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Mississippi Mud Cake a rich, nut-studded treat

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Mississippi Mud Cake is a dark, rich chocolate cake topped with marshmallows, nuts and a gooey chocolate frosting.


The cake and its cousin, Mississippi Mud Pie, are supposedly named after the dark muddy soil of the Mississippi River. But the name of this cake doesn't mean as much to us as how it tastes -- and it tastes heavenly!

Marion Stewart of Clarion, Clarion County, requested today's recipe. We received a whopping 50 responses. Kitchen Mailbox would like to give a collective thank-you to all who responded. We decided to go with the recipe sent by Lynn Severns of Carnegie.

We chose her recipe because it's a little different: The cake is baked in two 9-inch-square pans. It's a scratch cake made with whipping cream, butter, cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate and dark brown sugar -- and this is just the batter. The baked layers are immediately spread with marshmallows and nuts and returned to the oven until the marshmallows begin to melt.

The fabulous frosting calls for two types of chocolate, whipping cream, butter, dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar. Then the frosting is refrigerated until it sets, about 1 hour 15 minutes. It is then spread between the two cake layers and only on the sides of the cake. You don't want to hide the marshmallows and chopped nuts. But we couldn't resist melting a little frosting and drizzling it over the top of the cake.

This cake makes an impressive presentation. And if you want to really get your guests' attention, add a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

Mississippi Mud Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans (about 7 ounces)

For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch-square cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with foil, extending foil over sides. Butter and flour (we used cocoa powder) the foil.

Cream butter, dark brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in melted unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 cup whipping cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into batter, (it will be very thick). Divide batter between prepared pans, spreading evenly.

Bake until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes (see note). Remove from oven. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups marshmallows and 1 cup pecans over each cake. Bake just until marshmallows begin to melt, about 6 minutes. Transfer to racks. Cool cakes completely in pans.

To remove cake from pans, hold on to the foil and gently pull out the cake. Another pair of hands comes in handy. Then gently remove the foil from the bottom of the cake.

Note: After 20 minutes, our cake did not test done (it was still mostly liquid). We set the timer for 10 more minutes, which was too long. As a result, the cake came out dry. We suggest testing every minute or so after 20 minutes so you don't make the same mistake.


  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dark brown sugar and whipping cream in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until candy thermometer registers 220 degrees, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter, unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, dark corn syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until all chocolate melts and frosting is smooth.

Refrigerate frosting until it is of spreadable consistency, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Place one cake layer on plate, marshmallow side up. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting over it. Top with second cake layer, marshmallow side up. Spread remaining frosting in waves on sides (not top) of cake. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Serves 12.

Sunshine Cake revisted

We would like to clear up a few questions regarding last week's Sunshine Cake recipe. The amount of flour (1 1/4 cups) is correct. You should use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites. The egg whites must form stiff peaks. Properly whipped egg whites will be moist and shiny. Over-whipped egg whites will be dry and spongy or curdled. The egg whites should be folded into the batter, not mixed. Mixing the two will release the air in the egg whites resulting in a flat cake. With a spatula, start at the back of the mixture and gently cut vertically through the two mixtures across the bottom of the bowl and up the other side. Do this until the batters are combined.


Diane Unetich of Upper St. Clair writes: "Any chance you could find a recipe for phyllo vegetable torte? The dish contains wild mushrooms, goat cheese, roasted red bell pepper, fresh herbs and risotto. It's served with a tomato basil coulis." Diane sampled this dish at Chandler's Restaurant in Ketchum, Idaho. Restaurants do not give out their recipes, but we hope a reader might share a similar recipe.

Sandy Simchak of Johnstown is searching for a New York-style cheesecake recipe.

Joan Pomatto of Apollo is searching for a recipe for tomato Florentine soup similar to the soup served at Tazza D'Oro in Highland Park.


"Enjoyed seeing the Kay Neuman recipe for cottage cheese rolls in Thursday's food section [Kitchen Mailbox, April 17]. Do you know of any source where I may find a compilation of Neuman's recipes? I remember watching her television show on KDKA. I would love to have a collection of her recipes, or at least a few of them."

Eileen Chiprich

"Was there ever a Kay Neuman cookbook published?"

Loretta Beaver
Linesville, Crawford County

Editor's note: Kitchen Mailbox gets many requests for Kay Neuman's recipes, which were published in a column in the 1950s in the old Sun-Telegraph. Unfortunately, the PG's electronic library only goes back to the early 1990s. And a search of what remains of the old clippings library turns up no leads. It's possible that the only repository of Neuman's recipes resides in the recipe boxes of readers of the Sun-Telegraph and on microfilm at the Carnegie Library in Oakland (Pennsylvania Department). If any readers know of any collections, we'd be happy to hear from you.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail toaburnett@post-gazette.com . Please include a name, neighborhood/-city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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