Chocolate Pudding Cakes with No-Churn Basil Ice Cream

chocolate pudding cakes with no-churn basil ice cream | the vanilla bean blog | sarah kieffer

“I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience.

But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.” -Anne Lamott

Chocolate sauce in saucepan | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
Chocolate Pudding Cake in White Bowl | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
Basil Ice Cream on a Spoon | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Three years ago to (almost) the day I started The Vanilla Bean Blog. I don’t have a grandiose paragraph to write about this space, but I have to say that I never imagined all the wonderful opportunities that have come my way would happen.

When I began blogging, I was a stay-at-home mom with two small children looking for a little outlet to help keep my whirling, never-quiet mind slightly sane.

Now, I am a working-from-home mom with so many good things filling my plate.

It’s been a lovely adventure.

And I have to thank YOU (yes, you!). So many beautiful people have come into my life because of this small space, and I am blown away by your kindness and encouragement.

vanilla bean blog giveaway

And, of course, there’s chocolate pudding cakes with basil ice cream.

A friend gave me this recipe years ago, and I don’t know where it originally came from. I’ve tweaked it a bit here and there, adding some salt, vanilla, and bourbon. And more chocolate.

I used large, oven-safe, porcelain bowls here. They are a bit larger than a typical ramekin, and I filled 2.

You will be able to fill about 6 regular ramekins. I have also baked this in a 9 inch pie pan, and it came out beautifully. And! I did make the batter earlier in the day, filled the ramekins and set them in the fridge until I was ready to bake them, and they came out great. If you do this, add a minute or two to the baking time.

Making No-Churn Basil Ice Cream

This homemade ice cream recipe can be made without an ice cream maker! Basil ice cream is sweet and herbaceous, a true delight.

When testing, I found that 1/4 cup basil made for a milder tasting ice cream – the basil flavor was present, but subtle. 1/3 cup boasted of basil, and was my personal preference.

You’ll use a stand mixer to make the base of this no-churn ice cream, then freeze it in a loaf pan. Just be careful not to over whip the cream.

Chocolate Pudding Cake in White Bowl | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Basil Ice Cream | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

chocolate pudding cake in white ramekin

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Servings: 6 small cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Sarah Kieffer
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  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon optional
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons flour


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Melt chocolate and butter together, making sure chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar at medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, bourbon (if using), and salt, and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Add the slightly cooled chocolate and butter, and mix lightly.
  • Fill 6 ramekins (or two oven safe bowls, see above note) halfway and place them on a baking sheet. Bake 11-12 minutes. The edges should be starting to bake up, but the center should still look underdone. Let the cakes cool a few minutes, and then serve alone or with basil ice cream.

No-Churn Basil Ice Cream

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
A no-churn ice cream recipe that gets it lovely flavor from fresh basil. If you enjoy mint ice cream, I think you'll really love this basil one! Basil has a similar cooling effect in ice cream.
Sarah Kieffer
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  • 1 can [14 ounces] sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup basil
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream


  • In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and basil until just simmering. Take off the heat and let basil steep for 30 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until basil is chopped, but make sure not to over whip the cream (I used an immersion blender which worked nicely).
  • Fill a large bowl with ice and fill 1/3 full with water to create an ice bath. Place a smaller bowl inside the ice bath. Pour basil-cream mixture into the smaller bowl, let sit until cool, and then refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (You can also skip the ice bath and put the slightly cooled basil mixture in the fridge overnight, and then proceed to blending.)
  • In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, vanilla, and salt. In a large bowl of a standing mixer, beat the basil-cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into condensed milk mixture. Fold until fully combined. Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Pour into a regular sized loaf pan, and freeze until firm, 6 hours [or, covered, up to 1 week].


Be careful not to over whip the cream. [Trust me. This is a disaster.] I found the cream took a bit longer to turn to peaks after being blended. Also, 1/4 cup basil made for a milder tasting ice cream – the basil flavor was present, but subtle. 1/3 cup boasted of basil, and was my personal preference. If you own a Pullman pan, this works nicely to freeze the ice cream in (plus it has a lid!) but otherwise a 9 x 5 loaf pan works great.
  • Reply
    Friday, October 22, 2021 at 6:22 am

    Thanks for the detailed article on this topic. I would like to see more such awesome articles from you.

