Mud cake is an easy-to-make gooey-rich chocolate experience. Oh sure I dressed it up a little here, but you don’t have to get fancy if you’re time pressed or bashful about meringue. You can serve yours with ice cream, marshmallow, anything you like. Just leave plenty of room after supper. In fact maybe just skip supper altogether, since one piece of this 2-inch-tall brownie-like cake and you’ll be set for the night.
Start by assembling your ingredients, preheating your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and preparing a 9-inch springform pan for baking. Combine your chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and zap for 10 seconds on high. Stir, do it again and again until everything is almost all melted.
When there are just a few pieces left just stir and let the residual heat melt it all. Set that aside for the moment.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and espresso powder together.
Add the sugar and salt.
Whisk all that together.
Combine the egg and buttermilk in a small bowl.
Add that in…
…then the chocolate mixture.
Then just mix it all together until it’s mostly homogenous.
Scrape that into your pan.
Bake for about 90 minutes until the cake doesn’t slosh when you jostle it. Here I should say that you can bake this less or more. Another 20 minutes would firm the cake all the way through to the center (though it will still be plenty moist). 15 minutes less and you’ll have a muddy-as-a-Kentucky-road-after-a-rainstorm mud cake. That’s fine, just remember your center will fall in pretty severely once the cake has cooled. This is a sloppy cake anyway, so that’s not a problem. It’s all about what you’re up for. So long as your center is over 160 degrees Fahrenheit when you take it out, you’re good to go.
If you want to top yours like I did mine, whip up a batch of Swiss meringue in the last half hour or so of baking. Crank your oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit as soon as you take the cake out of the oven.
Load the meringue into a large pastry bag with no collar. I normally use disposables so I can cut as large a hole in the end as I like. Today I was out of those so I used a fabric bag. Start in the middle…
…holding the bag about an inch above the top of the cake. Extrude the meringue down until it touches, keep the pressure on until a large blob forms, then relax your grip and pull away. Easy!
Cover the top of the cake.
By the time you’re done the oven should be up to temperature. Return the cake to the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes, checking every couple of minutes to make sure the meringue isn’t burning, until the meringue is golden. You can apply large marshmallows and brown them in this way as well if you prefer.
Let the cake cool about ten or fifteen minutes and remove the ring and the paper. Serve it hot if you like — people love that — or wait longer and serve it merely warm, up to an hour later.
It cuts sloppy even on a good day. Still it looks kinda cool.
I know some of you chocolate fiends are wondering: just how muddy is this when it’s baked for 90 minutes? About like this: very, very moist and a little fudgy. Not runny but one heck of a rich and gooey chocolate experience, especially combined with the meringue.
Works for me. I shudder to think what’s going to happen when Mrs. Pastry and the girls get home this evening. I think I’ll just cover the dining room floors and walls with sheets of plastic, shut the door and go to bed. I don’t want to watch.