I was born a cynic.

I mean was that not obvious? Had I been able to remember I’d say with certainty that I came in this world, a genetically negative and unpleasant baby who cursed at the color pink if she could form words, who went on to earnestly suggest divorce with a LA divorce lawyer as an alternative lifestyle for her parents at age five. Perhaps the last ounce of my lacking fluffiness died with the moment when my best friend stuffed Raccoon was brutally trashed in a random afternoon while I was away citing ABC’s at pre-school, the last straw in leaving a cold, hardened human being walking this lonely planet believing that all loves are, ultimately, just temporary. So yes, I was born with, and still have now, a good faith in cynicism.

But somehow at the age of 27, I married my very first boyfriend. How did that happen?

saucy-marriage-pudding01 saucy-marriage-pudding02saucy-marriage-pudding04 saucy-marriage-pudding05

Don’t ask me, because after 5 1/2 years of dating and another 6 years in marriage, I’ve still got absolutely no clue. I mean that’s not what a respectable cynic would do, is it?

Well first, let’s not misunderstand being cynical with being depressed. Cynicism, is clarity, not a depressant, and thus I have been for the most part of my life, as happy as a functioning cynical clam. And for the most part, I’ve complied with the rules of engagement. Ask all my friends, and they would told you that I’m the last person you want to speak with if you ever have thought of suicide, or the last person to discuss any hope-related matters. Optimists need to stop proving me right. Then most definitely, the last likely person among her peers to get married. Yet, not only I was the first one to, with the first contestant she encountered, but after more than a decade together, found herself trapped in a happy marriage with no end in sight.

Again, no clue whatsoever.


So as a self-contradicting cynic, I’m not here to offer love advice around this very disgusting time of year. Although, I have found myself giving plenty to my single friends recently. I don’t know if it was any good, but they swept it up in a heartbeat. I was, however, unable to help my friend who wanted to date someone who loved being in the nude just as much as her, but she was able to find something like this Nudist Dating chatroom that could help her to find the love of her life. Of course, different people are looking for different things when they join dating sites, so it’s important that people keep this in mind. Some people might be looking for a long-term relationship, whilst others might want to fuck for free tonight. It’s important to make sure you both have the same intentions before meeting. It’s also important that people stay safe on these dating sites, so make sure to always be cautious. If you are regularly meeting different people, you need to be careful for a variety of reasons. Make sure you actually know who you are meeting and always meet them in a public place the first time. Also, if these meetings often become sexual, make sure to wear protection. If you use any sex toys like anal beads, it is important that you are making sure it is safe for next use by cleaning it after every use. That’s about as far as I go when it comes to love advice.

Anyway, hopefully my friend will be able to meet someone. Then, she’ll be able to enjoy Valentine’s Day like the rest of us. Well, like the majority of us do. Yeah, I’ve never found Valentine’s Day a big deal, a corny advertising stunt at best. I think real companionship makes a mockery out of cuteness, all the heart-shaped stuff flourishing around Valentine’s Day which are only good for stealing money out of of amateur’s pockets. All the single ladies, step aside. Marriage, is professional love life. But married couples need desserts, too.

When I saw this “saucy pudding”-recipe published, I thought perfect. A hot chocolate cake/pudding that sauces itself with the obscene amount of liquid poured over before baking plus the melting ice-cream that goes atop afterwards… There’s no way to divide what it’s worth, or keeping it perfect. It’s meant to stay in one bowl in a messy, non-elegant, but “together” and intimate way that I’m familiar with for the past decade, and it even comes with a “compromise” in metaphor. I like the idea not because I find no point in slicing cakes when two already share a joint bank-account, nor because of the benefit of a dessert that bakes and eats in one bowl, but because it feels even tastier and happier sharing desserts this way.

If that’s how you feel with whoever you’re sharing it with in mind, then maybe, just maybe, that you have also found the person who will contradict your inner cynicism, too.


Serves: 4 people/2 couples

The original recipe says to pour hot sweetened water over the batter before baking, which honestly made my nerves gasp. Water? That tasteless stuff that comes out of my tap? Nope. So I used brewed coffee instead, and I also swapped the “muscat and muscat wine” from the original recipe with golden raisins and Kahlua since we’re on the coffee-theme. This recipe, even halved already, turned out to be more than enough for 2 people. I’d say it will generously feed 4 people (or, 2 people twice :P). So you can divide the batter in two ramekins/bowls, and the extra one will be excellent the next day after a little warm-up in the microwave.