  • Reply
    Monday, August 9, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Why is it necessary to simmer the basil in the cream, steep and then blend? I brought the cream to just simmering, as indicated, and then let it steep for 30 min, and when I got back the basil was almost brown and the cream had a film on top. Why not just blend the raw basil with the cream like you would for pesto or any other sauce? In fact, wouldn’t that give you better flavor and color?

    I am surprised by the green color in the picture above, I don’t see how your basil could remain that green after heating the cream and then steeping for 30 min. I wish I had thought about this before ending up with congealed cream and brown basil.

  • Reply
    Mark Evans
    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 1:48 am

    I have been reading your recipes for quite some time. And every time, it adds to my knowledge of cooking.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I made this so many years ago and still consider it one of the best desserts I’ve ever made! I just came back to search for it and so glad to see it’s here and to also hear of all your successes! Congrats!

  • Reply
    Friday, April 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Wow I just love this chocolate cake so much, this is amazing!
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Nana Mills
    Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Oh I love chocolate cake so much. Thank you Sarah you made my day! I’m gonna try this recipe tonight. So excited!

  • Reply
    Abigail C. Murdock
    Friday, March 18, 2016 at 8:52 am

    This chocolate pudding cake looks great. I love chocolate and I love basil, so will give it a try at home, hope that I will make it successfully. Thanks Sarah Kieffer for sharing this recipe!

  • Reply
    Liane Vitiello
    Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Happy Birthday the blog! This Chocolate Pudding Cakes looks amazing!
    I liked it.

  • Reply
    linda friend
    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I love the paragraph at the beginning of your blog. The special tools, then the older tools. That was exceptionally worded nicely. I’m interested in the choc. cake recipe too. Thanks for being on pinterest.

  • Reply
    Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Tip: tie the basil up in a cheesecloth bag. Remove when the cream has cooled, squeezing to get out all the flavor. Remove the basil from the cheesecloth, mince it finely then return to the cream. This will avoid any chance of over processing. Chill the basil cream then whip as usual. Thanks for the recipes!

    • Reply
      Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks for the great tip! I’ll try that next time I make it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Marti J
    Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Did I miss the Give-away? Hope not. Gorgeous blog and great style. I came for the rhubarb, blueberry and apple pie. 😉

  • Reply
    catherine clark
    Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 10:36 am

    congratulations on your blog-day! will definitely be making these! always a huge fan of your recipes + amazing photography!

  • Reply
    Nancy Henry
    Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Happy Anniversary!!! Love the wonderful pictures and recipes!!!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Congrats on your blog birthday! You’ve created such a beautiful, beautiful space in just three short years. I’m always in awe of your gorgeous photography + writing. (And I LOVE that you’re hosting a party for your blog with chocolate cake! Ahh! If only I lived closer!)

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway!

  • Reply
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    A decadent treat just right for celebrating a birthday! Made blackberry basil ice cream the last time my folks were here, and that was darn good. Now I’ll have to progress to straight basil. Game on! And happiest of blog birthdays! Look forward to many more…

  • Reply
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday! I am so glad I found your blog…

  • Reply
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Looks so good!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Found your blog recently and truly enjoying it. I will visit often.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    happy birthday! i’m a huge fan of your blog. keep it up. and post some more frangelico recipes- i’ve got liquor that needs using up 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    The pudding looks delish. I was looking for a recipe like this over the weekend. I ended up making a flourless chocolate cake instead. But I’m going to give this one a try next. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Amy Huff
    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Happy blog birthday and this recipe looks fantastic.

  • Reply
    stephana bottom
    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to use up more rhubarb and make your latest pie.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Happy celebration! It’s definitely frozen treat season so thank you!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Happy birthday to your blog!

  • Reply
    Suzi H
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you thank you for the no-churn ice cream recipe! I’ve been drooling over all the beautiful ice creams that are popping up on various blogs with the warmer weather, but without an ice cream maker I thought I’d have to miss out. I can’t wait to put a batch in my freezer!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    happy happy blog birthday! Your blog is a continual source of inspiration for me!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    This sounds amazing! Two of my favorite flavors together 🙂

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Congrats on your blog’s anniversary, and thanks for the no-churn basil ice cream recipe! I can’t wait to try it out!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    That basil ice cream is so unique! Happy blog-versary 🙂

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Congrats on your blog birthday! These cakes look like a great way to celebrate!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I love that Anne Lamott quote. Congratulations on 3 years! Hope you had a great time at Forage – such a wonderful space.

