how to make magic self saucing puddings

Self saucing puddings – tips and recipes

I usually make 2 puddings a week for N and the OH, at weekends. Sometimes I’ll buy something ready made, but usually cook something myself. It’s always a bonus for them when there’s pudding leftovers for Monday evenings too.  I have a selection of regular desserts on rotation, including a few that are last minute store cupboard desserts, and are fast to make at short notice. For example, scones, microwave sponge pudding, Nigella’s syrup pastry and her pear and chocolate pudding. Some of the favourites though are self saucing puddings (a.k.a surprise puddings).

how to make magic self saucing puddings

If you’ve not come across these before, they’re also known as magic puddings. For chocolate based versions, you make the pudding batter, then add a liquid mix on top which sits there until cooked. With citrus based self saucing desserts, they tend to be made by folding in egg whites to make quite a sloppy almost curdled looking batter.  

The magic happens during baking, when the puddings make the sauce fall to the bottom underneath the cake part of the dessert.  Showing children before and after will probably blow their mind wondering how on earth it works.

Because there’s a sauce, there’s no need to add anything extra to the dessert. We do usually  top with cream though. Or ice cream in the case of the OH.

If you’re making a self saucing pudding for the first time, it can be a bit unnerving. The citrus batters can look as if they’re curdling. You just have to have faith that it will work in the end. And they always have done for me, so far.

I quite often prepare puddings in advance, leaving them on the side to bake when the time comes. With a lemon self saucing pudding (and other citrus versions) it’s better to just cook straight away, but you could leave them for a short time before baking if needed. With those with a thicker batter like chocolate ones, you can make up to adding the extra water on top. Then when you’re ready to bake just add the water/butter as in the recipe, then bake. 

I’ve included my 2 favourite recipes below, passionfruit and lemon self saucing pudding, and chocolate magic pudding. And you can find my other recommendations for surprise pudding recipes below.

Passion fruit and lemon self saucing pudding

Serves 6


  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 60g self raising flour
  • 225ml semi skimmed milk
  • 4 large ripe passion fruit
  • Icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/GM4
  2. Lightly grease a 1L ovenproof dish with butter.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until well combined
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing til combined, then add the lemon zest.
  5. Sift in the flour and continue mixing. Stir in the lemon juice, milk and passion fruit pulp.
  6. Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until stiff peaks are formed. Gently fold the egg whites into the passion fruit mixture until just combined.
  7. Pour the mix into the greased baking dish.
  8. Put the dish into a large roasting tray, and fill that will enough boiling water to cover the bottom third of the pudding dish. Bake for 30 mins or til the centre of the pudding is just cooked.
  9. Dust the pudding with icing sugar before serving with the sauce from the bottom of the dish (and cream if you wish).
mixing st clements surprising pudding
Mixing the citrus based batter
mixing egg whites into surprise pudding
Add the egg whites
passionfruit and lemon surprise pudding ready for the oven
Ready for baking
passionfruit and lemon surprise pudding
Passionfruit and lemon surprise pudding
passionfruit and lemon susprise pudding in a bowl

Chocolate self saucing pudding recipe

Serves 4


  • 125 self raising flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 75 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g light muscovado sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / fan 160C / GM4
  2. Lightly grease 4x 250ml ovenproof ramekins (or a 1L baking dish)
  3. Sift the flour and half the cocoa into a mixing bowl.
  4. Sift in the caster sugar and a pinch of salt.
  5. Whisk together the milk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.
  6. Mix til smooth. Spoon into the ramekins or dish.
  7. Mix together the muscovado, and remaining cocoa powder with 250ml of boiling water.
  8. Pour the cocoa mix over the back of a spoon onto the puddings.
  9. Bake for 20-25mins for individual puddings, or 25-30 mins for one large pudding, until the tops are firm. The sauce will magically sink to the bottom of the puddings during the cooking process.
  10. Serve with cream or ice cream if you want it extra luxurious.
chocolate magic pudding ready for the oven
Chocolate magic pudding ready for the oven, batter with cocoa water on top
ooked chocolate magic pudding
Chocolate magic pudding
bowl of chocolate magic pudding

Other self saucing puddings recipes

  • Festive spiced magic pudding – warming Christmassy spices make this comforting and gives a hint of seasonal cosiness.
  • Rachel Allen’s lemon pudding – you can’t beat a lemon pudding, this one is straight lemon. You could try using lime or even grapefruit instead.
  • St Clements pudding – a mix of orange and lemon for a citrussy twist.
  • Fudge pudding – a thick chocolatey fudge
  • Butterscotch pudding – if you’re a toffee fan, then this pudding could be one to try.
  • Chocolate orange pudding – I love the mix of chocolate and orange, so this makes it a bit more special.
  • Apple and caramel pudding – for autumnal flavours, try this apple and caramel combination.

Have you ever tried self saucing puddings?

Like this post, try these other tips for nearby days out.

ultimate flapjack
pear and peach cobbler
ginger crunch
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