Mississippi Mud Cake

Mississippi Mud Cake
PHOTO: BETH DREILING HONTZAS

Prep Time:

15 mins

Cook Time:

40 mins

Total Time:

55 mins

Servings:

15

A Mississippi mud cake is universally appreciated at Southern events. From holidays to birthdays, potlucks to parties, this chocolate cake, topped with toasty marshmallows, chocolate frosting, and toasted pecans, is a crowd-pleaser.

Learn how to make Mississippi mud cake, and thrill everyone at your next gathering when you show up with this Southern favorite.

Why Is It Called Mississippi Mud Cake?

Created during World War II by inventive home cooks making desserts with what they had on hand, this rich chocolate cake is pantry-friendly but outrageously decadent. Why the name Mississippi mud cake? A layer of mini marshmallows coated with chocolate frosting gives the cake a rocky surface that’s said to resemble the muddy banks of the Mississippi river.

Ingredients for Mississippi Mud Cake

Pantry staples including butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa, milk, and vanilla come together for an impressive, fuss-free cake. To make this mud cake, you’ll need:

  • Chopped pecans: Adds a nutty crunch to the cake. Can be left out if needed, or substituted with other types of chopped nuts, if preferred.
  • Unsalted butter: The base of the rich, dense chocolate cake and decadent frosting.
  • Semisweet chocolate: Melted and added to the cake batter for a deep chocolate flavor.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake.
  • All-purpose flour: Gives the cake a sturdy crumb.
  • Unsweetened cocoa: Amps up the chocolate flavor in the cake and frosting. Dutch-processed and dark cocoa varieties will provide a darker color and deeper flavor.
  • Large eggs: Binds the cake batter.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds depth of flavor to the cake and frosting.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor.
  • Mini marshmallows: Layered over the cake and baked for a sweet topping. If you only have large marshmallows, chop into smaller pieces before placing onto the cake.

For the Chocolate Frosting, you’ll need unsalted butter, milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract

How To Make Mississippi Mud Cake

No one would guess that this layered beauty comes together so easily. Full instructions are below, but here’s a brief recap before you get started:

  • Step 1. Prepare the Cake: Toast the pecans and set them aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a metal 15- x 10- x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray. Microwave butter and chocolate until melted. Whisk together sugar, eggs, and melted chocolate mixture. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl; stir into melted chocolate mixture.
  • Step 2. Bake the Cake: Pour batter into pan. Bake 20 minutes. Cover top of cake with marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows are golden brown.
  • Step 3. Prepare the Chocolate Frosting: Heat butter, milk, and cocoa in a medium saucepan until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Whisk or beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle over cake, and sprinkle with pecans. Let harden before cutting cake into squares.

Tips for the Best Mississippi Mud Cake

For the best Mississippi mud cake, keep these tips in mind:

  • Good quality chocolate: The higher the quality of chocolate, including the semisweet chocolate melted into the cake, and the cocoa powder used in the cake and frosting, the more rich and flavorful the results.
  • Spoon and level: A heavy hand when measuring dry ingredients can throw off the ratios of your cake batter, causing a dense result. Spoon and level or weigh your ingredients for accurate measurements every time.
  • Don’t overmix: Overmixing can cause gluten development, and a rubbery result.
  • Don’t overbake: For the fudgiest texture, bake the cake only until a wooden pick inserted still comes out with a few moist crumbs. Overbaking will lead to a dry cake.
  • Cool completely: Cool the cake completely for the cleanest slices.

How To Store Mississippi Mud Cake

Mississippi mud cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to four days. Freeze for up to three months for longer storage, either sliced (for quick grabbing) or whole. Bring to room temperature before serving.

More Decadent Chocolate Cake Recipes You’ll Love

You can never have too many options when it comes to great chocolate cakes. From poke cakes to lava cakes, these recipes deserve a spot in your collection:

  • Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
  • Coca Cola Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Mousse Cake
  • Little Layer Chocolate Cake
  • Triple-Layer Chocolate-Caramel Cake
  • One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Poke Cake
  • Chocolate Lava Cakes
  • Reese’s Cake
  • Death by Chocolate

Editorial contributions by Katie Rosenhouse.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 (10-oz.) bag miniature marshmallows

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Toast pecans:Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter:Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
  3. Make cake batter:Whisk sugar and next 5 ingredients into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into a greased 15- x 10- x 1-inch jelly-roll pan.
  4. Partially bake cake:Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
  5. Add marshmallows, and continue baking:Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with miniature marshmallows; bake 8 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Make Chocolate Frosting:Cook first 3 ingredients over medium heat in a large saucepan, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until butter melts. Remove from heat, and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  7. Add frosting and pecans to cake:Drizzle warm cake with Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.

Mississippi Mud Cake Variations

Kitchen Express Mississippi Mud Cake:

Prepare pecans as directed. Substitute 2 (6-oz.) packages fudge brownie mix for batter. Prepare mix according to package directions; pour batter into a greased 15- x 10- x 1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with marshmallows; bake 8 to 10 more minutes. Proceed with recipe as directed. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Duncan Hines Chocolate Lover’s Double Fudge Brownie Mix.

Caramel-Peanut Mississippi Mud Cake:

Omit pecans. Prepare and bake Mississippi Mud Cake as directed. Microwave 1/2 cup bottled caramel sauce at HIGH 15 seconds. Drizzle over browned marshmallows. Drizzle with Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle with 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts.

Mississippi Mud Cupcakes:

Prepare pecans and Mississippi Mud Cake batter as directed. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until puffed. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups miniature marshmallows, and bake 5 more minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and cool cupcakes in muffin pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans, and place on wire rack. Drizzle warm cakes evenly with 1 1/4 cups Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Reserve remaining 3/4 cup frosting for another use.

Note: To serve remaining Chocolate Frosting over pound cake or ice cream, microwave reserved 3/4 cup Chocolate Frosting in a medium-size microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 15 seconds or until warm.