maple pudding cake

There is a whole catalog of cooking devoted to what to make when you peer nervously into your bank account and find the balance lacking — one could even argue that the affordable preparation and dissemination of nutrients has always been the primary goal of cooking, before we got distracted by $700 blenders and organically milled heirloom cornmeal porridge (ahem, guilty as charged). Yet what better time to celebrate meals that don’t weigh heavily on our wallets than in the hours after our annual reckoning with the IRS? From the world’s cheapest protein (eggs, crispy, scrambled, smashed and omelet-ed with potatoes), to the most humble (beans, in soup, in curries, stews and chilis) to inexpensive cuts of meat, cooked and stretched forever (in tacos, over orzo, Jewish-style or in the heartiest of soups), most of the time when we’re talking about budget cooking, we’re talking, understandably, about dinner. But one cannot survive on stews and slops alone or at least one should not be expected to in the third trimester; somewhere it is written, or at least it is now.

what you'll need
cook the syrup and cream

I first came across pudding chômeur, or “unemployed person’s pudding,” one of the most popular traditional Québecois deserts, a few years ago and was intrigued. Like most classic desserts, there’s a story to go along with it, and it is said that it was created during the Great Depression as a comfort food by female factory workers with the kinds of ingredients that could still be found on the cheap — butter, cream and at the time, brown sugar although maple syrup has since become the standard. (Alas, less budget-minded here, but we’re going to run with it anyway.) A biscuit-like cake is dolloped into a veritable lake of maple syrup caramel, then covered with sauce, and baked in the oven until the cake puffs and drowns a little in this sticky mess, and it’s all exceedingly sweet and wonderful, especially with a dollop of tangy crème fraîche at the end to pierce through the sugar assault.

butter but barely any sugar
a thick biscuit-like batter
ready to bake in a bath of caramel

So where does this fit into your life? I mean, at least according to my Google Analytics, only a handful of you are in Montreal, it is not the Depression, and unless you have a sugaring operation in your backyard (jealous!), you’re likely paying a pretty penny for maple syrup where you live. But it would be a shame if you missed out, despite all of this. Think of this instead like drop biscuit sticky buns, Canadian-style, or even a biscuit bread pudding, an indulgent weekend treat for your sweet tooth. It’s ridiculously simple to make, so you can sleep in all you wish and not miss out on a thing.

maple pudding cakes | pudding chômeur
maple pudding cakes | pudding chômeur

One year ago: Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
Two years ago: Bee Sting Cake
Three years ago: Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
Four years ago: Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll
Five years ago: Shakshuka and An Easy Jam Tart
Six years ago: Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) and a Simple Potato Gratin
Seven years ago: Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes and Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Eight years ago: Jocelyn’s Fish Tacos

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
1.5 Years Ago: Lazy Pizza Dough + Favorite Margherita Pizza
2.5 Years Ago: Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt
3.5 Years Ago: Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel

Maple Pudding Cake (Pudding Chômeur)
Adapted from Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Quebec via Epicurious

So, here is where I confess that I wimped out a bit when making this. I was scared of how sweet it would be, which is really no way to march into a Pudding Chômeur project! Regardless, I removed all but the smallest amount of sugar from the biscuits/cakes themselves, because I knew that even if the dough seems a bit salty, it would provide an excellent contrast to the syrup above and below. And then, well, I nearly halved the sauce, and believe me, we didn’t miss the extra at all. (But, of course, this is a warning to you if you grew up on the traditional version that you might want to bump it back up a little.)

Yield: 6 individual (ramekin-sized) cakes or 1 8-inch round

3/4 cup (175 ml) pure maple syrup
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
A couple pinches of sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
To serve: crème fraîche and more sea salt, to taste

Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a medium saucepan, combine syrup, cream, cider vinegar and a pinch or two of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It may look a tad curdled at first from the vinegar, but it will all cook smoothly in the end. Set aside while you prepare the cake dough.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down bowl. Sift flour, baking powder and salt directly into butter-egg mixture, then fold together with a spatula. Batter will be very thick.

Divide 2/3 maple syrup sauce into 6 individual baking dishes, or ramekins, or pour it into 1 8-inch round skillet or cake pan. Divide cake dough into 6 mounds and drop one of each into each ramekin, or spread them out in larger dish. Pour remaining syrup sauce over and bake until the cakes are firm and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm, dolloped with crème fraîche or unsweetened whipped cream, plus extra sea salt, to taste. Reheat before serving any leftovers.

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189 comments on maple pudding cake

  1. RobynR

    Bless you for cutting back on the obscene amount of baking powder that other versions seem to include. I may still have a pan of pudding choméur lurking in my fridge that we couldn’t bear because of the four (yes 4) tsp of leavening. Yuck!

    1. Marianne

      My favorite food websites publish recipes that can be printed on one page without whittling them down to 75% and 6 point type which is hard to read. My suggestion to you and some/most of your recipes is that you limit your narrative to above the portion that is to print., Folks can read your blog or even revisit it if they need to reinforce your bench notes. Either that or have a site where you can land on a paragraph or sentence and be able to delete it before printing, thereby making it a one page document. This is FYI ..,. not to be posted. I will definitely make this recipe.

      1. LJay

        WOW! I had to reread your rude comment 3 times to believe it…
        1. Printers for the last million years allow you to print on the back of the page. 2. This is the first complaint I’ve heard about this website adding her notes and I spend the majority of my mornings reading her recipes and comments. Certainly we all appreciate the notes and alternatives for Deb’s recipes! 3. You could copy and paste what you need in a word document then print it. Or you should hand write it on a post it note. You could also learn to memorize then you wouldn’t have all that work with percentages and point type! 4. Or maybe you should stick to reading your other favorite websites instead of this one. We won’t miss you….

