Dark chocolate mud cake – A dark chocolate mud cake recipe that’s full of flavour, dense and perfect under fondant.
When I first started cake decorating, I wanted to find a chocolate mud cake that was easy to bake but above all, delicious. Well, this recipe from Best Recipes was the first chocolate mud cake I came across and it’s an absolute winner! I’ve tried a few other popular recipes and I keep coming back to this one time and time again. Jessica Harris from the wonderful blog Jessica Harris Cake Design also loves this recipe and wrote a great post about it here.
What is a mud cake?
You may of heard people referring to mud cakes, but still not sure what the heck a mud cake actually is. Typically a mud cake starts off by melting the butter, chocolate, sugar and liquid (either water, milk, coconut milk or juice) in a saucepan on the stove. Allowed to cool, the liquid is added to the dry ingredients. Rather than using an electric mixer to incorporate a lot of air to make it light and fluffy, you mix it with a hand held whisk just until the ingredients are incorporated. It’s a very liquid-y batter so don’t be alarmed that it looks quite wet.
Mud cakes are cooked low and slow – the oven temperature is much lower than a typical sponge cake and they’re cooked over a few hours. They have a tight crumb making them quite dense and that makes them ideal for carving. The mud cake is popular in Australia and the cake of choice for many decorators. They can be baked ahead and actually improve in taste and texture over a few days. I find this recipe reaches it’s “sweet spot” at about day 3 or 4. So for a weekend party, I’ll bake the cake on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you’d like to get ahead with the cake and bake it earlier and freeze the cake, you can do that too.
While there is a teaspoon of coffee in this recipe, for me the coffee flavour doesn’t come through once the cake is baked. The coffee is added to enhance the chocolate flavour. So if you’re not a fan of coffee, I would still encourage you to add it in. My two young boys absolutely love this cake so it’s a hit with kids and adults alike. It’s quite a sweet cake because of the chocolate and sugar but you could always reduce the amount of sugar if you wish. We have caster sugar readily available in Australia, but if you don’t then you can add your normal granulated sugar to a blender and pulse it a few times until it’s super fine – not so fine that it turns into powdered/icing sugar though!
So, now you’ve had the run down on what a chocolate mud cake is, let’s get to the fun part – baking!
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe
A full flavoured, rich dark chocolate mud cake recipe perfect for cake decorating.
- 250 grams Unsalted butter chopped
- 200 grams Dark chocolate pieces
- 2 cups Caster sugar
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1 tsp Instant coffee
- 3/4 cup Plain flour
- 3/4 cup Self raising flour
- 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
- 3 Eggs lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius (Approx. 302 F).
Grease and line your tin/s with baking paper on the base and sides.
In a large saucepan, add the butter, dark chocolate, caster sugar, water and coffee.
Over a low heat, allow all the ingredients to melt and the sugar to dissolve. Stir constantly - do not allow the mixture to boil.
Once melted, take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for approx. 15 - 30 mins.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the plain flour, self raising flour and cocoa powder.
Add the cooled liquid to the dry ingredients and mix together gently with a hand held whisk. Ensure any clumps of flour are fully incorporated into the mixture.
Add the beaten eggs and mix gently.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin/s.
Bake for approx. 1.5 - 2.5 hrs. The cake is cooked when there are a few cracks on top and when a wooden skewer is inserted, it comes out clean, with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Every oven is different so check the cake after 1.5 hours. If it's still wet in the middle, pop it back in the oven. My oven takes approx. 2 hours and 20 minutes whereas my mum's oven takes just under 2 hours so the exact time will depend on your oven.
When I add this batter to an 8″ round tin, the baked cake is usually approx. 2″ tall. Since I like to have my fondant cakes minimum 4″ tall, I would make up two lots of batter (one for each tin). For a 6″ cake, I would make up one lot of batter and divide the mixture evenly between two 6″ tins. The cakes below are made from one batch of batter and baked in two 6″ (3″ high) tins. Remove the top domed part and save them for a trifle, cake pops or topped with ice cream!
Cut the cakes into 1″ layers (or 1.5″, depending on how tall your cake is).
Once filled, the cake will stand just over 4″ tall. Remember that nice tall cakes will help your cake look very professional.
You’ll note in the recipe above that the baking time can vary greatly for this cake and that’s because all ovens are different. Another reason that I love this mud cake is that it’s very forgiving, so if you leave it in the oven for an extra 15 mins, it’s still going to be absolutely fine – unlike light and airy cakes which can be a little more delicate and prone to drying out.
Keep in mind the cake will need a good 3 – 4 days to mature in taste and texture. It can be stored in an air-tight container on the bench for a good week. The exact time will depend on your kitchen, environment and climate. I prefer not to refrigerate my cakes – unless it contains a perishable filling of course.
I loving pairing this mud cake with either milk or dark chocolate ganache. You could use chocolate buttercream too, it really depends on your preference.
In my post 10 Tips and Trick for New Cake Decorators, number 9 was test your recipes and flavours. I can safely say that I’ve baked this mud cake dozens of times and it always comes out perfectly baked and tastes amazing.
And there you have it, a rich chocolate-y mud cake recipe that is totally decadent and will be an absolute hit at your next celebration.
I hope you enjoyed reading the recipe, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below – have you ever baked or eaten a mud cake before?
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