Pouding Chômeur (sometimes called “le gâteau chômeur”) is literally the poor man’s pudding or cake. Originating in the French province of Quebec, Canada, the cake was created in 1929 by some female factory workers – this was the time of the Great Depression. Traditionally, it was made with flour, brown sugar and other inexpensive ingredients. Then and now, the most common ingredient of this cake, pure maple syrup, hails from an abundance of trees in the forests of Quebec.
This vanilla-infused cake is bathed in a delicate maple cream sauce. In essence, this is what turns the cake into a moist, pudding-like dessert. I have created this version of Pouding Chômeur in honor of Labor Day.
Enjoy le pouding “avec une bonne tasse de café” (with a good cup of coffee).
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Makes: One 9 X 18-inch Cake
FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups milk
Strawberries (for garnish)
5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”)
1. Preheat oven to 350F˚. Grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch rectangular baking pan and set aside.
2. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Pour the cake batter into prepared pan.
5. Place pan on rack positioned in center of oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
6. Remove cake from oven and set on a counter to cool.
FOR THE SAUCE:
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup (12 ounces)
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart saucepot and bring to a boil; lower heat to medium.
2. Stir the sauce with a wire whisk until heated through and it turns golden-opaque.
3. Transfer the sauce to a 2-cup glass or porcelain bowl and cool to room temperature.
SERVING THE CAKE & SAUCE:
1. Drizzle a little maple cream sauce onto individual dessert plates.
2. Cut the cake into 3-inch squares and place over sauce on plate.
3. Drizzle a little more sauce over cake.
4. Garnish with strawberries and 5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”).
Note: The cake and maple cream syrup can be made a day ahead. Place cake on counter 4 hours before serving so that it can warm to room temperature.
Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real