Chocolate Pudding Cake & A Free Cup of Coffee

Jun 13, 2011

I go through phases of buying coffee.  Most of the time, I’m too frugal to treat myself to a 3$ misto and it’s more convenient just to set the pot up the night before at home.  This year, during TYOTS, eating became a real chore for me.  So did making anything, including coffee.  Sometimes I wouldn’t bother and other times I’d find myself at our local coffee chain.  In better times, I would stop and talk with Jocelyn, the manager there.  She’s friendly and must have a filing cabinet brain because she remembers everyone’s orders the minute they walk through the door.

When things got really bad, I stopped going for coffee (or anywhere, really).

But when I happened into the coffee place, Jocelyn would make my order, hand it to me and say something like “It’s good to see you out.”  Or, “I know things are bad.  I’m thinking of you.”  I don’t know her last name.  I don’t know much about her except for the bits and pieces she’s told me over the past couple of years.   When things are slow, she gives my toddler a cup of milky foam.  And this entire shitty year, she hasn’t let me pay for coffee.

A free cup of coffee sounds like such a small thing, doesn’t it?  And yet it meant so much to me.  I brought Jocelyn some homemade jam as a thank you.  This morning on the way to the grocery store, I went in to buy myself a cup.  Jocelyn was there.  “You look great,” she said.  It wasn’t my old t-shirt or my unwashed hair.  “I’m back,” I said and she nodded.  She did not charge me today, either.

Jocelyn, this cake is warm, comforting, delicious, and easy, much like a free cup of coffee.  I solute you and everyone whose small actions make a world of difference each day.  And I’ll bring you some homemade pickles – I remember you told me you like them.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

This cake practically makes itself and reheats easily. You can make this the day before or throw it together for a crowd or for one person who deserves a thank you.


2 cups flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 ¼ c. sugar

4 Tab. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup milk

4 Tab. melted butter


1 ¾ c. brown sugar

2 c. boiling water

8 Tab. unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix the first seven ingredients and put in a 9 x 13 pan (it will look scant—do not worry). Mix the brown sugar and coco and sprinkle over the top Pour the boiling water on top of the cake batter and put in a 350º oven for 30 minutes. When cake is baked, top will be like a brownie and underneath will be a creamy chocolate pudding. Serve with ice cream.


  1. The Unprofessional Critic
    June 13, 2011

    It’s the little things, isn’t it? Late last year I had a horrible bout of depression (it’s flared up throughout my life, but this was the worst). You know what helped? Going to Starbucks, the one near my office with the really nice baristas who always smile at me and remember that I order one of two things.

    When I started therapy, I told my doctor, “it’s so silly and indulgent, but going to Starbucks on my lunch break makes me feel a little better.” He said, “it’s not silly. If it makes you feel better, you do it.”

    This cake looks delicious. I will be making it.

  2. stefanie
    June 14, 2011

    OMG!!!! Made the cake with the kids yesterday. So easy to throw together and DELISH!!!! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks, Emily.