      2. deb

        You can print recipes on one page here too. There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

        1. Andrea Daniel

          Thanks. I never noticed that before. I was too busy drooling. I just came back from Toronto with dark maple syrup (my very favorite).

  2. Linda

    Sorry, couldn’t resist….
    I know this looks like spam…..just wanted to say that I love your site and that every recipe I’ve tried so far has been a success. (sure you get this all the time, but still…thank you for keeping a group of collage students healthily…and sometimes not so healthily full!!!)

  3. Connie

    My boyfriend is a big pudding chomeur fan but the only time he could convince me to try it ended disastrous. Much, much, much too sweet for me. Maybe this post is a hint from the universe to give it a second chance.

  4. This seems absolutely perfect, and even though I can’t get maple syrup unless I pay an ungodly amount for it (I live in Portugal and we have to pay about € 5 for a tiny bottle), I might just have to try it, with or without said syrup.

    1. Bev

      maple syrup is not on my budget either!
      I have waffles once a month and indulge in real maple syrup but otherwise it’s way too expensive.

  5. Helene

    Oh I’m looking forward to making this! I was born in Montreal and currently live in Toronto, so it’s not easy to find this dessert in restaurants here. If you ever want to make a (perhaps) even sweeter dish, try “sugar pie” (tarte au sucre). Oh my. So very very sweet! But excellent with whipped cream and a strong cup of tea!

  6. This is so delicious! Thee way you describe the biscuit topping and lava like maple caramel is enough to get me baking at midnight. I wonder if this recipe would also work if dark syrup (treacle) subbed for some of the maple for those who like it bitter.

  7. Susan

    I’ve made a few of versions of this pudding and all were good but very sweet. One version used water and brown sugar, one cream and maple syrup and brandy and one was more a brown sugar version of a chocolate pudding cake, which was the sweetest of them all. I’m all for trying this less sweet version as the idea of dumplings in sauce, (which us usually called cobbler and uses fruit) is a nice humble and tasty dessert, which is what appealed to me in the first place.

  8. Brook Brisson

    Sugaring season just wrapped up in the North East so this is a great seasonal recipe too! My family sugars and my father’s family is from Quebec, so I’ll have to ask if they make this.

  9. Tracey

    So excited to see a Canadian recipe on your site! I will forward this to my cousin who does happen to have a sugar shack in his Ontario backyard and has been busy making maple syrup for the last month.

  10. Amy

    As a girl from the Maine maple sugar mecca who is now exiled to the Midwest, I will cherish this recipe. I have been craving something like this that my Memere (quebecois grandma) used to make me all the time. Making it tonight for her and I don’t care if my teeth rot out of my head.

  11. deb

    Alternatives to maple syrup — Now, I haven’t tested any of these out, so these are only moderately helpful suggestions, but one has to imagine that the sauce could be made with golden syrup, honey or another sweetener with a good flavor. I also wonder how great a traditional (but maybe thinned a little with extra cream) salted caramel or butterscotch sauce would be, but if you were going to go in that direction, you might as well just make this ungodly sticky bun sauce instead (obviously, a fraction thereof). This yields about 1 1/3 cups sauce, if that helps you figured out what you need.

    Brown sugar version — I haven’t laid my hands on a classic old-school version of this recipe yet, but I’ve read it was just made with brown sugar and water (no cream).

    Canisters and jars — Canisters and clamp-top jars I picked up over the years from Overstock, tiny spice jars I talk about over here (a bunch of links in the post, and I think they’re on Amazon too)…

    1. Dee

      Re brown sugar version: Hot water, brown sugar,a big gob of butter and a tch of salt. I usually use 2/3-3/4 c. sugar, loosely packed. It’s called Poor Man’s Pudding-the recipe I have has no egg, whipping cream etc-it’s from the Depression.

  12. Wow – I absolutely need to make these!!

    also side-note, most of the images on your site haven’t been loading lately (not sure if it’s just me?). though if i click the blue question mark i am able to see the image on flickr…

  13. Leah

    Deb, Google can’t tell you about the large diaspora of English Montrealers! I am one, now in Portland, Maine, and Pouding Chomeur makes me homesick and happy all at once. I’ll have to give your version a try and see how it compares to the one my mum used to make. Thank you!

  14. My father in law grew up in Quebec on a farm with maple sugar trees. His mother made this all the time, and now in his 80’s he has pared it down to an even simpler dessert. Any bread left-overs, covered in maple syrup, pop under broiler – done! I think he could live on that stuff.

  15. Melanie

    That’s interesting! I am native to Montreal and have always made my pouding chômeur with a cupcake-like batter… So does my mother in law. The scone version looks delicious though!!

  16. Cristine

    Hi Deb,
    Being a “québecoise”, pouding chomeur is a traditional recipe, very sweet, warm and needs only basic ingredients…but lately I went to a museum about women, from New-France to modern day, and it seems the original version didn’t even have butter, it was too expensive during the depression.They made a batch and it tasted like a heavy cake in a sticky, glue-like sauce…not tasty at all!
    Thanks for bringing our heritage to your followers!

  17. As a Canadian and a francophone, I’m very pleasantly surprised to see pouding chômeur on your blog! Next up, bonbons aux patates? ;) (Worth looking up – you will be intrigued.)

    By the way, I am slightly lactose intolerant – any way to swap out the heavy cream with something lactose free? Would soy milk not be creamy enough?

  18. Liz

    too bad you missed posting this during sugar season! Cold weather is definitely the best time for it.