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Congratulations on your birthday blog!

  • Reply
    Danielle T.
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Happy blog birthday! I have a ton of basil growing on my balcony and can’t wait to make some ice cream with it. Thanks for the great recipes, always.

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Hey Sarah, Congrats. There’s a lot of blogs out there and yours is one I keep coming back to. I love your flavor pairings, more involved projects and dedication to dough! It encourages us to take risks and go forth, what more can you ask for in baking? Bravo.
    Love, Salvegging. [email protected]

  • Reply
    Valentina @Hortus
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Sarah! So sorry to be late, but happy birthday! You have really done an awesome job! I’ll be following of course, and I can’t wait to see this blog go on!

    I absolutely gotta try this basil ice cream. I once saw it at a gelateria but didn’t get it (and immediately regretted it) but I love the idea!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for months now! It’s great! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Congrats on 3 years! I only recently started following your blog, and have really enjoyed trying out some of your recipes! The no-churn ice creams are a favorite in my house, and I have a huge amount of basil to use up! Can’t wait to try these chocolate pudding cakes and basil ice cream!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:16 am

    It’s all so happy I can’t handle it! Congrats to you!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Happy Birthday and thank you for all the inspirations! I have a slight obsession with the sweet/herb combo and love referencing your blog!

  • Reply
    Nickie Gorsky
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been with you almost from the beginning…I have learned so much and I thank you for your creative and super delicious recipes most of which I have journaled into my personal favorites. Long live Vanilla Bean!

  • Reply
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 9:51 pm


  • Reply
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    happy birthday!!! this looks delicious!!

  • Reply
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Yay! Happy blog-birthday!

  • Reply
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Happy 3rd birthday !
    I just recently followed this blog. So happy I did.
    Hope I win! I’d freak!

  • Reply
    Millie l Add A Little
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Happy blog birthday!!!!! 🙂 Those cakes look AMAZING aswell, may I add!

  • Reply
    Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Happy 3 year anniversary. I lived in the Twin Cities for 17 years but now have lived in Oregon for nearly 12. Your invitation makes it sound like a reason to move back. Sounds like a great adventure and you sound like an amazing person to meet and get to know. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Tasty looking cakes and ice cream!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Your blog is so so so lovely 🙂
    Happy anniversary! And I can’t wait to make the chocolate pudding cakes.. yum~

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Wow! 3 years! congrats!
    This looks like the perfect dessert. I love it!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm


  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Absolutely stunning!

  • Reply
    Jade Sheldon-Burnsed
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

    How wonderful! Happiest of birthdays!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I haven’t thought about pudding cake for ages and I think I need some in my life, like, right now!!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Love this blog. I just spent hours on here last night and made that amazing Iice cream with some purple basil I had that was leftover from the farmers market last week. So so good. I’m going to melt some to make it just a tad thinner and put it in my zoku today. YAYYY!!!

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I’m so excited by the recipes, I keep forgetting to leave a comment. Happy Birthday, Vanilla Bean Blog! Congrats!

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Saw this recipe for your chocolate pudding cakes. Thought they would go with vanilla ice cream we are making this weekend. I had some vanilla beans I got for my birthday that we want to use. Happy birthday to you! Can’t wait to make them. Love your blog.

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Love your blog! Congrats on the wonderful birthday! Here’s to many more years!

  • Reply
    Grace B.
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks for sponsoring this generous giveaway 🙂 Congrats to your blog!

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Happy birthday! I love your blog – it always has such lovely recipes and beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Happy 3rd year of blogging!Thank you for creating a beautiful, calming space filled with lovely (and real) stories and of course, delicious recipes. ????

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 9:35 am

    The New Artisian Bread in Five book is simply amazing! I am so intrigued by Pure Green Magazine, looks beautiful, want to see more!

  • Reply
    Kari Evans
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I’m enjoying your Vanilla Bean Blog so much; it is inspiring (and with such delicious results!). Congratulations to you on the birthday and here’s to the years ahead!

  • Reply
    Friday, June 6, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Happy 3rd Bday blog!!!
    I stumbled upon your blog today, may be its a sign for me to win? Congrats!

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