Ingredients: adapted from Gourmet Traveller

  • Scant 1/4 cup (40 grams) of golden raisin
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of Kahlua liquor
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (187 grams/200 ml) of hot brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup (47 grams) of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp (7 grams) of cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp (70 grams) of unsalted butter, room-temperature
  • 2/3 cup (125 grams) of brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup (155 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp (30 grams) of cocoa powder (I used natural cocoa although the recipe said Dutch-processed)
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup (129 grams) of whole milk
  • 2.5 oz (70 grams) of dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven on 340ºF/170ºC.

Combine golden raisins and Kahlua liquor in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let it sit for at least 10 minutes, until the raisons have plumped up and cooled down completely. Mix hot brewed coffee, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 tbsp of cocoa powder together until the sugar has melted, and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat unsalted butter and brown sugar together in a stand-mixer or with hand-held mixer on medium-high speed, until creamy and fluffy, approx 5 min. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again until velvety and thick, approx 3 min. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Then whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Add the flour-mixture, along with the Kahlua and raisins into the mixer, and mix on low for a few time to roughly incorporate into the butter (scrape the bottom of the bowl again). Then add the milk and mix on low speed again until evenly mixed. Finally, add the finely chopped dark chocolates and mix/pulse a few times until evenly incorporated.

Lightly butter 2 ramekins/serving bowls. Divide the batter into the ramekins, and divide/pour the coffee-mixture over the top. It will look suspiciously flooded but worry not. Bake in the oven until puffed up, and a wooden skewer comes out clean around the edges of the pudding, but still slightly wet from the center, approx 25 ~ 30 min (this is for baking inside a large bowl. small ramekins may take under 20 min).

Serve with your, and your spouse’s favourite ice creams.


  • Cristina

    February 12, 2014 at 8:50 PM Reply

    Ha! After five years together, just before my 28th birthday, my first ever boyfriend recently proposed marriage. I could not agree more that real companionship trumps basically everything else. Although, warm chocolate pudding topped with ice cream certainly couldn’t hurt.

  • Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    February 12, 2014 at 9:13 PM Reply

    Ha you are me both. I have yet to find someone else after my first long term boyfriend. It has been 5 years and counting. Love you rant on cynicism; so misunderstood. Thankfully you have the clarity to see this dessert and once again bring us pictures that make me want to lick the screen.

  • Bob Beck

    February 13, 2014 at 12:07 AM Reply

    This looks great! Just made a vanilla bean ice cream base, spiked with espresso and cinnamon. Adding bourbon soaked golden raisins to the mix. This would make a great pairing with that for Valentine’s Day.

  • cynthia

    February 13, 2014 at 2:35 AM Reply

    Lordy lord, I want to bury my face in this pudding. And love the shots of you two with the ice cream, Mandy! Trapped on an island of happy marriage with nothing but a tub of Haagen-Dazs. My heart goes out to you. ;) Gorgeous post!

  • Lynna

    February 13, 2014 at 3:12 AM Reply

    Haha, I actually find your love story very adorable! And this pudding is making me drool! I insanely wish I could lick my computer screen to get a taste of this!

  • Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker

    February 13, 2014 at 3:40 AM Reply

    This looks so seductively delicious

  • deborah cohen

    February 13, 2014 at 4:26 AM Reply

    Your writing is fabulous, sorry, it’s true;) I feel like I know you already! Great Blog. Keep it coming. my daughter wants to know why you moved back to china? happy valentine’s day!


      February 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM Reply

      Deborah, uhem~ first of all, I moved “to” China, not “back” because I’m not from here. I refuse to be associated with this dreadful place (dreadful I tell you, dreadful…). And then, the answer to that question all goes back to today’s theme… marriage… “his job” sums it up pretty neatly. Sigh…

  • Brianne

    February 13, 2014 at 4:42 AM Reply

    I’m really glad you showed the cake before and after baking. It looks so wrong before it goes in the oven, but it sure looks right when it comes out! I love the photos of you and your husband with your chosen ice cream flavors. It’s a good thing coffee and vanilla pair well together, I guess! My husband introduced me to cynicism. I was naive as shit when I met him. It took me a while to understand his world view, but dang. Now I get it. This is a beautiful post, as they all are!

  • Katherine

    February 13, 2014 at 5:43 AM Reply

    This recipe looks sinful! I love your photography as well – the shot of each of you with your chosen ice cream flavors is cute and fun.

  • Katrina @ WVS

    February 13, 2014 at 6:55 AM Reply

    Brewed coffee is a waaaay better idea than water. Also, this cake? Just another reason to love you.

  • Tieghan

    February 13, 2014 at 1:00 PM Reply

    This is heaven and the coffee was on obvious yes!!