    I have made a “cheat” version of this dessert in the past with shortcake, hot maple syrup, and yogurt on top. Will definitely try the baked version sometime soon, but might blend in some brown sugar, as maple syrup is indeed expensive.

  19. Caroline

    Love pudding chomeur! As an English Montrealer living in Boston this reminds me so much of home, especially since it’s maple season in Quebec now :) You also can never go wrong with something from Au Pied de Cochon.. thanks for sharing!

  20. LuisaCA

    I have made this before and it is unrelentingly sweet. It quite benefits from being served with a creme fraiche and a blackberry sauce.

  21. Erika

    Hallo there! I’m new to your very entertaining eye-candy blog and, while I’m enjoying all the recipes and comments, I was wondering if you ever posted a calorie count per serving of items in your recipes. Or is that just the spectre at the feast (pun sort of intended)?

  22. Kim

    We’re at the tail-end of sugaring season here in Nova Scotia, and since we did a little backyard maple syrup making this year, I was excited to see a maple recipe. Less excited to see it calls for 3/4 cup of my precious liquid gold. Maybe I’ll make a single tiny cake :-)

  23. Tammy

    Hmmm I’m on day3 of a sugar detox so not the best blog post for me to be reading lol! My irish grandmother had her own “pauper pudding” – white sugar sandwiches, yes really! White bread, masses of butter, healthy sprinkling of sugar, which she then used to dip into her tea!

  24. Lauren

    Tammy- It wasn’t just the Irish who used to like bread and butter and sugar… but my German family used to eat it without the top slice, “open-faced”, as it were. It was even mentioned in a very early Johnny Gruelle ( of Raggedy Ann fame) book called the “Orphant Annie Storybook” (1924)

    Would one be able to mix the real-deal maple syrup and some other syrup ( phony maple, or simple syrup with maple extract added) to cut the expense and keep the flavor? Is this worth a try? If it worked then we could all make this two or even three (!!!!) times for the same cash outlay…hmmm I’m certain that multiple production is in the cards for me.

  25. Tara

    As a Montrealer, thanks for the shout-out and thanks even more for this delicious recipe! LOVE being pregnant at the same time as you ;)

  26. Emily

    I just made this for dessert. Don’t know if it’s ‘right’, but it *is* absurdly tasty.

    My thoughts:
    -I didn’t miss the sugar in the cake part, per Deb’s recommendation.
    -The cake part was very crumbly and quite salty. It worked for my tastes, but I wasn’t sure if it’s supposed to be (either one).
    -A good quality butter works wonders! I used unsalted Kerrygold and relished every morsel.

  27. Emily

    PS I did not serve these with creme fraiche or whipped cream and missed neither one. Even though I am a whipped cream fiend, I think it would be ‘gilding the lily’ on these.

  28. Wenderella

    Maple Syrup is extremely expensive here in New Zealand, and I might give this a try with chestnut honey. I’ve never made caramel with honey before, but I imagine it would be delicious.
    Ilona @ post 28: You could try it with coconut cream or coconut milk. I sometimes make a batch of Samoan bun, Pani Popo, which is cooked in coconut milk and sugar. It’s more like a lightly sweet bread bun cooked in coconut milk sauce.

  29. Oh my gosh, this looks wonderful. And as a poor college student, this may makes its was I tot the regular dessert rotation for me. Maple is one of my favorites. I’m also thinking variations with spiced brown sugar, maybe honey?

  30. Diane

    Depending on where you lived in Quebec, maple syrup could have been cheaper than sugar during the great depression. My mother’s family had sugar maples on the edges of their farm. The only cost was time.

  31. Kimberlee

    The bonbons aux patates or Potato Candy is something I grew up with in PA. I always thought it was German food! Hahaha. Well worth looking up and making for a special treat.
    I look forward to trying Maple Pudding Cakes!!! Thanks for taming down the sweetness. What is Creme Fraish? Is that plain yogurt?
    Thanks :)

  32. yes I laughed at this being a dessert for the unemployed because maple syrup is just so expensive but it does look delicious – in australia we have golden syrup dumplings which are quite similar but much cheaper because golden syrup is much more affordable here!

  33. Love that you wrote about one of our favourite desserts, Deb. We *just* wrapped our sugaring off season in the backyard (humble brag) and have 7 pints of the good stuff to devour. I think dessert for Sunday dinner is taken care of!

  34. Isabelle

    Being a quebecer myself, I definitely have to thank you for telling about pudding chômeur on your blog. Although I have to admit I make it differentely, as in my family too, we pour the syrup on a cake batter already into the mold. And yes, Maple syrup is expensive… But I assure you that every single penny spent is worthy as the taste is unique and it is a time-consuming work of art to make it!

  35. Oh yes, I see a few people have mentioned tarte au sucre. I grew up outside Ottawa, near the Quebec border, and my mum is from Montreal. There’s also butter tarts, sort of like small tarte aux sucre (though some people put raisins in them which I cannot quite… just no) – and those my mum made all the time. On the maple sugar front, my son got to have fresh maple syrup on popsicle sticks rolled on snow, just like I did in kindergarten. Though he didn’t get half frozen tromping around the cabane à sucre first!

  36. JP

    I think almost anywhere in the U.S.A. unless you are in maple syrup country, pure maple syrup is prohibitively expensive. For years, I have been making faux maple syrup with brown sugar, corn syrup, water and maple extract, and although a bit thinner, the taste is very similar to me (although I am sure those who produce real maple syrup would sneer at this) and fine on pancakes, waffles and so forth. Truthfully, I can not taste the difference and I would guess it would be possible to sub it in this recipe. I wish we could get golden syrup here inexpensively, but it is just not happening. I love warm, homey desserts like this one. Sometimes eating one is the best part of my day! :) Thanks for a look at a recipe that is new to me, Deb!

