I had every intention of filling this post with grand historical facts about the origin of the cake and it’s namesake cousin, the Mississippi Mud Pie. However, a cursory search of the internet didn’t yield much to pass on beyond the obvious: a rich chocolate, brownie-like cake smothered in melted marshmallows and chocolate glaze is alot like sticky mud…the mud around the Mississippi River, in particular. So, there you have it in a pretty anti-climactic nutshell.
But, after digging a little deeper it seems that based on the cake’s puzzling name, the layers of the finished cake are cause for speculation over any symbolism their inclusion in the recipe has. Throughout the articles and posts I read, the ideas tossed around discussing the cake’s bit and pieces went a lot like this:
the cake = the earth
the glaze = the mud
the pecans/nuts = wood? trees? rocks? There were a few varying opinions on this one
the marshmallows = ??? Well, this ingredient seems to be shrouded in complete mystery as to any allegorical value it may have. But, I have to get down to the nitty gritty here and just accept that there may be no logical comparison. Melted marshmallows just make everything better anyway and I’m pretty sure that’s why they’re included…just because they can be.
Although the historical facts about this cake were a bit murky, I can pass on some verified personal history with this dessert. In fact, I remember the first time I tasted this cake like it was yesterday! Many years ago, my Aunt Betty served Mississippi Mud Cake at an annual family reunion we attended on Easter weekend throughout my younger years. Once our big family dinner was over and I finally got to try a piece of that heavenly-looking cake, it pretty much knocked my socks off.
Yep, this sticky, gooey, chocolately, marshmallow-y cake totally had twelve-year-old me at “hello”.
It was such a hit at that get-together, that every year after that some version of this cake was served. My favorite twist on it was her Dirt Cake that she served in a huge terracotta pot complete with gummy worms and fake flowers. It was awesome! I will never forget how much fun we had on those weekend visits so many years ago.
Last Sunday, I wanted to make a special dessert for my kids to round out our last weekend of summer. Once I thought about Mississippi Mud Cake, nothing else would do for my marshmallow-loving kids. Unfortunately, I never asked my sweet aunt for her recipe before she passed on just a few years back. But, the basic concept was not lost on me and I put this version together with scratch-made, super-moist chocolate cake, a big ol’ bag of marshmallows and a decadent chocolate glaze. I did not include any nuts because my kids don’t really like them, but a handful or two of some chopped pecans would be a welcome addition for a nice bit of texture,if you like that sort of thing!
I promise that this is a recipe to get lost in…in more ways than one!
Here’ a short Youtube video (more like a snippet) I made when I was icing this cake, just for fun. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel while you’re there!
Mississippi Mud Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 finely chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1-1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup canola oil (or other light cooking oil)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup hot, fresh brewed coffee
- bag (10 oz) of mini-marshmallows,
Chocolate Glaze (instructions follow in step 5 of the recipe)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-5 tablespoons hot coffee
- 1/2 -3/4 cup finely chopped pecans for topping (optional)
For the cake :
Instructions for making glaze:
6. Transfer the icing to a measuring cup or some other cup that will make it easy to pour the icing onto the cake evenly. Pour the icing over the warm cake, as evenly as possible and allow the cake to cool completely.
7. Get a glass of cold milk or hot coffee and enjoy!
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