Thursday, 2 August 2012

United Bakes of America Round Three...and a Mississippi Mud Cake for the state of Mississippi


So you're probably thinking that looks like a funny apple butter cake! but I was planning to bake that since it came from West Virginia for Alphabakes' W challenge but I realised the submission date was going to be before I blogged so I had a change of plan...and Byron (my husband) actually picked out the choice for this month!

He told me I'd been spending too much time with Warren recently, as I walked into the lounge with United Bakes of America tucked under my arm! Warren is the author of the book! I guess my husband is either one fantastic listener or I bend his ear too much about blogging considering he knows the authors names of my recipe books! hehe

So I agreed that he could pick the recipe for me to bake this month, no surprises that the chocolate lover in him went for this Mississippi Mud Cake.  It is an extremely rich dense cake that actually calls for unsweetened chocolate which is100% cocoa solids, and then of course there's that chocolate-y muddy icing too! with a layer of toasted marshmallows in between.

No prizes for where this cake originates from! It gets the mud cake part of it's name from the Mississippi river itself which carries more than 400,000 tons of silt, mud and sand every day.  The mud's rich darkness makes bakers think of chocolate,and so it has inspired all sorts of Mississippi mud concoctions like the infamous Mississippi Mud Pie.  This is a tribute to the river in cake form, it doesn't contain any baking soda or baking powder because it's supposed to be flat, dense and intense - just like the river!
You may be interested to discover that the Mississippi river directly touched 10 different states, and in America where states are so enormous that is no mean feat, we're talking about a huuuge river! 


I'm beginning to doubt whether Warren has actually baked any of the recipes in the book himself! After having problems with the last two recipes I've tried...this time the muddy icing didn't work out either.  I added the liquids to the icing sugar and instead of it whipping up into a nice glossy pourable icing, it turned into a big dough like blob!! I had followed the recipe exactly so I wasn't too impressed! Luckily with a lot of cream and some hot milk I managed to save it and turn it into more of a ganache...but Warren needs to pull his socks up, because if I don't have more success with his book in the coming months I'm thinking of ditching it and switching it out for my new Martha book.


Mississippi Mud Cake:
Serves 12

1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp double cream
9 ozs unsweetened chocolate (100%), melted
8 ozs unsalted butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.  Grease a 7 x 11 inch brownie pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Set aside.
Mix the chocolate and the double cream together in a separate bowl.
In the bowl of a free standing electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar and mix on low speed for 3 mins.
Add the eggs and yolks all at once before the mixture creams.
Add the dry ingredients and mix briefly, do not fully combine.
Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and scrape the batter off the beater, and gently fold in the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30mins, crumbs should stick to a knife inserted in the middle - you do not want it to come out clean.
Top the cake with a generous layer of marshmallows.  Return it to the oven and bake for approx. 5 minutes longer but watch it carefully as the marshmallows can burn easily.
Set the cake aside to cool.

For the muddy icing:

4 ozs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
5 ozs dark chocolate (I used half milk/half white because I didn't want the whole thing to be super rich)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk slowly to blend.  Avoid incorporating air so that the "mud" won't crack after it sets.

If your icing has worked I congratulate you! If you had rather not risk it then use 3 cups of icing sugar instead of 4, and add 150 ml double cream and 50ml heated milk to make the icing into a pourable consistency!

and now let's check out what you've all been baking this month!

Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker was first off the mark with these whoopie pies.  Not only did she use the very American ingredient of marshmallow fluff (which can we all celebrate for a moment that you can get it in supermarkets now - hooray!) but whoopies pies themselves are as American as they come.  They are actually the official bake of Maine, Amish wives used to use the leftover batter to make these and stash them in their farmer husbands lunchboxes.  The history books say that as the farmers would open up their lunchboxes to discover those tasty treats they would exlclaim 'whoopie'! and so the whoopie pie was born and Americans have been whipping them up ever since! I love Ros's filling to cake ratio, the more fluff the better in my opinion! and covering the filling in sprinkles adds a fun touch too!


and Caroline from Caroline Makes made this Walnut Espresso Layer Cake from the recipe book of one of my very favourite London bakeries - Outsider Tart.  It was baked for a coffee lovers birthday so I'm sure it went down a treat especially with those exploding maltesers coming from the cake which Caroline attached with florists wire for a fancy finish! 