  37. Wendy

    as a fellow third trimesteree I shall be making this becos it looks delicious and warm (as we move into the colder months here in the southern hemisphere) and I know the baby will want it :-)
    Wenderella (#50), hello fellow kiwi! I love the idea of coconut milk – and maybe (not very cheap but yummy!) some palm sugar to make it all gula melakay – might try that after making the original!

  38. This looks absolutely indulgent. I love how easy it is to pull together, and the idea of a sweet, syrup-y biscuit sounds amazing. It kind of reminds me of baked french toast, which I usually make in similar looking ramekins…similar kind of concept! And it’s so interesting that butter, cream, and sugar were the more affordable options during the Great Depression…I feel like now they are the pricier items I purchase, especially when I’m trying to shop organic/natural cream and butter. But, like you mentioned, it’s totally worth shelling out the money for things like that, or things like maple syrup, because desserts like these are always worth it! :) Thanks for sharing the recipe, Deb!

  39. Donna

    This reminds me of golden syrup pudding, an old fashioned pudding we either bake like this or simmer in a saucepan. As the name suggests, it uses golden syrup rather than maple syrup. It is normally very sweet but a lovely treat.

  40. Lyn

    This takes me back to my childhood in the 50’s here in Australia, when my grandma made dumplings in golden syrup. This was my favourite pudding of all time! I look forward to making your version Deb.

  41. I grew up eating this! My great-grandmother would make it for dessert every Friday. Her husband had forbidden her from making it for decades, as he thought it was food “for the poor”. He felt the same about another Québecois staple, buckwheat pancakes. After he left, she happily started making these again, and we, her family, loved her all the more for it.

  42. Marilyn Ciccotosto

    Hailing from Montreal ,home of Chommeur, as ridiculously sweet it is,everyCABANE a SUCRE(sugar shack) serves this along with baked beans with maple syrup, bacon and sausages with maple syrup, scrambled eggs with maple syrup…I guess it is all relative.Lovin our maple syrup!Marilyn

  43. Nadia

    I always thought if I made this I would definitely cut down on the sugar and sauce. Thanks Deb, now I won’t have to figure out the recipe!

  44. Maple deserves a cake. And it is this cake that represents it! Long live the maple and let its sweetness reign. PS. I will attempt this sometime.

  45. When I first spied your photo on Instagram, I thought you had posted about a favourite pudding of mine from childhood; Golden Syrup Pudding. Similar idea, and yes, budget-friendly and completely full of sugar!

  46. When you’re broke, maple syrup can be an expensive luxury. Sadly, even for a Quebecer (as much as we love the stuff). I know too many families who can’t afford to enjoy this treat with a family often. Or if they buy it, they will enjoy it in it’s simplest form and drizzle it over pancakes carefully. I’ve been in that situation a few times myself. I now live in Gatineau and here a can costs me between $7.00 to $8.00 Canadian (that’s $5.73- $6.55 U.S) it adds up fast. The last time I paid $5.00 for it must have been in the 80s.

    I’m not criticizing the use of maple syrup (or this delectable version). I’m just pointing out that it’s the one dessert that is totally acceptable to do on the cheap (meaning with brown sugar and water like in the old days). A true poor man’s dessert meant to bring comfort without spending more. People react to the amount of sugar but they should know it’s not eaten in big portions. Families had to stretch that (my father was raised in a family of 12). Modern families are now much smaller and conscientious of sugar intake so portions are small. Maple syrup is definitely the norm now for a “Pouding chômeur” but I wouldn’t say that this version is what one would make when broke. I would cringe. In fact our last can was used sparingly with fruits on waffles.

    I read mentions of honey and corn syrup being used but that is just wrong with this dessert or they should just call it something else. An other funny thing is that the few times I made it here for Canadian friends that are not french, the reaction was often negative (and funny). Too sweet for them. It’s not as common outside of Québec. They know about it but don’t necessarily eat it. It’s really a French Canadian thing that sort of slowly crawled out of it’s region like poutine! :)

  47. Jennie

    Oh, this looks absolutely fabulous! Wonder how it would go for a Mother’s Day brunch. Served with savories might be just the thing for the sweet richness of this. Can’t wait to try it.

  48. Leslie

    Flashback! My third trimester, living in Montreal, was powered by maple sugar candy ice cream. Big chunks of the candy, embedded in wonderfully rich vanilla ice cream… so I totally relate. 3/4C of maple syrup is $$$, but I will still prepare this dish and remember back to those big belly days.

  49. beth

    totally ready to try this for dessert… and then i saw that it’s tagged as breakfast food, which seems ridiculously indulgent and absolutely perfect. :) i may motivate myself up in time to make this for… well, who are we kidding, for brunch, as i’m not a morning person.

  50. Amy

    Oh, my… this looks unbelievably delicious! Love to cook stuff that is easy enough for my meager cooking skills, but makes me sound like I picked it up at the culinary institute!

  51. Tina

    Being from VT (and NYC) and a lover of maple syrup, this sounds like a perfect treat. I wish I knew how to reach all you people buying maple syrup in NYC a as I sell the most delicious award winning real maple syrup boiled right up the hill from me in VT for $20/quart.

  52. Deb

    That sticky bun caramel is soooo “out of this world” good, I make it and keep in a pretty jar to drizzle on my oatmeal. (And maybe other things!)