  • robi

    February 13, 2014 at 1:19 PM Reply


  • Laurie

    February 13, 2014 at 3:41 PM Reply

    Geez Deborah, read the home page….. Anyway, I too was born a cynic. My parents told me I cried the first two years of my life, until I had my tonsils removed at that ripe old age. I can’t believe they didn’t leave me on someone’s doorstep…Cynicism has its benefits. You become a funny person with a dry sense of humor. Most people love you unless they just don’t get it. Maybe you become a really great cook, too. I love my hubby and can’t imagine life without him. I think it is a combination of humor (need that if u are married, LOL) and trying lovely foods, and of course having the pups. Trying this recipe during the snowstorm. Happy Valentine’s Day,(even if it is a bunch of bullshit)! Any excuse to give or get a present is fine with me!!

    • deborah cohen

      February 14, 2014 at 5:57 AM Reply

      Laurie, it doesn’t say “why”, to my knowledge. It just says “that” mandy moved to china two(scratch) three years ago and counting. facetious or bitchy? you?

      • Laurie

        February 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM Reply

        I am truly sorry if I offended you. All I know is that the home page (the early one) says what’s been happening in Mandy’s life. I certainly am facetious. Just having a little fun. “Why”, “that”,…. whatever. Not exactly anything to get weird about. Please have a great Valentine’s day. And of course I and the rest of the world can be bitchy, I just wasn’t when I wrote that response. :))


          February 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM Reply

          Sorry about the confusion :P You see, China leads all conversations to anguish… it’s the doom of all happy thoughts. Staring into a toxic smog day again and must lash out my bitchiness to my hubby… now…

          • Laurie

            February 14, 2014 at 4:37 PM

            I think we need to talk……..

        • deborah cohen

          February 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM Reply

          Laurie, You didn’t offend. I guess in the spirit of this blog, I had a bitchy response to your bitchy response. But Hey, can’t we all just get along? Love to you and Mandy!!!

          • Laurie

            February 19, 2014 at 4:21 PM

            Yes, Deborah, same to you. All is good. I made a stupid comment. Didn’t mean to. Too much anguish in the the world. Love is much more fun.

  • maya

    February 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM Reply

    wE LoVe YoU MaNdY!

    BTW – try pouring stout beer over the cake batter next time. malty heavenly goodness.

  • Linda

    February 13, 2014 at 10:19 PM Reply

    Parallel universes! I, too, married my first boyfriend at the age of 27. We’d been dating for, let me think, 9 years(!) before we got hitched (and honestly, could’ve kept going if both sets of parents hadn’t stepped in and wielded their almighty powers of persuasion), and the first five months have been great. :)

    I’m not as much a cynic as you, but I agree that Valentine’s Day is most definitely a scam, which is why we need more saucy marriage puddings to keep things real! And chocolate with coffee ice cream is dessert heaven for me. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your husband!

  • Sofia

    February 14, 2014 at 12:15 AM Reply

    I don’t know if it was the intended effect but you sure made me laugh when I read this post, such a great sense of humor (or cynicism). I made a giant cookie the other day, inspired by yours. I think I’ll be making this one too!

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    February 14, 2014 at 1:58 AM Reply

    I’m a forever cynic as well–mostly with regards to me, not other people (although I am trying really hard to work on this). But I ALSO am about to marry my first boyfriend! And will also do this next year at the age of 27 :)

    This pudding looks so, so lovely!

  • Sophie

    February 14, 2014 at 5:05 AM Reply

    One of my favorite posts of yours (and photos!) to-date, Mandy. The ice cream photos tell so much of a story, even without faces or captions. You are sorta-kinda good at blogging!!

    Also, don’t you love how your little personal story is bringing out everyone elses? Ok I’ll bite: I too married my first love. Not before he dumped my ass and refused to speak to me for 2.5 years, but, you know, he came back around. We are not great at being married (yet — marriage is completely difficult) but we are GREAT at being best friends, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Love to you and the pups and THIS CAKE.

    • Ida

      February 15, 2014 at 10:12 PM Reply

      I loved your statement above, the “We are not great at being married (yet — marriage is completely difficult). Yay to admitting that it’s difficult but still worthwhile.

  • Ida

    February 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM Reply

    I’m going to make this tonight! It’ll post post-result to let you know how it went.

    I just have to say, this is my favourite food blog. (I mean, “Home cooking with extreme prejudice” – how can such a blog be anything but magificen?) Also I’d love to hear more about life in China more generally. Why is it so awful? (Apart from no respect for human rights, obv.)


