Top Tips for Perfect Mud Cakes
The mud cake is relative newcomer to the cake scene, seeming to have popped up somewhere in the 1970’s. The first mud cakes came from America descending from the famed Brownie and Fudge, and originally contained marshmallow. Other derivatives of this cake are the Mississippi Mud Pie and Dirt Cake.
With our humid weather, cake decorators in Australia prefer to use ganache under their fondant instead of buttercream, allowing greater stability in warm weather and also allowing us to get those sharp edges on our cakes that we are known for. When using ganache, a denser, stronger cake is required, hence our love of mud cakes.
These stronger cakes also lend themselves to carving, which allows cake decorators to sculpt their cakes using ganache as putty. This results in artistic and gravity defying sculptures that would otherwise only be seen in clay or modelling chocolate!
We great asked all the time about how to bake the perfect mud cake, so Pam and I have put together our Top Tips for Perfect Mud Cakes.
1. Mud cakes need long and slow cooking if you want to prevent crusting
2. Mud cakes can benefit from using baking strips around the sides – 3 layers of damp paper towel encased in foil – secured with a small bull-dog clip
3. To help keep your cake to bake level and prevent cracked domed tops – a piece of foil – scrunched at the corners and laid across the extended height baking paper (often referred to as ‘tenting’) will help
4. ALWAYS allow your mud cake to cool in the tin
5. If cutting into thin layers – support your layers with a cake board when moving to help prevent breaking – even though it is a dense cake – texture is still delicate and needs to be handled with care
6. Mud cakes freeze exceptionally well. Many decorators freeze their mud cakes as a defrosted mud cake is often a moist cake.
7. If you have any of chocolate mud cake and ganache leftover, you have instant pudding! Freeze the remaining cake in portion sizes and then when you need a quick dessert, simply thaw in a microwave and the ganache will melt into the cake giving you an instant warm pudding-like cake.
8. If you want to keep your repertoire with cakes quite small, don’t be afraid to add flavours to your mud cakes with your ganaches and syrups. You can read more about flavouring your cakes with essential oils here