wondering if you can use vanilla extract rather than vanilla bean?


  • I love you and I hate you….

  • Annie

    I’m sure you could. Try Googling for the substitution ratio.

  • wow this sounds good…

  • This looks heavenly!! Wow :)


  • Mmmm, such good memories this brings back. My Mums used to make this and we LOVED it! :-)

  • Nom, nom! This looks like the perfect dessert :)

  • I make something similar, but Martha’s version, and we LOVE it. The photo is making me seriously crave it!

  • delightfullysweet

    You have done it again! Another recipe I am dying to make!

  • These look so yummy! Sinfully delicious!

  • jolie

    oh my god. this looks AMAZING. i loveee molten chocolate cake. will definitely have to make this for my boyfriend when he comes to visit :)

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  • OMG – that looks fabulous!! Why must you sabotage my efforts to eat healthy? LOL.

  • Amy

    Oh my gosh! This looks so evil…YUM!

  • I’ve seen this recipe many times on Barefoot Contessa reruns and hoped to try it. I made a half batch last night in a loaf pan and must say I was a little disappointed. It was rich and chocolatey, but not nearly as rich as I’d hoped, and not comparable (in my humble opinion) to the uber chocolate bliss of most lava cakes. This is probably because they generally use solid chocolates as well as cocoa. Nevertheless, with ice cream, I’d serve it again.

  • Annie

    I suppose everyone’s definition of “rich” is completely different. You deemed the coffee ice cream too rich for more than a couple bites, while I’m confident I could eat a quart in one sitting. But, I thought the brownie pudding was incredibly rich and one serving was more than enough for me. To each their own.

  • Brownie PUDDING?!? Oh MY, Annie!

  • I posted this recipe a couple years ago. You just reminded me I need to make it soon and get a better photo! :) Yours looks fantastic as usual!

  • OH My Goodness! Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my chin.
    This is one dessert I am definately going to make……and eat.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • thehungrypanda

    dear god i must have this.

  • Christine

    Is there an amount of vanilla extract that can be substituted for the vanilla bean?

  • Annie

    Try Googling it, I’m sure you’ll find a substitution ratio.

  • Looks lovely! So glad I stumbled upon your site!

  • Yes I make pots de creme in a round 8″ casserole – I don’t own any ramekins, and that’s what I do. Works perfectly – but increase the baking time to 40 min like you were making a large flan.

    About substituting vanilla – I would just add a dash – you never need more than that since it permeates everything well. I substitute that all the time, I find it not cost-effective to buy the beans.

    My mother-in-law makes this brownie pudding but didn’t give me a clear recipe, I’m gonna use yours! So excited!

  • Can’t wait to try this one!! Yummy!

  • I made this tonight and it was sooooo good! I couldn’t even finish mine because it was so rich but it was so worth it! I halved the recipe and only cooked it for 54 min and I think it was perfect!
    Thanks Annie!! I love your blog!

  • jolie

    I made this cake this desert this past weekend for my grandmother’s 83rd birthday party. it was delicious and everyone loved it, but the center was not that of a melted “lava” cake but instead just a moist texture all throughout. i am not sure what i did wrong, i followed the recipe exactly except i used a glass rectangular 2 qt baking dish instead of an oval one. could that have been why it was more cooked in the middle?

  • Maggie

    I don’t have a paddle attachment. (I use a regular hand mixer) Will that make the recipe come out different?

  • Annie

    Hi Maggie,
    You can use a hand mixer in any recipe that uses a stand mixer. It just might take more time or tire out your hand (or in some cases, with really thick dough, it may be too much for the mixer). But no, it’s fine.

  • Trish

    I saw this recipe during my usual Friday night post-work week web crawl and made it for company on Saturday. Everyone raved – it was a perfect finish to your oh-so-delicious Chicken Parmesan recipe. Thanks Annie, your blog rules!

  • Oh My God! This is absolutely sinful! Thank you sooo much for this!

  • Jenny

    THIS WAS AMAZING! I made a half batch and used just a bit of vanilla extract (couldn’t find any vanilla beans around here) and it was a big hit! Was great warmed up the next day too!

  • Tess

    It’s even better with raspberry sorbet!

  • Mahvish

    Thankyou for posting this recipe Annie!! I was on holidays and couldn’t check the website that regularly, so today was catching up on what I missed.

    I am headed to the kitchen to try this just now!! :)

    Btw tried the chocolate mousse last night and it was absolutely chocalicious!!

