Somehow, just like that, it’s February. Even under normal circumstances (which these aren’t as we continue to cope with Lockdown 3), this can be a difficult month to enjoy. The days are still short, dark and cold, with spring further away than most of us would like. Time then, to lift the spirits with some indulgent cocoa-themed treats. At Caple, many of our team see February as peak chocolate pudding month. In fact, we’ve voted this as our favourite type of dessert to serve for Valentine’s Day. But you definitely don’t need to wait until the 14th to indulge!
Chocolate is widely considered to be the food of love, and has long been used all around the world as an aphrodisiac. And you don’t need to be a relationship to enjoy the feel-good endorphins consuming it releases. Chocolate can literally make us feel better (and darker versions contain antioxidants, which help to fight free radical damage). In other words, in small doses, it’s good for you! So, read on to discover some of our national trainer Jo’s favourite chocolate pudding ideas. These will be perfect for decadent Valentine’s Day desserts, whether you’re treating your partner – or simply spoiling yourself!
If you’re keen to turn up the heat, these molten chocolate cakes, courtesy of Sainsbury’s, are the perfect puds to round off a romantic dinner à deux. The rich outer sponge conceals a sweet oozing centre. And while they look (and taste) impressive, they are actually simple to prepare. All you really need to do is heat, mix and pour into moulds. I like to serve mine with some colourful berries, toffee sauce, or a really good quality vanilla ice cream.
For chocolate pudding bakes like this, our Electric Pyrolytic Single Oven is ideal. It features no fewer than 14 functions, plus our signature MotionHeat+ technology, which ensures even air circulation and removes the need to preheat. Best of all for me, however, is the self-cleaning function. This heats the oven to 475°C, so even baked-on grime (or, in this case perhaps an overflowing pudding centre?) carbonises into fine ash. Afterwards, you can simply wipe this residue away with a damp cloth.
Top tip: These puddings are easy to prep and bake, but they really won’t wait, so make sure you’re on top of all your meal timings before you begin.
I’ve yet to encounter a cheesecake I didn’t enjoy – but I enjoy this recipe, courtesy of celeb chef Nigella Lawson, the most. It is, quite simply, one of the most divine chocolate pudding ideas. And while I don’t pretend it isn’t a little labour-intensive, the end result is absolutely worth all the effort and processes required. If you really can’t face the faff, you could omit the glaze, which even Nigella considers an optional extra.
This recipe does require some forward planning, as it needs to set overnight in the fridge. Our RiL1796 In-Column Larder Fridge would be ideal. Featuring a generous 300-litre total net capacity, your cheesecake most certainly won’t be cramped. And our cool airflow system ensures even distribution to every level, for even chilling.
Top tip: Remember to remove the cheesecake ingredients from the fridge around an hour before you begin making it, so that they are all at room temperature at the start.
I know many people consider mousse to be one of the quintessential chocolate pudding ideas. If you’re one of them, you’re sure to enjoy celeb chef James Martin’s recipe, made with just three ingredients. All you need to create perfection in a pot is dark chocolate, eggs and caster sugar. You’ll need to melt the former in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water. It’s very important not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water!
For this I would choose our Sense Premium C857i Induction Hob. I find its split cooking zones, with slider touch controls and bridging function, endlessly versatile. Each zone has 14 power levels for proper precision cooking. The bake setting, which holds the temperature at exactly 42°C, is especially useful for melting chocolate.
Top tip: The recipe says to chill for at least two hours, but leaving it overnight (if you can!) will enhance the mousse’s creamy but light-as-air texture.
I know that soufflés can seem intimidating but it’s one of those chocolate pudding ideas I’m always keen to master. Granted, they can be fiddly, but if you weigh your ingredients carefully, and follow the timings rigorously, the desired rise should materialise. Celeb chef Mary Berry’s hot chocolate soufflé recipe is a perennial dinner party dessert winner. But, until such gatherings are once again permitted, happily it’s also a delicious option to enjoy during a cosy night in with your partner.
I think our C2105SS Electric Soft Close Single Oven is perfect for any type of soufflé – sweet or savoury. This model features a soft-close hinge that’s specifically designed for gentle closing. So you can shut it quietly, without slamming, which will help to prevent your soufflé from sinking. This versatile oven also includes our MotionHeat+ technology, self-cleaning catalytic liners, an eco-grill and defrost function.
Top tip: Insert a kitchen needle or skewer into the middle of your soufflé to check if it’s cooked through. If it comes out totally clean, you’re good to go!
No round-up of chocolate pudding ideas would be complete with a tart recipe. Olive magazine’s version is elevated to another level with the addition of sweet and salty caramelised walnuts, which add both complexity and crunch. I admit it’s not the speediest recipe – not least because you’ll need to make (and chill) your pastry. The good news is that this freezes brilliantly for up to three months, if you want to make ahead.
For either option, I would recommend our CAFF45GM French-door fridge-freezer in an on-trend gunmetal finish. It is so versatile it features four compartments where you can choose whether to use one as an additional fridge or freezer.
Top tip: Use ice-cold water when making your pastry, and don’t over-process or it will become tough.
Sometimes we all need a dessert that’s fast, simple to prepare, and easy to jazz up with whatever else is lying around the fridge or store cupboard. This Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake, from allrecipes, ticks every box. Basically a versatile sponge that can be thrown together fast, it requires nothing more complex than weighing, mixing and baking in an oven.
Our C2101 Electric Single Oven would be ideal. Its ten functions include turbo conventional heat, which is great for cakes.
Top tip: This undemanding bake can be decorated with marshmallows, dusted with icing sugar, or drizzled with melted chocolate.
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