Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Chocolate Pudding Cake

puddingcake.resizedtwoYears ago, I tried to make my first Pudding Cake for my husband on Valentine’s Day. Even though my baking skills were still coming around in the early years of our marriage, the cake was an immediate hit. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make, yet the flavor was amazing. Who doesn’t love a gooey, chocolaty cake served warm right out of the oven?

What I especially love about this cake is the fact that it takes only a few minutes to prepare, and is a wonderful dessert to serve to company because it happily bakes away in the oven unattended while dinner is served at the table. Once dinner is over, the warm cake with a pudding bottom is ready to be served with a dollop of soy ice cream on the side. I also love to drizzle a little melted dairy free chocolate on top. A pureed raspberry sauce would also be delicious and colorful.

This recipe is of course dairy, egg and nut free, and it is shockingly fabulous. My kids love it, and I’ve made it often for them because it is so simple to make. The last time I made this pudding cake was right before I had baby Michael, but am planning to make it again this weekend for a special treat.

Happy Baking and hope you all enjoy!!

Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Chocolate Pudding Cake

1/2 c. soy or rice milk

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. dairy free chocolate chips ( I use Divvies or Enjoy Life)

1 c. unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/3 c. sugar DIVIDED

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder DIVIDED ( I use Hershey’s)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 inch glass square baking dish with dairy free baking spray. In a medium bowl coming soy milk, vegetable oil and vanilla with a wire whisk. In a seperate medium bowl combine flour, 2/3 c. granulated sugar,  1/4 c. cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Add soy milk mixture to flour mixture and combine with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed. Stir in dairy free chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared cake pan. In a small bowl combine remaining 2/3 c. granulated sugar and 1/4 c. cocoa powder. Sprinkle evenly over top of batter and pour 1 c. boiling water over the top. Do not stir.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until cake is just set in the center. A tooth pick inserted in the middle should come out with just a few crumbs. Remove from oven and serve warm. The cake can be scooped out with a large spoon or let it sit until it is room temperature and cut into slices.

I’m back…barely!

Michael James Rudnicki Photo 2-11-10.resizedMany of you probably already know that as of last Thursday, Feb. 11th at 4:04 pm I became a mama again for the 5th time. Woo hoo!! I have to say I am very very very excited NOT to be pregnant anymore, as it has NEVER agreed with me. I get severe morning sickness that lasts forever, gain a ton of weight, heartburn, bloated ankles and face and lots of preterm labor issues. I am not one of the mommies who glows and smiles ear to ear while pregnant that is for sure. :) But the end result, is so worth it. My baby, Michael James, is just the sweetest little thing ever and I am so blessed to be surrounded by all these amazing and lovable children. I truly thank my lucky stars for this family when I am up in the middle of the night for feedings.

My children are adjusting as well as they can but it’s been CRAZY around here! Having four other children under 9 years old means that life goes on with carpools, homework and illnesses. There is zero downtime but good coffee keeps me going. Interestingly Michael has had great difficulty nursing and has cried and been in a bundle of pain, very similar to my FA John when he was a newborn. I remember thinking back in 2002, what is wrong with my baby? Why is he so overly fussy? Fast forward to this week, and I found myself thinking again, what is wrong with Michael? Does he have colic like my firstborn? I decided to try Nutramigen again, the formula that worked for all my other children. He’s an entirely different baby, just like John was when we made the switch.¬†I don’t know if this means Michael has food allergies or not, but my mother’s instinct says it is likely. We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

In the meantime, I am enjoying every minute with this little guy. They really do grow up fast, and it seems like it was just yesterday that my 9-year-old daughter was a newborn. Now, back to my coffee to wake up! :)

Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies

thumbprints 002.resizedThumbprints are the perfect cookies to make for Valentine’s Day. They are sweet, colorful and easy to make with your kids. The dough is very similar to my Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies, and similarily don’t contain nuts. Many recipes for thumbprints involve rolling the dough balls in finely chopped nuts, which of course, we can’t do. But even if we didn’t have a nut allergy I would still prefer my thumbprints to be nut free. The pure shortbread flavor really comes out with the tiny bit of sweetness from the jam. Since¬†my kids help me make these cookies, we¬†also like to sprinkle a tiny bit of chocolate chips right in the middle indented part. Of course, I’ve gone through the trouble of melting dairy free chocolate to put in the middle as well, but this process is so much simpler and my kids really enjoy doing the sprinkling.

I also love to have my kids do the indentations in the cookies, either with their thumbs or index fingers. It’s another fabulous tactile activity, and lets me step back and watch them do the work…especially¬†since I’m nine months pregnant and need the break! Also feel free to vary the fruit filling to whatever you and your kids like. I think this would also be a the perfect little treat to send in for your kids’ Valentine’s Day’s parties.

Enjoy and happy baking!

Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

2 sticks dairy free margarine

2 1/4 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. fruit preserves such as strawberry, raspberry, apricot (for filling)

1/2 c. dairy free chocolate chips (preferably miniature in size for filling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the confectioners’ sugar with dairy free margarine until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and mix well. Add flour and salt and mix for about a minute until cookie dough comes together into a ball. Scape down sides as needed.

Use a mini cookie scooper to measure out leveled balls of dough, and roll in between your hands to form a round ball. Place on cookie sheet about an inch apart and use your finger or thumb to make an indentation in the middle of the ball, pressing down slightly. Fill the indentation with 1/4 tsp. of fruit preserves or sprinkle with the dairy free chocolate chips. Bake 15-18 minutes or until just barely golden. Let cool completely on cookie sheet.