      February 15, 2014 at 11:39 PM Reply

      Ida, thank you!! I might have to open a new blog entirely dedicated to trashing china… No Human rights, yes. No breathing rights, double yes. Communication abyss even if I speak their language. Trees aren’t green here… No, seriously. I can go on and on….

      • Ida

        February 16, 2014 at 4:46 PM Reply

        The pudding was divine. The chocolate – coffee combination was lovely, and the coffee flavour was strong enough for me even though I used Bailey’s as my liqueur. The added raisins worked brilliantly.

        Trees aren’t even green? Goodness. Well, protecting the environment isn’t the biggest Chinese priority, I suppose. But I’ve heard that people do Tai Chi in the park, so that’s kind of cool.

  • Bob Beck

    February 16, 2014 at 11:19 PM Reply

    Made this dish for our belated Valentine’s dinner. Turned out great! Made homemade ice-cream of Espresso Bourbon soaked Raisin Ice Cream and paired it with a Founders Breakfast Stout, double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout. I used bourbon instead of the kahlua, since that’s what I had on hand.

  • Jacqui

    February 17, 2014 at 4:54 PM Reply

    Hi there :)

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this dessert the other night and it was seriously one of the nicest desserts I’ve ever had! I followed your instructions to a T and it turned out perfectly! It served 5 of us the night I made it with 3 servings leftover for the next day, which of course were fought over who got them!

    Thank you for such a beautiful recipe!

    – Jacqui

  • Laurie

    February 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM Reply

    So weird you would say that about the trees. Hubby went to China, last Spring for business. He said he never saw many trees, even in the “park”. Mostly saw buildings , concrete, etc. People were nice to him if he had contact, otherwise nothing. He does not speak the language but had some info. from a Chinese girl on the plane, while he was flying there. Luckily, he could find some English speaking people when it was about choosing from a menu. Most were very shy and nervous.
    Doesn’t sound like a great place to live. He is not anxious to go back….


      February 20, 2014 at 2:09 PM Reply

      Laurie, when I said “trees aren’t green” I meant it literally. Everything in this city is covered in a thick, grey/brownish dust. Even after raining, the settlement will quickly build back up because the air is just so filthy (from pollution and constructions). So even if there were trees, they’d look greyish/brownish, too.

      Everything, looks, greyish and brownish.

      The ironic thing is that the locals don’t “see it” because they’ve been so used to it…

  • Danielle @ TheCharmItSpot

    February 22, 2014 at 5:11 AM Reply

    Oh my gosh, this looks so so SO good!!! Your pictures are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • sara

    March 6, 2014 at 3:40 AM Reply

    this post make me smile. i´m a cynical in love too. great recipe!

  • Mara

    March 13, 2014 at 12:48 AM Reply

    “Cynicism, is clarity, not a depressant”- that should be a bumper sticker. Thanks for a great blog!

  • catherine

    March 27, 2014 at 11:16 AM Reply

    absolutely LOVED reading your posts and i adore your cute cynicism! and thanks for the utterly delicious recipe! your hubby is one lucky guy!

  • dv8

    March 15, 2018 at 5:51 AM Reply

    i made this cake with some minor adjustments:
    i skipped the raisins (hate ’em);
    i sweetened the coffee with about a spoon of leftover rum icing (basically powdered sugar with rum);
    i only had 1/4 cup of milk – and rice milk of all – so i added 1/2 cup of coffee liqueur to make up total liquids;
    i reduced sugar to 100 gr;
    i used 40 gr of chocolate (that was all i had).
    cake was baked in a large form for a pie and came out very good.
    now i wonder if it would be possible to make it in lemon flavour? replace cocoa with flour, hot coffee with hot lemonade and coffee liqueur with lemon flavoured mixed with lemon juice.
    if i try i will let you know.

  • dv8

    May 4, 2018 at 3:27 AM Reply

    so i finally made lemon version of this cake.
    i used lime and orange rum instead of kahlua and mixed it with milk. omitted raisins and chocolate altogether. used lime juice with water and sugar as the liquid poured over the dough. replaced cocoa with flour in the dough.
    the result is excellent in taste but the visual is not particularly appealing: after scooping out hot pudding there was lots of lemonade in the bottom, it looked very much undone. left to rest for at least 30 minutes the cake soaked most of the lemonade and was more presentable and even tastier than before.

    my verdict is that lemon version tastes better than chocolate (sorry, chocolate lovers) but should be eaten warm rather than hot.

  • Yasmine

    June 14, 2021 at 1:01 AM Reply

    Heya, I know this is ancient but any chance you remember what size pan this recipe fits?

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