  • Annie

    Hi Jolie,
    I’m not sure – I don’t think the glass dish would have been enough to cause it to overbake. My best guess would just be that all ovens vary a bit and maybe yours runs a little hot. Next time just reduce the baking time a bit.

  • Tricia

    I want to leave this for my in laws tonight since they’re watching our baby (first night out!!). Could I make it ahead, refrigerate, then let her bake it so it’s nice and warm when they eat it?

  • Annie

    Yes, you can do either. Bake it when you mix it up and let them reheat it, or just let them bake it. It will turn out the same either way – delicious!

  • michelle

    made this for a dinner party last night and it was divine!! definitely lived up to the molten chocolate cake i had in my mind, thank you! i will make this again and again … yummm.

  • Finally made this last night. Very rich!

  • Demi

    One word…sinful! I made this a few weeks ago and have been wanting it again since. I think I might be making it this weekend…all for me…okay, maybe a little for the hubby too. =)

  • I made this last night and it turned out great! When I make it again I’ll probably use salted butter or add a pinch of salt, but it was still amazing as written. Thanks for posting this!

  • hungry just looking at it….

  • Lisa

    Despite my better judgment, I made this last night. It was the most sinful thing I’ve eaten in a long, long time. Possibly ever. And it was worth it.

  • Mindy

    This brownie pudding looks wonderful and as you described, rich, warm, gooey, perfect!
    So anyway, I went on Google to see how much vanilla extract I could use instead of vanilla bean and a few people said one teaspoon… anyway, if I am using vanilla extract when do I add it? The same time when I would’ve added the vanilla bean?

  • Annie

    Yes, same time.

  • Mindy

    Thank you, you replied so fast and gave me an answer! :)

  • made this on monday!!!! AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! but like you said, due to how rich this dessert is, vanilla icecream on top is absolutely 100% essential!! haha

  • Sarah

    We are going to make this dessert tonight to bring in the New Year! It looks AMAZING. I can’t wait!

  • Steph

    This looks so extremely good, going to try making it this weekend! If I were to make this in individual ramekins how do you think I should modify the baking time?

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried that so you’ll have to experiment and see what works. Good luck and enjoy!

  • Liz

    Annie, have you ever made a double batch of brownie pudding? Would I just double all ingredients? I’m worried because the smaller pan that I have is only a 3-quart. Would this overflow? If you could help that would be great.

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried it so I don’t have much advice in that regard. You’ll have to experiment and see what works for you. Good luck!

  • Erin

    This looks amazing!! I just have 1 Q – if the center is supposed to be appear “uncooked” does that mean the eggs don’t fully cook or does it just mean everything is cooked, it just looks uncooked?? I am pregnant and hesitant to make something with eggs if they aren’t fully cooked….do you think this recipe would be okay if I used pasturized egg beaters instead of the eggs? Or the eggs completely cook? Thanks in advance!! New follower here :-)

  • annieseats

    I’d ask your doctor for their opinion. Enjoy!

  • Candy

    This was a favorite of ours growing up. My mom called it “Devil’s Float.

  • amanda

    is there anything that can replace vanilla bean?
    It looks delicious

  • annieseats

    You can use vanilla extract. Enjoy :)

  • Trish Gray

    This was perfect for my cheat day. Looking forward to the next because this is out of this world. Rock on girl! You have my vote on this one.

  • disqus_QPIKErLWWv

    What’s the best way to reheat it and keep it’s soft center? I would like to make it in advance of a “bring something you don’t want to finish alone” dinner party. Thank you.

  • annieseats

    I don’t think you need to do anything special. It stays pretty soft and gooey as long as it is baked that way the first time around. If it were me, I wouldn’t bake it until I was at the dinner party, but you could bake it at home and then just rewarm on a low temp later.

  • hi,
    the biggest pan i have is like 1.68 quarts (i’m in france), do you think it would work ?
    thank you !!

  • annieseats

    You’ll have to judge that for yourself. Good luck!

  • veronicarogers1999@yahoo.com

    I made this and it was sooo good it was gone in a day :)

  • Margie

    This is just Ina Garten’s recipe! I saw her make it the other day.

  • annieseats

    Yep, a link to her is included in “source” at the bottom of the post.

  • Even the spoon in the pic looks happy! :o)

  • Jamie Camazzola Neal

    i made this just now… i divided the batter up into 6 ramekins and cooked for 35 minutes… delicious!!