In this low-fat, vegan pudding cake, the sauce magically sinks down through the cake to form a layer of cherries in chocolate pudding on the bottom.
To me, nothing says Valentine’s Day like chocolate. Unfortunately, my husband is not a big fan. Like his love of sports, his apathy toward chocolate is something I just don’t get. I’ve tried enticing him with all sorts of decadent chocolate desserts, but his reaction is always the same: “It’s okay…for chocolate.”
So in order to get him to really love something with chocolate in it, I’ve learned that I have to combine it with a flavor he really likes. Fortunately, he really likes cherries, which are right up there with chocolate on my list of romantic foods. Their vibrant red color and sweet-tart flavor make them perfect little Valentines all on their own. Combined with chocolate, they’re irresistibly luscious and seductive.
I started with a recipe for old-fashioned chocolate pudding cake, the kind that almost magically forms a fudgy sauce underneath a layer of dark chocolate cake. Everyone has a favorite recipe for this cake, but the one I’ve been using for years is a variation of this fat-free version. For this special Valentine’s version, I wanted to add cherries to the pudding layer, to make them covered in chocolate, but that turned out to be trickier than I thought.
It took three attempts, but I finally got the proportions right. Meanwhile, my family has been feasting on this delicious, I-can’t-believe-it’s-fat-free dessert every day. And you know what: Even the chocolate-intolerant hubby loves it.
I challenge you to try it out on one of your loved ones, someone who claims not to like fat-free or vegan desserts. With or without vanilla ice cream on top, this dessert will make them fall in love with chocolate.
P.S. If chocolate is not your thing, be sure to check out my wide variety of low-fat plant-based desserts, everything from Applesauce cake to Zucchini brownies!
Chocolate Covered Cherry Pudding Cake
- 20 frozen pitted cherries (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup unbleached flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy or other plant-based yogurt
- 1/4 cup vanilla soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
- boiling water
- Cut the frozen cherries in half (it’s easiest to do this while they’re frozen). Put them in a bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and rum extract, if using. Allow them to sit at room temperature until they’ve completely thawed and become juicy, 1-2 hours.
- Oil or pan spray 4 7-ounce ramekins. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix together the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and set aside.
- Pour the juices off the cherries into a measuring cup. Press lightly on the cherries to get all of the juice (I had about 1/4 cup). Sprinkle the corn starch over the cherries and mix well. Divide the cherries equally among the 4 ramekins.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa, and baking powder. Stir in the vanilla extract, soy yogurt, and soymilk. (Mixture will be very thick.) Drop by tablespoons over the cherries in the ramekins, dividing equally among them. Smooth to cover the cherries.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the batter, about 2 tablespoons per ramekin. Use a spoon to level the tops.
- Add boiling water to the cherry juice up to the 3/4 cup line. Pour or spoon it gently over the brown sugar in the ramekins, about 3 tablespoons per ramekin. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until tops appear mostly dry (they should be streaked with darker, wetter looking areas) and sauce is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
dancingonthepathJanuary 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm
My honey and I are both vegan celiac. could this recipe be translated into a gluten free one?
It looks great, but not sure how to do it.
robynJanuary 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm
I made this in the 8" pan and it came out FANTASTIC! My omni hubby gave it 5 stars! I gave it 5 stars!
How amazing! Thank you!
AnonymousJanuary 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm
My husband and I gave it 5 stars!
LeahFebruary 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm
Just made this, so delicious! I used raspberries since that's what I have and I used 6 ramekins since mine are 4oz ramekins. Baked them for 20 minutes and they are divine! And bonus, since I used smaller ramekins they are only 3 points each. Thanks Susan.
E SoleilFebruary 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm
I did this recipe without the yogurt and just added a bit more soymilk and a smidge of lemon. I also didn't have ramekins so I did it all in a pie plate. Worked great! "you'd never know this didn't have any extra fat in it" and I did it with raspberries, instead of cherries (all sorts of alterations) turned out GREAT! next, blueberries!
PadronFebruary 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm
I wish I would have seen this before today for Valentine's Day! My husband isn't too keen on the vegan dishes, but if I'm lucky, I can pull it off if I don't tell him beforehand. It stinks because I even have that exact silicone mold!
DiedraFebruary 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm
This was just wonderful! Made it last night for our Valentine dessert and my husband, a reluctant vegan, was so impressed. I made it exactly as written and was so pleased with the result. Thanks for such a fabulous recipe.
MarindaFebruary 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm
I didn't have cherries, so I used frozen raspberries. It was awesome! Thank you! I LOVE your blog.