Kerry from Kerry Cooks baked up these Peanut Butter Choc Fudge Brownies with Pretzels.  We clearly think alike since I baked up brownies with those exact same flavours earlier in the month! I love how each of Kerry's brownies has a whole devoted pretzel on the top of each portion! and that still warm and melty drizzle of chocolate is certainly very inviting! She had a whole month of American bakes this past month so go check out what else she made! 


Finally, my sister, Tamara, baked up these Rocky Road Brownies.  It's a dense fudgy brownie with chocolate fudge frosting, and then the fun part begins as it is piled high with marshmallows, shortbread, maltesers and honeycomb and of course that all important drizzle of white chocolate to finish it off!


So that's it for another month! Thanks to all who joined in, I just love seeing your U.S bakes! I haven't quite decided what I'm going to bake this month but it will be something delicious and decadent that's for sure - come back at the end of the month to check it out or join in with us and submit your American themed bakes - whether it's the ingredient, the recipe used, or the style of cake e.g bundt cake/pound cake.




24 comments:

  1. Shame the recipe for the Mississippi mud cake didn't turn out quite right - I hate it when you follow the instructions exactly and it is nothing like the picture! But someone told me once that even the same recipe on an industrial scale or in a professional kitchen can have very different results in a domestic kitchen even if you do everything the way they tell you. Still, the cake does look amazing and I'm drooling over it!

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    1. Thanks, it does disappoint me to think that some authors of cake books don't test out all their recipes in a domestic kitchen!

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  2. Yum all the creations looks like chocolate heaven! I loved looking at the pics in his book and reading the stories but i was always put off by the long ingredients list and how difficult it was to source some of them. Your mud pie looks great! x

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    1. yeah that's true things like potato flour and other random stuff that I have no idea where to get! but the stories are fun (if only the bakes were as good as the stories!)

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  3. That cake looks super! So indulgent!

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    1. Thanks, it was extremely indulgent, I had to eat mine with some very hefty scoops of ice cream just to break the richness...although I guess the ice cream made it even more indulgent! haha

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  4. That cake is full of all kinds of chocolate goodness!

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    1. It sure is - my favourite kind of cake!

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  5. Hi from California! Looks yummy! I'm wondering if the reason your chocolate icing turned into a big blob is because you used milk chocolate and white chocolate instead of dark chocolate? I know that milk chocolate has either milk or powdered milk in it which changes its melting properties vs. dark/bittersweet chocolate that doesn't have milk in it. When I make white or milk chocolate ganache I find I always have to use more cream than when making bittersweet chocolate ganache. Just a thought :)

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    1. That is a very good point my Californian friend! I hadn't even thought about that but yeah white chocolate does have crazy melting properties! so perhaps next time I should follow the recipe exactly before I pas judgement! but even the marshmallow layer messed up too!

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  6. I will absolutely being taking part this month Gem promise. Your mud pie looks awesome by the way.

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    1. Thanks, can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  7. That slab of mud pie needs to be in my tummy! The sneaky peek of marshmallow between the chocolate layers makes it even more tempting.

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    1. yeah in hindsight I should have done a double marshmallow layer, the sneaky peek was not enough for me!

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  8. Yummy, yummy, chocolate i love...

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    1. yeah you just can't beat a chocolate dessert can you!

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  9. I'm loving the look of the mississippi mud cake, the icing looks good - I like the matt finish, bet it tasted great!

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    1. It did taste super yum, the cake part was super moist and fudgy.

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  10. Even though I'm from Arkansas, I know a thing or two about the Mississippi River. I grew up on the delta right by it! This is a really decadent looking cake!

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    1. I never knew you were from Arkansas, how cool! I'm super jealous of anyone who lives in America...especially all that awesome food you have there in the deep South! Next month you should join in and contribute one of your bakes to the challenge, we'd love to have you!

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  11. Byron chose well - I have a feeling we'd get on well together :) This looks like a choc-a-holic's dream (ie mine!) Shame the recipe didn't work as intended. Martha is definitely a safe bet. Great round up as usual and I've just emailed an entry for this month.

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    1. Haha I'm sure you two would, he's a peanut butter nut too! Yes I'm loving your eagerness for UBA hehe, your cookies looked awesome!

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  12. ALL of those treats look amazing.

    and i just read your about me... i live in san diego! please let me know if/when you make it here!! ill take you on quite the culinary tour :)

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    1. Ahhh you live in San Diego?! So super jeal! A culinary tour by a local sounds amazing! I will be sure to look you up next time I'm headed there!

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