I worked as a full-time waitress at a small, family-owned restaurant one year after high school to earn money for college.
Mr. and Mrs. Penner (the owners) were the sweetest people and they put up with my many mistakes and steep learning curve when I started. I didn’t walk fast enough, I had a terrible memory, I had to learn a whole new language for the menu (Low German), and I was incredibly shy – not the best idea for a person who has to interact with people frequently.
Somehow, with their patience and instruction, I managed to do my job as well as I was able and made it through the year, saving my wage to pay for college, and living in my first apartment using my tips.
Mrs. Penner was the master chef/cook. She made three or four different kinds of homemade bread, hearty homemade soups, and many other wonderful meals that were well received by everyone who had them.
She also made wonderful desserts. My favorite treat was an open face fruit crumble “pie” (Oft Plautz). Looking back, I wished I had gotten the recipe, but, alas, I did not.
But, I did get the recipe for the dessert that often came with the evening special: Pudding Cake.
The first time I saw someone make this, I wondered how in the world it would actually work. It didn’t make sense to me that you would pour water on the batter before you cooked it.
But, when it came out of the oven, it was so delicious! Even after it had cooled and had been stored in the fridge, warming it up a bit in the microwave made it just as tasty. I think nearly every patron of the evening special loved it.
Unfortunately, the restaurant closed shortly after I left for school and the Penners moved to another province so I lost track of them. But I still have the wonderful recipe to remind me of the mornings, lunches and evenings I spent at that unique little restaurant.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP cocoa
- ½ cup milk
- 3 TBSP melted butter
- 1 TBSP vanilla
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 1 ¼ cup water
- Sift ¾ cup sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 TBSP cocoa together.
- Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- Spread batter in 9” square pan.
- Mix ½ cup sugar, brown sugar and ¼ cup cocoa. Sprinkle over batter.
- Pour water over all and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until cake top springs back when lightly touched.
- Scoop out with a spoon and serve warm with whipped cream on top.
- If you have leftovers, store cake in fridge. Microwave before serving.
Let me know how yours turns out. I hope you enjoy the gooey chocolatey-ness!