The end – Coffee and chocolate self-saucing cake

The end. Of this, that is.

I was writing when the timer went off. Upstairs, sitting cross-legged in front of my laptop.

It wasn’t as cold as the outdoors would suggest. Perhaps, from the oven. Or the sweater he must have draped over me while I was reading words that once were thoughts.

A cake getting plump, the syrup bubbling over. A distant bip. The sound of an opened oven door. The scent of just-brewed coffee and hot chocolate too.

Yes, it was all happening without me.

And before I knew it, we were burning our tongues. One spoon each. One half each. It felt like playing Battleships. With a small cloud of steam for each hit. No miss really.

After a chocolate war he won, we layed on the bed; our heads upside-down, looking at the rain pour. Yes, at times, it all does down to this. I told him I really liked the idea of the cake we just devoured. Those two layers which melt together and yet not quite at the same time.

In fact, as I think about it now, I can’t help but imagine a banana cake in a pool of caramel sauce. Or a chestnut flour cake, with some kind of green tea syrup.

Coffee and chocolate self-saucing cake
Adapted from Donna Hay’s Seasons.

As with most recipes I make on rainy days, this cake is almost instant. The syrup gets made in a little over ten seconds. And the cake batter can be made in one bowl (although I would usually advise to mix the powders separately, but, come on, we’re making cake for the sake of it today, not for a dinner party).

We actually made half a batch and it fit perfectly into our 20cm enamel pie dish. But I would understand if you don’t want to use half an egg, and have some leftovers, which we somehow regret now…
In case, you go the half way too, make sure you beat the egg before weighing out 25g (=half egg). And make sure to check your cake after 15 minutes in the oven. As soon as the cake feels baked and the syrup starts bubbling over, it’s ready. Get a spoon. And enjoy.

Coffee and chocolate self-saucing cake

serves 4

for the syrup
90g light brown sugar
25g cacao powder
200g water

for the cake
125g milk
35g butter, melted
one egg
150g plain flour
45g light brown sugar
30g ground almonds
one tbsp instant coffee
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a small pan, bring the water, sugar and cacao to the boil. And pour into a 20cm baking tin.

Whisk the milk, melted butter and egg together. Add the flour, sugar, ground almonds, instant coffee, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined. Pour over the chocolate sauce. And bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the point of a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Do you have any great recipes for self-saucing cakes?


  1. This looks quite insane Fanny. I think I will have to try. Are you going to try the banana/caramel version?

    Because, that talks to me even better than coffee/choc does!

    And FYI, loving that you’re posting again. Thank you.

    Thanks for the sweet words Alistair. Banana and caramel have been haunting my dreams ever since I first ate a banoffee pie! Sooo good. Let me know if you try before I do. x

  2. Hello, this is my first visit! I love the concept of self saucing cake, and I definitely love the chocolate-coffee association (last time I baked a chocolate cake – 2 days ago, I added a tsp of instant coffee, yummy yummy :))

    I’m a bit confused though, as I thought, looking at the picture, that you poured the syrup in the dish before pouring the cake dough over it, like the French do with la crème caramel ;) But you seem to mix the syrup with the dough before pouring everything altogether in the dish, don’t you?

    (Tu excuseras ma syntaxe alambiquée; en fait, je suis francophone! Mais comme ton site est en anglais, je fais l’effort de traduire pour que tout le monde puisse comprendre et réagir :))

    Hi Mouna, welcome here ;)

    When it comes to the cake, you’re right. I pour the syrup into the baking tin, then make the cake batter and pour it over, without mixing the two. Hope that helps clarify things a little. xx

  3. The title and picture caught me instantly!! It looks insanely delish and very easy to make; fits perfectly for the gloomy, rainy week. Love your postsss and your excitement :)

  4. Dear Fanny, chocolate self-saucing cakes are perfect to be shared on rainy days. I can almost feel the smell of syrup bubbling in the oven and wet pavements outside. Waiting for chestnut version ;-)

  5. Hi Fanny
    This looks really looks yum. And it’s Sunday afternoon and now I’m thinking what better day for a pud of this unctuous deliciousness??

    I have a recipe for a lovely tart, lemony self saucing pudding. Must’ve found it in a magazine or at someone’s house as it’s written hurriedly on a piece of printer paper; all a bit of a mystery now!

    I always feel that there’s some kind of black magic involved in self saucing puddings!! It’s amazing when this bowl of gloop turns into an amazing cake and rich sauce all by itself.

  6. I pray thee! Caramel and Banana!! I loved your banoffee tarts!! I had my first banoffe in 1996, in England…I thought it was the most amazing thing I ever ate :-)) Then I found your recipe on foodbeam…and now…now I am just dying for a self saucing caramel banana cake! Breathtaking post! Love! Margherita

  7. Hi again,
    I made this cake a few days ago, and I loved it! Such a delicate flavour, hmmm, thank you for this surprising recipe :)
    Oh and by the way, I read again the recipe and I don’t know how I couldn’t understand all the steps, everything was clear from the beginning.. Sorry!

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