For summer picnics and get togethers, nothing stops the show quite like a giant Triple Chocolate Punch Bowl Cake.
I’m sure you all remember my good friend Cathy from her amazing cake pop tutorial. She’s back again this week with a recipe perfect for a #SundaySupper picnic! Cathy made this crazy good Punch Bowl Cake then brought it over to my house so I could
stuff it in my face photograph it. We make a good team! If my coworkers are any indication, this dessert is sure to be devoured wherever it goes.
When I was little whenever there was a picnic at my dad’s job or a party at a friend’s house or a family reunion, my mom would debate what to take. Dessert was always a safe bet, and so was a punch bowl cake, or as my family called it Crow’s Nest. Recently I thought about making one and looked online for a recipe. I looked through several, and they were fancy. Super fancy. Fresh fruit and made to look prettier than they taste. I remember my mom’s being simple.
Boxed cake mix.
Ok, maybe I want mine a little more homemade, but I want to be able to make it without a trip to the store to buy something fancy. This is perfect for a work picnic, church potluck, family reunion, and so on. It’s not exactly picnic-basket-friendly, but it serves a lot of people. With the rich chocolate cake, fudge pudding, and fresh whipped cream, everyone will love you.
My version of punch bowl cake starts with a homemade double chocolate cake. This cake is a big recipe. It’s made for a 1/4 sheet, but I sometimes use a 9×13 AND a 7×11. It won’t matter what shape the cake is, so use any combination of pans that gets the whole recipe baked.
The next layer is made with 2 small boxes of Chocolate Pudding – yeah, I still use a box
The last layer is fresh sweetened whipped cream. Because, let’s face it, nothing beats the real thing.
Once each of the layers are made, all you have to do is assemble.
Start by breaking up the cake and laying about 1/3 of it at the bottom of a big ol’ bowl. Follow that with a thin layer of pudding, then a thin layer of whipped cream, then repeat. I like the look best if it repeats three times. The very top layer should be whipped cream and should be thick enough to cover without seeing through. Top with strawberries, raspberries, or – like mom always did – maraschino cherries. Or skip the fruit if you don’t have any handy.
Guys, I had never had punch bowl cake before and I have to say, this stuff kind of blew my mind. I recommend making it a few hours ahead of time. The longer it sits, the more the layers mesh together into one thick, rich, ultra fudgy cake. I would take this cake over the typical frosted version any day of the week.
Be sure to check out all the other amazing picnic dishes by using the search bar above! And if you need some help using up that leftover buttermilk after you’ve made the punchbowl cake, be sure to check out my collection of 40 leftover buttermilk recipes!
For the Double Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 Cups hot brewed coffee
- 4oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 Cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 Cups well shaken buttermilk
- 3/4 tsp vanilla
- 3 Cups sugar
- 2 1/2 Cups flour
- 1 1/2 Cups cocoa powder - regular, not dutch
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
For the pudding:
- 2 (3.4 oz) boxes instant chocolate pudding
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup cream
For the whipped cream:
- 2 Cups heavy whipping cream
- 6-8 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 1tsp vanilla
- Fresh berries, optional
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Finely chop the chocolate (or cheat and use chips) and place in a heat proof bowl. Pour hot coffee over the chocolate and let stand, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted.
- Beat eggs in mixer until thick and lemon colored. Slowly add oil to eggs, followed by slowly adding buttermilk and then vanilla. Add chocolate mixture SLOWLY and beat until well combined.
- In another bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, soda, powder, salt. Add this mixture gradually to liquids and beat on medium speed just until combined.
- Pour into lightly greased pans and bake 40-60 minutes - until center is set (time depends on size pan). Don't overbake.
For the pudding:
- Place pudding mix, milk, and cream in a large bowl and whisk together until mix is totally dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Chill until ready to assemble.
For the whipped cream:
- Put all ingredients in stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat until firm peaks form. *Note: the amount of powdered sugar just depends on personal preference.