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Mississippi Mud Cake (or more recently named, Kentucky Hissy Fit Cake)

August 14, 2011

I have to take a little side note from baking before I can move on. As readers know, I am baking through my Grandmother’s recipe box. She has Alzheimer’s disease, and with her intermittent confusion, she is unable to bake independently. I visited her today, and left thinking she was more “herself” than usual. I even called my mother to brag. She was out of her PJ’s when we arrived, cooked lunch for my family, and was very upbeat. Alzheimer’s is such a confusing disease. One minute, individuals can be coherent and happy…the next minute a raving ball of confusion. I was smack in the middle of baking this cake, no more than 30 minutes after leaving Granny, when the phone rang. It was Granny. She was in the middle of a full blown hissy fit. Now if you aren’t from the South, a hissy fit is something like a two-year-old tantrum…on steroids…with occasional cursing. Now remember, Granny is almost 85. She is Southern Baptist to the core, hence no swearing aloud! I remember getting scolded as a girl for using the word “darn” because it “wasn’t ladylike.” Granny had gotten confused about the CD player and books on CD that I had taken her today, with intentions of calming her and entertaining her when I can’t be there. Well, it backfired. She wanted them OUT! NOW! She got her point across, and even told me to kiss IT and proceeded to hang up on me. Well, I went to calm her, and one hour, one nerve pill (her, not me), and one hot cup of tea later, things had de-escalated. If you ever need to know, the current value of calming a hissy fit is four locally raised ribeyes, one package of ground beef, and five ears of corn on the cob…at least that’s what Granny sent me home with tonight. As you will see, it wasn’t quite the stressless, error-free night of baking that I had planned for, but it eats all the same. Now bring on the cake!

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Mississippi Mud Cake

Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, melted
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
4 eggs, beaten
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts used here, but substitute any)
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a rectangular sheet cake pan with baking spray, or grease and flour lightly.
Mix cocoa, sugar, and flour in a large bowl.

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Next, add the beaten eggs, butter, and vanilla. Then fold in the nuts. For authenticity, I used Kentucky black walnuts…just as I remembered.

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Now, I was sort of doubting the lack of water or milk, but the batter is silky smooth! I guess 2 sticks of butter goes a long way! Next, bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm in the center.
Next, top the whole baked cake with mini marshmallows. No measurements needed. Just pile them on! Then put the cake back into the oven until they melt and slightly brown. This is when it went ugly for me. The cake should still be hot, but since the hissy fit intervention, mine had cooled. I decided to broil my marshmallows on the cake. Now you bakers know how quickly things can go from toasty to black under a broiler…and I wasn’t exactly on my A game tonight, so this is what I got:

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Not great, but definitely still edible. Especially after covered in gooey chocolate frosting! Sort of Smores-ish…let’s pretend!
Frosting:
3 cups of confectioners sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup of cocoa
1/2 stick of melted butter (yep, more butter)
Whisk these ingredients in a small bowl, and then spread over the hot, melted marshmallows.

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Mmmmmm…marshmallows…my baking aisle nerve pills!

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My first bite of this cake took me straight back to Granny’s kitchen on the farm. It’s amazing how much using Granny’s actual recipe, not just a randomly-picked version, makes a world of difference. I felt warm and fuzzy, and very happy while eating every bite. It made me forget entirely about the stress of caring for my aging Grandmother. Ok, well almost entirely! She is at least forgiven for her blue ribbon hissy fit!

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