  53. Sara

    We do have a sugar bush in our backyard! We made 550 gallons this year. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be trying this recipe!

  54. Beth

    Made it, devoured it, loved it. Dreaming of a splash of rum and a handful of toasted pecans in the sauce next time; cause that’s what I do.

  55. riley

    Born and raised in Montreal, living in Finland. My Quebecois side yearns for a good poudding chômeurs. I have scanned my grandmother’s recipe (written on a used table cloth). I’ve tweaked it a little using maple syrup, like you did, which my grand-mother thought was blasphemous (bless ‘er.) She still ate it all, hot out of the oven. Definitely a sweet tooth like me! Thank you for sharing this. It’s beautiful and reminds me of home.

  56. Clara

    Deb, what a wonderful recipe. I know that now is Maple Syrup season, but I think I will wait until fall to make it. Clara
    PS: Don’t you envy kids’ ability to fall asleep anywhere?

  57. Liz

    I’m thinking I might have to try this with cane syrup for a Southern spin! [Cane syrup is made from crushing sugar cane and boiling it down, and is really common through parts of the South. My dad’s family in northern Florida would send us bottles of it every year, and it was the only thing we used on pancakes and waffles. It tastes similar to molasses, but I’m pretty sure the processes are different.]

  58. JC

    Deb re: the car seat…..when we switched from convertible car seats we went into a Britax Parkway Booster. It’s a backed booster and while it has the traditional belt positioning benefits of all boosters it also has “an energy-absorbing headrest [that] keeps your child’s head and neck secure.” We used these until they were 8 at which point they were above the recommended height AND weight limit for traditional seatbelt seating. Way more comfortable for dozing on the road!

  59. Gosh, for some reason this recipe reminds me of my youth growing up on the farm and my Mom. Lovely memories. Thank you. I love pudding cakes and we had them often, when I was growing up. But not Maple ones. My Mom would have loved this recipe!!!!

    I don’t normally talk about ME, but please make note of the slight name change from Wild Goose Tea. New web design—whoopee and am adding new features along the way.

  60. Chris

    Looks great! One confusing part of the recipe: the yield at the top says 8-inch round, but the yield in the body of the instructions specifies an 8-inch square or a 9-inch round. I know the difference is slight, but which one is it?

  61. Lisa

    I shall try not to gloat over the fact that we took the last of this year’s 48 litres of syrup off last weekend (not such a great year, with how late and tentative the spring came). Will make this weekend!

  62. Bianca

    Hi Deb. Merci!! You have satisfied my Quebecois sweet tooth indeed. As a native Montrealer, I challenge you to post a recipe for the traditional Canadian salad (read: poutine). Brown sauce, french fries and fresh cheese curds. There’s even a Poutineville restaurant overlooking my bedroom window proving how much we love this stuff. Bon appetit!

  63. Kay K

    A substitute for maple syrup: Make a simple syrup with sugar and water by boiling about a cup of water and adding sugar (1 part water to 2 parts sugar or more if you want the product “thicker”. When the sugar is totally dissolved, add maple flavoring a little at a time — again, it depends on your taste, 1/2 tsp. should do it. Cool and use as maple syrup. Had this often when growing up and times were tight.

    I just retired from M.S.U. Extension. The site where our office was located is a 160 acre farm — where volunteers make gallons of maple syrup to show school kids and urban families how the syrup is made. Spring smells like maple syrup at the sugar shack. Ummmm.

  64. Carrie

    I’m wondering if it’s possible to just make the sauce in the cast iron skillet I’ll be baking it in, thus eliminating the need for an additional saucepan… I’m all about the easy cleanup. Thanks so much for sharing this deliciousness!

  65. Golden syrup dumplings were a very common ‘old fashioned’ dessert when I was a kid here in Australia. The sauce was made with syrup and water – if one could afford cream it was served on top at the table. A friend of mine made the delicious addition of a segment of peeled and cored Granny Smith apple in the centre of each dumpling, reduced the sweetness and added an interesting texture to the otherwise possibly stodgy dumplings. With the price of maple syrup here your recipe would be a luxury but I suspect considerably better than the working mothers pudding I know.

  66. Quebec maple syrup…whaaat! Vermont is the only true pure maple syrup! My grandfather had a sugar orchard that I worked in as a boy. He sugared with draft horses and a large wooden vat on a sled then down to the sugar house to be emptied. Oh, the smell of sap boiling in the early morning and breakfast was eggs poached into the hot sap with raised doughnuts and sap tea. Boy does his date me..hey I’m really not that old. Thanks, can’t wait to try this maple cake.

    PS Quebec maple is good too.

  67. Corinne

    My mother has always made it using a combination of golden sugar, water and maple syrup. Emphasis on the maple syrup although that makes it a lot less “chomeur”.
    I feel like cream has this way of really bringing out the sweetness of things and that a water based “sauce” although sweet, is much easier to consume in large amounts… if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, for those who are lactose intolerant, know that it will be an amazing dessert even if you don’t put in the heavy cream.

    That being said, Au pied de cochon is quite well known for having some of the most indecent foods you can eat out here. Cutting back on sugar from their original recipe (or on fat from all of their recipes) might not be the worst idea!

  68. Madeleine

    Huzzah, a Quebeqois dish! (Makes this Canadian’s heart sing!). Fond memories of eating this while studying French in Trois Pistoles.

    Next up, petes de soeurs perhaps? They are the most delicious pastry cookies that are also delightfully named ‘nun farts’.

    As always, thank you for all of the work you put into this website. If I’m not making toast or plain pasta, then I’m probably cooking from one of your recipes.

