Mollie’s Mississippi Mud Cake

My friend Lori wanted to share this story and recipe about her mom, Mollie.  I was touched by the request and thrilled that she wanted to honor her Mom!  Last week I spent an afternoon with Lori watching her prepare this family recipe and when the cake was done, we shared a slice.  

My mother Mollie is an amazing cook and baker, but I think she is most renowned
for this simple, easy, delicious, and moist chocolate cake called “Mississippi
Mud”.

This cake has been in my life since I can remember, certainly since I was a
little kid in Norwalk, Connecticut, but it may have entered my life even
earlier, when I was a baby in Stamford, Connecticut.  Frankly I really don’t
remember where the recipe originated or how it came to be my mom’s signature
cake.

What I do know is that Mississippi Mud has graced all my family’s functions for
decades, particularly the birthday parties and Chanukah parties.  And now that
my sister and I have families of our own, Mississippi Mud has also become a
regular dessert at our kids’ parties and other celebratory occasions.  It shows
up in tube pan shape, as cupcakes and mini-cupcakes, and as loaves and mini
loaves.  It freezes well.  For those of us who keep kosher, it’s prepared pareve
for Friday nights, and it rarely lasts through the weekend.  Mississippi Mud
even showed up at all of my mom’s grandkids’ bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.

The Mud has become sort of famous, I think, because since the 1960’s, that cake
has not only become a generational favorite in my family, but the recipe has
been shared coast to coast and throughout North America.

My mom is the connector in our family, the one who stays in touch through telephone
and by mail, and in these high tech times, through email and Skype.  After her
years of hosting and the frequency with which she serves Mississippi Mud for
desert, she’s given the recipe away to countless friends, cousins, siblings,
in-laws and children, who continue the tradition of serving this cake and then
sharing the recipe.  And since her daughters also make Mississippi Mud, we’ve
also become disseminators of this lovely little recipe.

Mississippi Mud is a delicate, dark chocolate, simple cake served plain or with
a light dusting of powdered sugar.  No frosting, no chocolate chips, no layers
are needed to enhance or distract from the pure chocolate silkiness of each
bite.  There was a time when my parents briefly resided in Virginia, and when my
mom showed up with the Mud in hand and no frosting in sight, the sugar-toothed
Southerners scrambled to find some whip cream with which to adorn it.  But
really, no such enhancement is needed for this cake.

Mississippi Mud is part of my family’s history, and now I’m sharing it with you.

Lori Harrison Port

Mollie’s Mississippi Mud Chocolate Cake

Melt together in a sauce pan or microwave:

1 stick of butter (or margarine if making a non-dairy version)
3 squares of unsweetened baker’s chocolate (can use cocoa using the conversion
recipe)
1 ½ cups of very hot water

Pour over:

2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs
Whisk to blend and cool slightly.   Stir in vanilla and eggs

In a separate small bowl blend

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate in thirds
Batter will be very thin and there might be some lumps left – that’s okay if they are
small.
Pour into a tube pan (NOT greased or floured)
Bake at 275 for about an hour or until tester comes out clean

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, running a knife around sides. Remove cake pan
sides.  When cool, run knife around bottom of tube pan and invert on to a
plate.

When cooled, dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Enjoy,

Irene

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5 thoughts on “Mollie’s Mississippi Mud Cake

  1. I loved your blog – (that Lori gave you) and that she posted the responses from Judy and Fran my dearest East Coast friends -Thanks

  2. My mom sent the copy of your blog, Irene, to her east coast friends. This resonse is from her friend Judy. Apparently it was Judy (our Norwalk, Conn next door neighbor) who started the recipe going.

    “I loved that whole email—thank you for sharing! OMG – how long ago that was. Did I ever tell you that a friend in CA made a similar cake and called it “the who died cake” because they always brought it to the house when someone died!
    I still make it and wouldn’t think of having a child or grandchild in the house without having a Mississippi Mud!

    I just made a French Chocolate Cake even though it’s only the two of us….it’s a very dense chocolate, heavy, high calorie cake – served with raspberry puree and whipped cream (or not). I’ll send the recipe if you want….simple to make.

    Love, Judy xxoo”

  3. Mom: I wrote Fran to see if I could find the origin since I couldn’t remember. Here is what she wrote back!

    Lori:

    My mouth is beginning to water just thinking of “THE CAKE”! I got the recipe from Mollie, the Baker Supreme, in the early days of our friendship. If my memory serves me right, I was pregnant with Bill and your mother, carrying you in her arms, came to my house on Dann Drive with someone named Bea Radin. She was married to someone who your dad knew.

    Anyway, according to a site I found named “Uncle Phaedris” – Consulting Detective and Finder of Lost Recipes, it got its name because it is supposed to look like the thick mud along the banks of the Mississippi River. Another source I found said it was created by home cooks after WW11 because it only needed simple ingredients found in any supermarket and did not need any special cooking tools.

    Let me know if you find any other info. Gotta go now and BAKE!!!!!

  4. Hi Irene
    I was so surprised to see Mississippi Mud on your blog – I have to make a correction as to where it originated – it came from our next door neighbors the Moreno’s (Judy) and I always give her credit for sharing. I have at times also added a tsp of Kalua – make it and enjoy.

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