Recipe: Chocolate mud cake
It's rich, dense, moist, cuts well, keeps well and there are never any returns.
Most of us love chocolate, and particularly in a cake.
If you need a book chock-a-block with chocolate cake recipes, look for 50 Fabulous Chocolate Cakes edited by Australian food writer Rita Erlich and published by Penguin. It has been recently revised and republished. I have owned a copy for years and it is well-thumbed.
Today's Mississippi Mud Cake(s) recipe is a long-term favourite in our catering kitchen. We are not sure of its origin, but we have made it with enormous success for years. It's rich, dense, moist, cuts well, keeps well and there are never any returns.
I love chocolate cake with added ingredients or flavours, such as ground almonds, raspberries or orange zest, but most people are rapt to receive a solid piece of the real McCoy.
This mud cake is perfect for a birthday, or an any-time cake, but we often use the recipe to make little baby cakes cut from slabs of mud cake. That's because the batter does not respond well to baking in muffin tins and, anyway, it's cute to have straight-sided baby cakes for a change.
Chocolate Ganache is a shiny, smooth topping and, being made with 70 per cent chocolate, it's not overly sweet. For a final touch, try an edible flower garnish such as a flower from a lemon tree, or a violet, which looks pretty against the chocolate colour.
MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE(S)
Makes one round 23cm cake, or 28 little round cakes
By all means, serve with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, or both.
250g unsalted butter, diced
15ml (1 Tbsp) whisky
185g (1 cup less 1 Tbsp) sugar
250g dark (70 per cent) chocolate tablet, coarsely chopped
375ml (1 cups) hot water, but not boiling
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
185ml (1 cups + 1 tsp) self-raising flour
30g ( cup + 1 Tbsp) Dutched cocoa (Dutched refers to the process. Dutched cocoa is alkalised cocoa which makes it softer and rounder in flavour)
Preheat oven to 160°C.
For one round cake , grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm round, loose-bottom cake tin with baking spray, vegetable oil or melted butter. Line base with two layers of baking paper.
Place butter, whisky, sugar, chocolate and hot water into a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, set on to a low heat. Stir until chocolate has just melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl .
Gradually stir chocolate mixture into flour mixture, ensuring you do not beat any air in. (In this recipe air creates deep cracks on surface of baked cake.)
Pour batter into prepared cake tin.
Place into preheated oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool completely before turning out on to a cake rack.
Pour Chocolate Ganache over cake and smooth with a dry, cold palette knife or dinner knife. (If the palette knife is wet or hot, when ganache sets it will appear bloomed, with white streaks.)
For 28 little cakes , lightly grease bases and sides of two, deep 20cm x 30cm slice tins. Line bases with double baking paper, cut to fit.
Proceed with recipe, but pour batter into the two prepared slice tins. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool. Turn cake out on to a chopping board or bench and - using a 5.5cm cookie cutter, or similar size glass as a template - cut out 28 rounds. Place rounds on to a cake rack and pour Chocolate Ganache on to each one. Smooth with a dry, cold palette knife or dinner knife.
If you wish to make a filling from this ganache, once it is a spreadable consistency, whisk (preferably with an electric mixer) until thick and creamy.
250g dark chocolate (70 per cent) tablet, coarsely chopped
250ml (1 cup cream)
Place chocolate into a bowl. Place cream into a saucepan set over a medium heat and bring to just below the boil.
Pour cream over chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave at room temperature to cool for 30 minutes, or until Chocolate Ganache has thickened to a spreadable consistency. The edge will be thicker sooner than the centre, so stir a few times as it is cooling so as to incorporate the two consistencies.