  69. The maple pudding is somewhat delightful to eat just by itself. I want to put them in little cups so that they would be in arms reach all day every day! Thank you.

  70. Kim

    As a proud french canadian (excuse my english) I have to admit, I made this recipe from Martin Picard a couple of time… And I have to tell you, you just have to do the original, it is soooooooooooooooooooo goood (really sweet but sooooooo goood)! With brown sugar pouding chomeur is also good tough… less but really good!

  71. deb

    Ramekins — I use these 6-ounce ones (pretty standard size).

    Calorie counts — I don’t post them here, but I use this tool for calorie counting. I find it much more effective because you can cut/paste recipes, adjust to the ingredients you’re using and portion size you wish.

  72. Hallie

    Made this last night. I replaced 1/2 the maple syrup with light corn syrup and added 1/4 tsp cinnamon to the dough. It was amazing! Everyone raved about it. Don’t forget to sprinkle the cakes with some finishing salt after baking, it makes everything just perfectly balanced.

  73. Sarah

    Thanks so much for posting this. I can’t wait to try it. My memere is from a French speaking part of New Brunswick. She made something similar called Yankee buns. I’m pretty sure she just used brown sugar though. My inlaws make a lot of maple syrup so it is abundant in this house…a poor mans dish for sure around here.

  74. Anne

    Hi Deb, palate cleansing random request/suggestion– what to do with ramps? They always seem to be among the very first (and few) things on offer at springtime farmers markets and after this winter I’m determined to make use right away! Any ideas would be welcome. Happy almost spring!

  75. I feel kind of sad that I’m from Quebec and have never even heard of this dessert! Looks like I need to do a little more digging into my own homeland because this looks mighty tasty ( :

  76. Lisa

    @Madeleine 110: “Pètes de soeurs” (“nun’s farts”) are really easy to make: they’re just a good flaky pie/pastry crust (whichever recipe you like… I’m fond of Deb’s various buttery pie/pastry crusts) spread with softened butter and brown sugar and sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon, tightly rolled (you want your roll to be about a couple inches in diameter, give or take) and cut into about 1-inch slices, then baked on a greased tin (leave plenty of space between them) for about 20-30 minutes or so alongside whatever pie you happen to be making (they’re pretty forgiving), until golden — keep an eye on them. My mom always made them with the cuttings/leftover dough whenever she made pie (which in our family was often “tarte au sucre” or sugar pie), and now I make them for my son. :)

  77. ooft. I’m very disappointed to say that this didn’t work out for me *at all*. I’m sure I can partially blame living at altitude. The cake was very dry and crumbly. They also spread out across the entire pan during baking. The gorgeous sauce soaked entirely into the bottom of the cake and made a thick crust. I started with extra sauce, hoping to have some left in the pan after baking that I could spoon over top… but there was nothing left. Such a bummer!

  78. deb

    Courtney — I presumed it was just to cut through the sweetness a little, which I appreciated (although it only did so much).

    Stef — Sorry it was a flop… except, I think it might not have been just the recipe that you didn’t like. The batter is supposed to spread (I Googled endless images of this cake when making it for reference, and they all stretch into blobs — not pretty, but not incorrect). And the cake, well, I found it dry too but I appreciated it against the syrup, which kept it from being too mushy once baked. Not enough sauce, though, sounds sad. Did you use the full amount or my reduced suggestion?

  79. brooklynjen

    Made these & they were delicious & so easy – basically biscuits baked in a very sweet sauce, and the contrast keeps them from being too sweet. Plus you can pop them in the oven as you sit down to eat & they’re ready to serve after dinner.

  80. Lisa

    As one of the aforementioned Montrealers with a legit sugaring operation in her backyard (cabane à sucre, ahem)–I approve this post.

  81. How am I just seeing this now?! Your writing is evocative, and makes me want to be assaulted by ALL the sugar, which is lucky, because I have Grade B maple syrup in the pantry, and I think this would be perfect for brunch!

  82. Robin

    I was very excited to try this recipe but like previous commenter Stef it didn’t work out at all…the cake itself spread into an unsightly blob (although I wouldn’t care about this if it tasted great, and as you say, the online images are all like this). The cake was dry, but most importantly, the sauce hardened into a chewy toffee and I could barely get it out of the pan. (This after cooking only 19 minutes.) There was no sauce that could be called sauce…sadly.

  83. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    I also had the sauce harden into a sticky caramel in some places and hard toffee in others. The taste was fabulous and the rest of the crowd didn’t care that there wasn’t a pourable sauce, but I was hoping for the soup-y consistency that I see in Deb’s photos. I did use the lesser amount (per the recipe) and am also wondering if bringing the sauce to a boil and then simmering it before pouring into the baking dish was too much and it simply made candy in the oven? (Which is ironic given that I haven’t had all that much success making caramel on the stove top!)

  84. Andy

    Am I the first guy? I see no males posting. The fools are missing great thoughts! Sounds like a wonderful, gooey cake like dessert food. I would eat a ton of it if I weren’t already carrying the result of such ventures like a 50 lb.belly and butt basket. Over 42 years I have schooled my dear wife into enjoying the same pleasures, with the same results. I did all the cooking.

