Heirloom Pudding Cake

The night before the wedding, the groom’s family gathered at the bride’s tiny house-in-the-backyard-of-another-house to give wedding gifts.
There was a set of pillow cases hand-embroidered by the future mother-in-law, and a very special recipe book in a blue, miniature three-ring index card notebook. The recipes contained therein were favorites of the bride’s new husband’s family, and they were handwritten by his mother. Thirty years later, that notebook is splattered by cake batter and yellowed with age, but it is still used on a regular basis.
I was that naïve bride, grateful to be welcomed into a friendly new family. It was a few years before I used many of the recipes because I had to learn to cook first. Occasionally I added a recipe to the blank cards in the back, and those recipes chronicle my life journey. There is a recipe for our favorite holiday sweet treat, Scotcheroos, given to me by a co-worker at the bank, and another for a milkshake good for pregnancy protein. An aunt gave us her homemade ice cream recipe and it went into the heirloom book. Our favorite no-bake cookie recipe found its way into this tiny keepsake.
This is one of the most-used and well-loved recipes from the wonderful woman who is now Grandma to our twelve children. It’s probably a good thing that, all those years ago on that night, I didn’t know what the future held for our newly-formed family.
Pudding Cake
¾ cup sugar
1 cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 TBS cocoa
½ cup milk
3 TBS melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix cake parts and spread in ungreased 9×9 pan. Mix topping and pour over cake:
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1½ cups water
Bake at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes. Cake is done when top looks dry. Good dessert recipe for when you’re out of eggs. NOTE: We always double this recipe and use a 9 x 13 pan. It makes a top cake layer with pudding underneath. One of our sons never eats it hot. He always carefully dishes out a bowl of it, stirs it together, and places it in the refrigerator for breakfast the next morning.
The recipe book has become a precious heirloom as the years have passed, and pudding cake is definitely a comfort food for our grown children.   Like many simple gifts, I didn’t realize its worth at the time it was given. So it is with many of the gifts we give our families, including time and extra effort. You never know which of them will become an heirloom and warm memory.
Did you receive a simple wedding gift that you later treasured?  Leave a comment and share with us!


  1. What a beautiful story Charlotte! I can imagine the recipe, the backyard — everything. You really do have a way with words. 🙂 I’ve never made this recipe before, but it sounds like a special treat that my kids would love. I can’t wait to have them help me in the kitchen with this one. We’ve been looking for recipes that Kaia and I can ‘discover’ together! Thanks!

  2. Nice recipe, will try it ! Here in Quebec, we do a nice vanilla cake pudding with maple syrup and brown sugar… we call it “Pudding Chomeur” and our grandmothers use to serve this to their families because it has little ingredients, and did not cost a lot to do.
    Can’t wait to try this version, even though I’m t-tapping to loose !
    Thanks for sharing this nice story and recipe with us !

  3. I love this recipe, too. I make these for birthdays. We have about 4 different cakes I will bake for birthdays, and I let the birthday person choose which kind of cake they want. They often choose the chocolate pudding cake. We all love it!

  4. I love this Heirloom Pudding Cake. It looking very nice. This is very nice and excellent recipe. Thank for given such a nice Heirloom Pudding Cake recipe. I love to eat this Heirloom Pudding Cake.

  5. weio qwea says:

    This heirloom pudding cake is one of the best and my favourite cake. It looking very different and amazing. I want to make it for my child.
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  6. Jennifer Darby says:

    after reading your birthday post, I clicked on a link at the bottom for this cake… one of my daughters is mixing it up right now!  Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  7. Melissia Monson says:

    I made this. I liked that it made a smaller size dessert. It was good. Thanks for sharing an heirloom recipe.

  8. my mom makes a pudding cake with coffee as the liquid instead of water – yummy mocha!

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