There is Mud Cake and there is Mud Cake. The always-fudgey cake takes its name after the thick mud of the Mississippi River banks, needs a glug of bourbon just like on the old riverboats, and is a card-carrying member of the Southern baking repertoire along with banana pudding and baking powder biscuits.
This recipe is from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King (St. Martin’s Press 2005), a fabulous, down to earth little known, yummy, all-purpose baking book: “Bob Sielaff, my professor at Cobleskill College (a college of technology and agriculture in New York state with “real life” laboratories that are all the rage in university courses these days: ie. a dairy barn, an equestrian center, greenhouses, a heavy equipment laboratory, a fish hatchery, a restaurant, a catering kitchen, and two production kitchens), gave me this recipe years ago. I never got around to making it until I started working on this book. When I first tried it, warm from the oven, I thought, I don’t get it. It’s not so great. I put the cake in the refrigerator and went to bed thinking Bob must be nuts. In the morning, I tried it again, just to make sure. I was shocked to find that it was marvelous. I think this cake must be served cold, but make it and decide for yourself.”
And I got this recipe from my friend Foodie Peg, Peggy Fallon the Queen of Cupcakes, who has impeccable taste when it comes to chocolate cake. She uses Maker’s Mark bourbon and Ghirardelli chocolate.
Serves 10 to 12
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups strong brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 5-ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 cups organic granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 275ºF. Butter generously or spray a 10-inch bundt pan and sift unsweetened cocoa powder in it to completely dust the pan.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda,and salt. Set it aside.
In a medium saucepan, mix the coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and butter over low heat. Stir the ingredients until the butter and chocolate are melted. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer. Add the sugar, a little at a time on low speed, beating until it is dissolved. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to make a batter.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla until the batter is smooth. (This mixing sequence is a bit different, but it works.) The batter will be very thin.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Transfer to a wire rack. Cool the cake completely before turning it out from the pan onto a plate.
Refrigerate the cake 6 hours to overnight. Serve cold with Tangy Whipped Cream and Lightly Sweetened Raspberries (see instructions below), or just plain out of hand like a kid.
Tangy Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
The combination of sour cream and whipped cream not only makes the cream more stable, but gives a velvet texture and fantastic, ever so slightly sour dimension to the flavor. A favorite of mine that I like on crisps as well.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sour cream
With electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla, gradually increasing speed from low to high, until cream forms soft peaks, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. On low speed, mix in the sour cream until just incorporated; do not over beat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours.
Lightly Sweetened Raspberries
- 3 cups fresh raspberries, gently rinsed and dried, or frozen raspberries
- 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Gently toss raspberries with sugar, then let stand at room temperature until berries have released some juice and sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes. If using frozen, just sprinkle with sugar and let stand to defrost. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes about 3 cups.
text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016. Recipe Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King (St. Martin’s Press 2005)
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.