  85. Sarah

    Well, coming from northwestern Vermont (and actually having a family sugaring operation in my back yard), I can attest to the perfection of these delicious bites. Most folks around here have a tiny, four foot tall French canadian grandmother (Memé) who barely speaks any English and has a recipe for what we usually call “rag muffins.” Don’t call them “ragamuffins,” or you’ll imediately give yourself away as a flatlander! On a side note, while being a small-scale sugar maker is A LOT of work and late nights, there’s nothing quite like having enough maple syrup laying around to use it in your coffee every morning! Can’t recommend it enough :)

  86. Rowbo

    Hi Deb – I read this recipe on your site a few days ago and like some of the other ladies I am also from New Zealand but living overseas now. Whenever I go home my wonderful mother makes golden syrup dumpling on my final night – love it. So today I tried your recipe, so easy but I also lost the sauce during baking – I just made one cake instead of the individual ones and I halved the entire recipe. I used self-raising flour so maybe this was the issue ?? But even with an absorbed sauce it was delicious …. so thanks so much for posting this recipe :) And I bought your cookbook last week as I love the way you write. Yay!

  87. deb

    Michele — Sorry for the confusion. 8-inch round is best, but this is definitely a rustic recipe and if your pan is 1 inch bigger or smaller, you should be fine.

    PV — We’ve reheated it without trouble, but you could also have it assembled and ready to bake so it comes out at dessert time.

  88. Hi, Deb – I love your blog! You are not only an accomplished cook, but a really fun writer to read!
    But, to the point, we are beginning to sell maple syrup we made this year. I would love to post your recipe and a photo, with your permission, and granting you credit. May I?

    Bethanie at

  89. sylvia :)

    hi deb! if im making a cake should i spread out the mounds or leave them as is? i saw that u wrote to spread them out but in the pic it looks different :/

  90. sylvia :)

    pls ignore my first q, i understand now :) my english isnt that great lol
    but i have now another q – is the apple cider vinegar really that necessary?

  91. I love jumping around your site, going from a today recipe to a 1-? years ago one.
    I save them to my Word program.
    Do you have any idea why the format is not behaving? I used to cut and paste and the spacing matched yours. Today it is crazy–stretched out horizontally.
    This is particularly disconcerting with the ingredients:
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For example.
    Many thanks for wonderful cooking inspirations.

    1. deb

      Elizabeth — Hm, I’m not sure, but in general I find if cutting and pasting into a Word document, it’s best to remove any formatting. Select the whole text and then Edit > Clear > Clear Formatting

  92. Wouldn’t you know? My comment does not show the spaces I left between the 1/2, teaspoon, vanilla, and extract.
    It should fill the line from the left margin to the right margin to be a proper example of my challenge.

  93. Kris

    This didn’t work for me. The maple sauce dried up completely/was absorbed completely by the cake after just over 20 min in the oven, leaving just a chewy crust around the rim of the baking pan, and a very dry, crumbly cake with a slightly wet maple-y bottom. I was concerned when I put it together because it didn’t seem like there was enough sauce…pouding chômeur usually has a liquid sauce that the cake is sort of drowning in. I’ve seen some recipes that do a 1.5:1 or even 2:1 ratio of water to maple syrup for the sauce, with butter and sometimes cream added, and I’d try that next time to ensure there is some liquid left in the pan.

  94. E. L. COBLYN


  95. C

    Good. The best part is the corners where the sauce gets caramely. It wasn’t quite what I expected — the pudding cake I’ve had had a layer of pudding and then the cake; this was more like soaked biscuit with a bit of sauce. My batter looked/was much drier than the pics above. If I made it again I’d probably up the sauce amount. The creme fraiche (I still miss Cowgirl Creamery’s, but Vt. Creamery is also very good) was an excellent touch.

  96. Kim

    Heavy cream seems to be a little short of supply at the moment in Portland, OR. I am wondering if I could sub it for whole milk or an alternative milk such as coconut milk or cream. Thanks!

    1. deb

      The cream is for a caramel-ish sauce so I’m not confident that milk works as well. I don’t think it would be inedible or unwelcome, however, even if the texture wasn’t as smooth.

  97. Hana

    🙄 uhhh, MARIANNE if you dislike this site so much, why don’t you find one that suits you better, and maybe learn how to print ?

  98. Hana

    Deb thanks for posting this.
    I have enjoyed the though of making this and imagining what it would taste like. It was great !!
    Being a diabetic that is as far as I can go but I can just see people tucking into this on cold winters day and it is enough. So thanks.

  99. Dominique

    I make a ton of Smitten recipes and usually without any hiccups, big fan! I made this, this past weekend and while it was tasty, it didn’t quite turn out as advertised. Instead of biscuits over sauce, the dolloped biscuit batter spread out over the entire pan. The cake ended up absorbing nearly all of the sauce, so you ended up with a maple soaked cake. We then poured cream and additional maple syrup on top for more ‘sauce’. No bowl came back empty.
    I’m not quite sure what went wrong. I had upped the sugar by 1 tbsp in the biscuit portion (my family tends to like sweeter desserts), so I wonder if that caused the dough to spread. While I did time the simmering of the sauce, perhaps I should’ve cooked it longer for it to thicken up a bit, as it was rather thin. Next time, I will 1.5-2x the sauce, keep the suggested sugar amount, and simmer a touch longer for a thicker sauce.

    1. Daniel

      I had a similar experience: made the cakes in ramekins (with the prescribed amount of sugar), and found that they soaked up most of the sauce. So in the future I would probably bump up the amount of sauce. Not to say that anyone complained…

      1. Jess

        Like these last two comments, and Stef and Kris up above, this didn’t work out for me either and I followed the recipe exactly. So bummed because maple syrup is $$$ and I feel like it was wasted here. Although the flavor of the finished product was good, the texture was all wrong and there was no syrup at all; just a crusty baking pan and a dry maple-tasting cake.

        No hate, Deb; 99.9% of the time your recipes work fantastically for me. Just not this one! BTW congrats on the new cookbook; it’s great.

