Nothing beats a good chocolate cake. There’s just something so satisfying about slicing your fork through layers of fluffy chocolate sponge before hitting the gooey chocolate frosting centre, and then another layer of chocolate sponge.
For someone who loves chocolate so much, it’s actually been a remarkably long time since I’ve baked a chocolate cake. Probably because I order chocolate cake any chance I get when I’m out, so I try to bake something different when I’m home.
During my unintentionally long hiatus from blogging, I developed a bit of an obsession with layer cakes. I’d go on late night pinning sprees (my layer cake board is here if you’re interested) where I came across a few different Australian Mud Cake recipes.
Before Pinterest mud cakes had always been somewhat of a myth to me. The kind of thing you’d make in your back garden when you were a kid. When I realised they were actually real, I just assumed it was another name for a chocolate cake. Kind of like a Devil’s Food Cake, or a chocolate fudge cake.
Chocolate mud cakes are actually a super dense and moist rich chocolate cake that’s perfect for carving. Some even say they’re similar in density to a brownie. Since they’re an Australian invention, most recipes I’ve found have Australian measurements which differ slightly from UK and American measurements.
After planning on making a chocolate mud cake for weeks, I’d settled on trying one from one of my favourite cake books – Australian Woman’s Weekly Decorating Cakes, but then I’d read somewhere online that mud cakes can be quite tricky to master. My fear of failure kicked in, and I ended up switching the recipe I was going to use with one that I’d found on Pinterest which claimed to be an Americanised fail proof recipe.
There’s a serious amount of chocolate in this cake, and it’s gooooood. I’m not able to compare it to an authentic Australian mud cake, so I can’t say for sure whether this is as good or better than the original, but it was definitely good. So good that when I bought the leftover cake into the office the next day three different people asked me for the recipe.
The original recipe calls for this cake to be baked in two 8 inch pans, but I baked them in three 6 inch rounds instead and the amount of batter was just right. The only word of advice I’d give is that if you’re baking these in 6 inch pans, then you’ll need to adjust your baking time and temperature slightly since the cakes will be thicker and take a little longer to cook. Admittedly I wasn’t paying attention, and forgot my cakes were in the oven so I think the texture ended up being dryer and crumblier than they were supposed to be, but they were still good, and definitely not dry.
This recipe calls for a rich chocolately sour cream frosting, but I opted to go with a chocolate butter cream that I whipped up myself without a recipe, purely because I didn’t have sour cream and I was too lazy to go out and buy some.
I can’t wait to try baking an authentic Australian mud cake next to see how it compares to this “American” version. If you know a good Australian mud cake recipe, or any tips on baking them feel free to leave me a comment and let me know!
American Mud Cake with Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
via Cake Paper Party
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, or 8 ounces, or 227 grams) each halved
7 ounces (198 grams) 72% cacao or more dark chocolate, chopped or broken coarsely (I used Ghiradelli Twilight Delight)
2 cups (14 ounces, or 397 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (2 ounces, or 57 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder (I recommend Cacao Barry Extra Brute or Pernigotti)
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) strong hot coffee or hot water plus 1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups (10 ounces, or 284 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 grams) baking powder
1 ½ tsp (9 grams) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
½ tsp (4 grams) salt
For the Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
½ cup (4 ½ ounces, or 128 grams by weight) sour cream
½ cup (3 ½ ounces, or 100 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (5 ¼ ounces by weight, or 150 grams) corn syrup
1 Tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (12 ounces, or 3 sticks, or 340 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (3 ½ ounces, or 100 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder
4 cups (16 ounces, or 454 grams) powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans* with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
2. In an 8-cup microwave safe container, melt butter and chocolate. Heat butter and chocolate for 1 minute followed with 30 second intervals, whisking until completely melted.
3. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 increments whisking until smooth. Add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time.
4. In a mixer bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix with the wire beater until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Once it is all added, beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and beat for 30 seconds more until smooth.
5. Pour into cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester just comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely or wrap in plastic wrap until needed. Frost and fill with Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting or other icing and filling. Enjoy! *This makes 2 thick layers that can be torted but could also be baked in 3 8-inch pans.
For the Frosting
6. Combine sour cream, granulated sugar and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 30 seconds to aid dissolving of sugar. Stir in vanilla. Set aside.
7. In a mixer bowl beat butter with a paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in cocoa powder on low speed until smooth and creamy. With mixer on low gradually add in sour cream mixture; beat for 30 seconds to incorporate. Add powdered sugar and mix on low speed until smooth and blended. Note: beating the mixture at a higher speed with result in a lighter, fluffier frosting.
8. Use to frost and fill American Mud Cake or cake or cupcakes of your choice.