My Love Letter To Donna Hay

Oh Donna, how I love thee…

I don’t remember the exact moment I first laid eyes on you, but it must have been at some point during my year-long stay in your homeland, Australia. It’s funny, this thing called love–though I met you at a specific time in my life, now it feels like we’ve always been together.

It started innocently enough with your glossy magazines packed with heart-stopping, mouth-watering photos. But you really got me going with your quick and easy, no-fuss recipes. Not only are your recipes delicious, but they look beautiful too.

And as if your distinctive photos and food styling weren’t enough, you then developed classic, tasteful bakeware that we could all use in our own homes. *Sigh*  Donna, is there anything you cannot do?

But you finally, finally shot your arrow through my heart with your heavy awe-inducing year-long baking companion: Seasons: The Best of Donna Hay Magazine.

In honour of this abundant resource filled with gorgeous recipes organized by Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, using in-season foods throughout, I had to give something back in return. To truly show you my love through food. I had to make your Coffee and Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding.

If it hadn’t been for your tempting images of this saucy cake, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. You see Donna, I have never really liked pudding cakes. Mum has always been a fan and used to make them every once in a while when I was a child. The chocolate never tasted chocolatey enough, and I wasn’t very fond of the saucy texture.

Boy am I glad I gave yours a try. Your recipe is easy (of course) and takes mere moments to put together. You could easily decide at the last minute to put this together for Sunday dessert with the family or as a week-night pick me up.

The addition of the almond meal along with all-purpose flour gives this cake a dense yet light texture and including a splash of coffee heightens the flavour of the chocolate while also lending its own layer of oomph to the cake.

You don’t even need to have chocolate in the house either. All the chocolatey flavour comes from a scant 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa.

The pudding component is creamy, chocolately-rich, and there is just enough to create a respectable cake to pudding ratio.

Finally, with the addition of some whipped cream (or ice cream) you’ve made this humble, simple dessert into a fine finish to any meal. Which is sort of the problem. I have to stop myself from making this each and every night!

It may be Donna Hay that I am talking about tonight, but I want to send my love and thanks to you too for all your support through the 365 Days of Dining experience! It has been so much fun and I feel so loved by all of you. It would be a dream come true to experience a new city through food and writing every day for a year! There are still a few more days to vote (with voting closing end of day Tuesday, May 1) so please click here today, tomorrow and Tuesday.

With sweetest love,

Serves 4

125ml milk
35g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour, sifted
11⁄2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 tbsp instant coffee powder, sifted
30g ground almonds
45g brown sugar, plus 90g extra
11⁄2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
250ml water
Double cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the milk, butter, egg and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the flour, baking powder, coffee, almonds and sugar in a separate bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture and whisk well to combine.
Set aside.

Place the extra sugar, cocoa and water in a one-litre, 15cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the coffee mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Serve with cream.

Comments (9)

  • I must hve left just a little too soon!!!!!!!!

  • I understand your love – that’s how I felt after making her Chocolate cream cheese icing – I was in heaven 🙂
    I think the same applies for this beauty!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Donna Hay is also a favourite of mine! She has never steered me wrong. Whether following a simple pancetta and egg cup breakfast recipe or baking one of her classic banana bread loafs (which I’ve on more than one occasion passed off as my own), this woman is genius. I’m going to try that pudding soon – great photo inspiration Mel!

    • Thanks Lori! Seems I have a thing for Donnas eh? 😛
      We should have a Donna Hay inspired bakeoff sometime…

  • First time reading your blog and I am already excited…..I am a Donna Hay fan, and now I’ve learned of her Best of Cookbook. I will be picking one up soon!!

    • Christine, thanks for stopping by! Donna’s the best, isn’t she? What’s your favourite Donna Hay recipe?

  • The pudding cake looks absolutely amazing – I would love to give that a try!

    • Bill you should! You will never be the same. I made it and chipped away at it over a few days. The leftovers tasted just as good as the first night.


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