        1. lp

          I haven’t yet tried to make this but am wondering if perhaps the sauce hadn’t cooled enough prior to placing the dough balls in the ramekins. Too-hot pans have led to sprawled out biscuts in the past, for me.

          1. I made this for my Pandemic-Baking-Club-Weekend-1 and it turned out flat and dry as mentioned above. I followed the recipe to a T and used an 8″ skillet. Our review was to definitely make MORE sauce next attempt. The comment from LP above is interesting- I could perhaps try cooling the sauce longer to prevent biscuit spread. We loved this recipe for this time of year – chilly spring with Maple trees flowering- and the connection to the depression. #COVID-19BAKING

  100. Oh my, this was heavenly and so easy to make! The cakes were crispy-caramelized on the edges, fluffy in the middle, and maple-saucy on the bottom. A bit of creme fraiche pushed these into the stratosphere. Thank you, Deb!

  101. Emily

    Hi Deb!:) Do you prefer Grade A or Grade B maple syrup for this pudding? I think I spotted Grade B in your photos – would either work, or do you prefer the flavor of one over the other? Can’t wait to make this!!

    1. deb

      I understand that Grade B is… better? It’s quite confusing. Regardless, I only ever see Grade B in our stores, so I haven’t tried enough types to know if I have a preference.

      1. Emily

        Thanks for the info! I think they’ve changed the grading recently, too – I think they’re all labeled Grade A now, but in light and dark variations (or at least at my local Whole Foods, this is the case) which adds to the confusion! At any rate, I can’t wait to try this out! Maple anything and everything sounds divine in the dead of winter!

  102. Joy in DC

    So tasty! Love the maple syrupy flavor. It is like breakfast on overdrive. I can’t imagine this even sweeter, so I’m glad you dialed back the sugar/maple. I followed the recipe as written, except used salted butter (and left out the other salt called for in the dish).

  103. Chantal

    Yeah, as a French Canadian, not from Montreal, I’ve never ever seen Pudding Chomeur with a biscuit top, that’s American. Apple cider? cream? it’s a simple white cake (from scratch) with maple syrup or brown sugar sauce.

  104. heather

    My daughter just got accepted to McGill in Montreal. I made these yum yums to celebrate. Thanks, Deb for another amazing recipe. Oh, by the way, I made your uncluttered chicken stock today to battle a nasty cold. Turned out fantastic, as always.

  105. Sarahb1313

    So first, Au Pied de Cochon is my favorite restaurant. We drive up to Montreal a few times each year and must go there. If you haven’t, Deb, you must!!
    We just went and had that very dessert. And it is fab. I am thrilled to find this here!! Thanks!!

  106. Margaret C Clark

    We are fortunate enough to have family in Vermont, and each year take our quart jars to a sugar shack, where they are filled with Grade B syrup, the color of used motor oil and very flavorful. Feel very, very lucky, and will be sure to make chomeur soon. Thank you!

  107. Cathy

    I had some leftover lightly sweetened chunky apple sauce I’d made last week which needed to be eaten. So, I figured this was a recipe that could accommodate some. I reduced the maple syrup to 1/2 cup and the butter to 5 TBS, added about 1/2 cup of the apple sauce to the flour mixture. I can’t eat vanilla so I replaced with maple syrup. I spread the batter out, but next time I’ll “drop” the batter onto the sauce so its less consistent across the pan. I ate mine with unsweetened whipped cream, my husband had his with milk. Its such a simple recipe and the flavors are lovely I’ll definitely make it again and probably continue to tweak it… thanks for the inspiration!

  108. Anne Marie Lewis

    We have something similar in Nova Scotia Canada but instead of maple syrup, it’s a blueberry sauce with biscuits ….called Blueberry Grunt….you should check it out!

    1. deb

      I haven’t tested it with self-rising but it would usually replace the flour, the baking powder, and sometimes the salt, in all or part.

  109. Hey Deb, this looks wonderful, especially for my maple-syrup loving partner. At the moment, however, we’re nearly out of the stuff. Any thoughts on subbing back to the old version with brown sugar? Or like a half & half version? While we’re subbing, cuz that’s what life is now, would a dollop of plain Greek yogurt work instead of creme fraiche? Thanks for making this time easier and more tasty!

  110. Pam

    This was delicious! Even with cutting it in half and substituting whole milk and butter for the heavy cream, it was a success! Thanks for another winner!

  111. Kathleen

    This was delicious! I baked these in ramekins and they came out nicely – maybe not quite as beautiful as Deb’s, but I didn’t have the cake-spreading problem that others mentioned. The flakey sea salt and unsweetened (or very lightly sweetened) whipped cream are key for cutting the sweetness of the maple caramel – don’t skimp on these. I love maple desserts, and this one did not disappoint. I can handle a lot of sweetness, so I doubled the caramel, but could not use it all – it really would have been WAY too much. I’m not sure exactly how much I used, but recipe as written is probably just about perfect. Also, I made these a day ahead, then chilled in the refrigerator overnight, and then rewarmed for about 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I think they were a tiny bit drier on day 2, but I don’t think anybody but me noticed – between the caramel and the whipped cream, there’s plenty to keep the cakes moist.

  112. Martha

    Is the maple mixture supposed to be liquid-y or thick and sticky when it comes out of the oven? I feel like I did something wrong.

  113. Laura Davenport

    Saw it. Made it (GF) one hour later. Two hours later 4 of 6 ramekins are gone. A perfect maple sugar season treat – and not a bit too sweet with the low-sugar cake, though too sweet is rarely a problem for me…