One of the first recipes I can remember making when I was young was a caramel pudding cake. I found the recipe in one of my moms old cookbooks and I made it all of the time.
This cake fascinated me.
What makes this cake so special is how it’s made. You start with a thick batter, add a sugar mixture on top, and then the whole thing is topped off with hot water.
It definitely looks a bit dubious as it goes into the oven but, I’m telling you, something magic happens during the bake.
When it comes out of the oven you have this beautiful, moist cake that has a wonderful surprise of smooth caramel hidden on the bottom.
When I saw this cake again, (this time in a caramel pumpkin version) it brought back so many memories and I knew I had to make it. I had somehow forgotten about that childhood recipe and was so excited to make it again!
These days, “pudding cakes” are commonly referred to as a “cobblers” but to me it will always be a pudding cake.
Several of the recipes I tried were a little too sweet for me so I recipe-tested until I had the perfect cake.
If you have never made a pudding cake, then it needs to go at the top of your to-do list!
In a small bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well.
In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir well.
Add the flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir well.
Spray four 8 oz ramekins with cooking spray.
Add 1/2 cup batter to each ramekin and smooth out the batter.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and granulated sugar.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup sugar mixture (loose, not packed) on top of the cake batter.
Now comes the fun part: pour 1/3 cup + 1 TBSP VERY hot water on top of the batter and sugar mixture. Resist the urge to stir or swirl the water. Place in the oven and cook for 24-27 minutes.
The cake is done when the top is firm to the touch and no longer gooey. I will typically lightly touch the top with my finger. If any cake comes off on your finger or if the top appears gooey, then it needs a few extra minutes.
You can serve it directly from the ramekin, but be careful as it is HOT!!! Or…
…you can turn it upside down and show off all of the caramel pumpkiny goodness going on under that cake.
Can you believe the magic that happened in the oven during those 20+ minutes?
Caramel Pumpkin Pudding Cake
For the cake batter:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 3 TBSP All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup +2 TBSP Sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
For the topping: