Did you have a favourite cake that you requested for your birthday when you were a kid? I’m sure most kids did. Hell, I know adults who still put in special requests for their birthday cake each year. Who am I kidding? That adult is me. My special request was always for a Chocolate Mud Cake. I love mud cake so much, I even requested one for my 21st birthday a few years ago.
Sometimes as a kid, we’d come home from school and there’d be one of the cheap mud cakes from Coles or Woollies waiting for afternoon tea. Those were always the best days, but if you managed to get a real mud cake from Michel’s Patisserie or the Cheesecake Shop, then you were in business. They were the bomb-diggity, but they only usually came out on special occasions.
Last Sunday was Iain’s birthday, and when I asked him what sort of cake he wanted, he replied with one word: chocolate. While it is rare for him to make a decision so easily, it didn’t really help me much, so I started listing different types of cakes. He settled on a mud cake (maybe with a little persuasion from yours truly), though I’m not entirely sure he knew exactly what it was.
Once again, I seem to have come across another dish that is predominantly an Aussie thing. All the recipes I found online were from Australian websites and I could only find forums discussing what a mud cake was, no actual websites describing them. It seems that the rest of the world is sadly devoid of this dense but moist beauty. I’m sure a similar cake exists by a different name in another part of the world, but I haven’t come across anything yet. I’d love to hear of any that you guys know of.
So, for all the non-Aussies out there, I’m going to give you my best description of a mud cake. Firstly, it is not to be confused with a Mississippi Mud Pie. Secondly, it would probably best be likened to a flourless chocolate cake, except that it has flour in it. It is dense as. And really heavy. It is super chocolatey and rich, but so so moist and it’s always topped with a layer of chocolate ganache or glaze. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. It can also come in other flavours – caramel or white chocolate are the most common – and they are just as dense and heavy and rich and moist and delicious!
Chocolate Mud Cake
Prep Time: 40 minutes + overnight
Cooking Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes
250g butter, chopped
2½ cups caster sugar
250g dark chocolate (55% cocoa minimum)
2 tbsp instant coffee powder/granules, dissolved in 185ml boiling water
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup milk
150g dark chocolate (55% cocoa minimum)
60g butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Grease and line a 23cm (9 inch) round spring-form pan (or any other deep pan), ensuring the paper lining reaches several centimetres above the rim of the pan.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter, caster sugar, dark chocolate and dissolved coffee over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until fully combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift plain flour, self-raising flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, vegetable oil and milk. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add egg mixture. Use a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly. Add half of the butter-chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and mix until no lumps are remaining. Add the rest of the chocolate-butter mixture and stir until well combined and runny.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 2 hours 15 minutes. This may vary according to each oven, so keep an eye on it for the last half hour, inserting a skewer into the cake to test whether it is ready. If the skewer comes out almost clean with no large bits of cake stuck to it, then the cake is ready.
- Allow cake to cool in pan overnight, covered with a cloth or tea towel. The cake will have risen significantly while cooking, but will most likely sink a bit in the middle as it cools.
- The following day, remove cake from pan and use a serrated knife to cut off any risen edges in order to make the cake completely flat on top. Flip cake over and place on a sheet of baking paper to decorate, bottom up.
- To make chocolate glaze, melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add melted butter and stir until well combined. Pour glaze onto the middle of the cake and use a spatula to spread evenly across the top, allowing it to run down the sides. Allow glaze to set fully at room temperature before serving (if stored in the fridge it will lose its glossiness). Cake only gets better with age and will last about 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Recipe from Through my Kitchen Window, adapted and rewritten.