AnonymousFebruary 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm
this was absolutely AMAZING! thank you!
YvetteMay 31, 2010 at 11:32 pm
I just made this exactly as the recipe says, and ate it with my non-vegan mom, dad, and sister. They all absolutely loved it! Personally, I thought it was a bit too chocolatey, but that was only my opinion. So good with a nice glass of soy milk!! I wonder whether it should be a bit less baked at the bottom, where the cherries are, or whether I took the pan out too soon.
MeghanSeptember 10, 2010 at 9:24 am
Hey, haven’t tried this recipe yet but it looks good. Only thing is that I thought you should know (for your other chocolate recipes as well) that cocoa and chocolate are NOT VEGAN unless you buy specific vegan chocolate or cocoa powder. A strict vegan cannot use just any chocolate or cocoa powder because it contains milk ingredients.
SusanVSeptember 10, 2010 at 9:35 am
You’re right about the chocolate (as in chocolate chips and bars) but here in the US, unsweetened cocoa powder does not contain milk. Hersheys, Ghirardelli, my grocery store’s brand–all vegan.
MeghanSeptember 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm
Thanks, I’ll look for some here in Toronto, they’re bound to have some somewhere.
pituOctober 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm
Susan, I love this recipe! I make it very often, and just baked up a batch right now 😀
Kim BFebruary 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm
I made this today, sort of. 🙂 I made it with maraschino cherries instead of frozen cherries, and using brandy instead of rum extract. I also used regular soy milk instead of vanilla, and vanilla soy yogurt instead of plain. It was delicious. Will have to try this recipe without those modifications sometime, as I imagine it’ll be even better with the frozen cherries.
LindsayMarch 9, 2011 at 2:26 am
I made this tonight for my main-squeeze’s Birthday. We’re both on Weight Watcher’s right now, but he is not a vegan…. Anyway, he LOVED it! – I told him I hadn’t calculated the points yet, and he said “Ugh! I don’t want to know! – It’s probably a bazzillion points! My week is blown!” – Success! He was astonished when I told him it was 7 points (on the new Points Plus plan).
I had to use Strawberry Soy Yogurt because they were out of plain and vanilla at the store. I used Almond Extract instead of Rum Extract and I also used Light Vanilla Soy milk instead of regular Vanilla Soy Milk.
Thank you! – I will be making this again, it was really easy to make!
SaraNovember 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm
If you want to impress guests, make this for dessert! I had company last night (non-vegans!), and felt bold enough to make it without testing the recipe beforehand. It was SO simple. I made it ahead of time, and chilled it for a few hours. Delicious! My guests raved about it. Thanks for another great recipe, Susan!
JenJuly 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm
Hi, Susan! Would it be okay if I used fresh cherries in this recipe instead of frozen? I have a lot of fresh cherries I need to use.
Susan VoisinJuly 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm
Sure! Fresh will be great. Hope you enjoy it.
ValeMay 1, 2013 at 11:56 am
Amazing idea , i love chocolate cherries and rum ( reminds me of mon cherie chocolates!) but i found weird the amount of protein, does it really have 60 gr? Cheers from italy, ur recipes are amazing:)
Susan VoisinMay 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm
Vale, it has 4g protein and 60g carbohydrates.
TracyFebruary 12, 2015 at 11:55 am
Hi Susan, this looks amazing and I plan on making it for Valentine’s dessert, would you say it’s okay to make them ahead, put them in the fridge and then take out to bake later? Thanks for everything you do! Tracy
Susan VoisinFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm
They really need to be made right away to turn out right, though once they’re made, you can let them cool for a hour or so or even refrigerate and eat them cold.
Vicki Brett-GachFebruary 14, 2015 at 7:26 pm
Susan, I made these tonight for Valentine’s Day and it was a huge hit with my kids and my husband just about went crazy over it!! I think he wants me to make them again tomorrow. Thank you so much for the great recipe! : )
BinaFebruary 15, 2015 at 10:28 am
This was just so delicious! Perfect for valentines without all the fat! Thank you for a great recipe- hubby and kids devoured these! I may have to make them again this week 🙂
AmandaAugust 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm
I really want to make this as one of the desserts (the other is a blackberry pie) for my boyfriend’s birthday party, but I’m wondering if you think it could be adapted to an 8×8 (or a 9×9) baking dish as an actual pudding cake, rather than individual desserts? I’m assuming yes, since you mentioned your inspiration being an old-fashioned pudding cake, but would love your thoughts on how you’d go about it!
By the way, I just made your Chocolate Orange cake a week ago for a writer’s group I hosted — it was AMAZING and a definite hit!