Life is sweet with Tarek’s puddings

If Mary Berry is the reigning queen of baking, then Tarek Malouf is surely next in line to the throne.

The founder of the exceedingly good Hummingbird Bakery brought cupcakes back into fashion, when he opened the first of his six bakeries back in 2004, and is just about to publish his fourth - and very eagerly-awaited - cookbook, ‘Life Is Sweet’.

Here’s one to try - this baked pudding ends up with a soft brownie-like texture and is incredibly easy to make, as it doesn’t really require much in terms of assembly and mixing. Once it’s ready, the top will be firm to the touch, but the middle will still be soft and gooey, so the skewer test shouldn’t be used here.

Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas 4. Grease a 23 x 32cm tin with butter.

To make the pudding, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa in a bowl.

Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, beat the evaporated milk, vanilla and melted butter into the dry ingredients until smooth. Fold in the pecans by hand and spread the mixture evenly in the tin.

To make the topping, mix the brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle over the mixture in the tin. Pour the hot water over the entire pudding.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is firm to touch. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving.

:: The Hummingbird Bakery: Life Is Sweet: 100 Original Recipes For Happy Home Baking by Tarek Malouf is published in hardback by Fourth Estate, priced £20. Available February 26