literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

Inspired Recipe: Deconstructed Chocolate Cake with Pudding and Raspberry Compote

Inspired Recipe: Deconstructed Chocolate Cake with Pudding and Raspberry Compote

One of the conversations in The Lover’s Dictionary revolves around the topic of terrible first dates, and as the female relives her worst one, she emphasizes how quickly she had to end it, not even staying for dessert. As the couple continues to talk and laugh about their romantic misadventures, they have so much to discuss that they end up ordering second helpings of dessert. It is a small moment in a series of small moments that together convince the reader that these two are in love.

Read our recommendation of The Lover's Dictionary.

I knew that I wanted to bake a decadent dessert based on this anecdote, but more than that, I wanted to create something deconstructed, an entire dessert broken down to the sum of its parts. That inspired this deconstructed chocolate cake with pudding and raspberry compote.

Deconstructed cake platter

Here's how to put this beautiful dish together, step by step.

First, bake the cakes (which are really just cupcakes with the tops lopped off).

Chocolate cakes



  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (melted)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tray with paper liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a second medium sized bowl, use an electric mixer on high to beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the melted chocolate. If you are melting chocolate from a bar, break up the bar into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 15-second intervals until fully melted.

Begin adding the flour mixture to the bowl, alternating with the buttermilk and using the electric mixer on low. Beat until just blended, then stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour half of the batter into a zip-top bag. Snip a 1/4" corner from the bag and fill the cupcake liners about halfway. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick into a cupcake and have it come out clean. Remove the cakes from the baking pan, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.

For presentation's sake, slice off the rounded top of the cupcake and flip it over, leaving a flat, round mini cake (perfect for a deconstructed cake plate).

Recipe via Hello, Cupcake!

Next, make the chocolate pudding.

Pudding ingredients



  • 2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt


Preheat oven to 325°F and place the chopped chocolate into a medium sized bowl. On the stove, bring cream and salt just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate, whisk until melted.

In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together to blend, then whisk into the hot chocolate mixture.

Transfer the chocolate mixture into the same saucepan, cook over medium to low heat until mixture slightly thickens. Stir constantly, for about 5 minutes. Do not boil.

Divide chocolate into 10 ramekins, each filled about ¼ cup. Place ramekins in large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chocolate is almost set.

Remove ramekins from pan, let cool for 15 minutes. Then chill the ramekins in the refrigerator until cold, about 3 hours.

To serve in deconstructed cake platter, remove pudding from ramekins and add a dollop to your plate.

While the pudding is setting, get to work on the raspberry compote. You can cook this for as long or little as you like, depending on how chunky you like it. The way I made it, it reached jam-like consistency. In fact, the leftover compote was great on toast!

Compote ingredients
Pudding closeup



  • 12 oz raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water


In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Then add raspberries and sugar. Allow to boil until mixture thickens, about 45 minutes.

When each ingredient is complete, serve side by side on a platter with whipped cream.

Now that you’re good and hungry, read our recommendation of the book that inspired this recipe: The Lover's Dictionary.

Eat Your Words: Plot and Pudding

Eat Your Words: Plot and Pudding

Book Recommendation: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Book Recommendation: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan