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What is Mud Cake?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mud cake, also referred to as Mississippi mud cake or mud pie, is a type of chocolate cake made in virtually endless variations. There is no standard recipe for this cake. It is believed to have originated in the 1970s and 1980s in the American South, and some say it is baked to resemble the mud along the banks of the Mississippi River. Mud cakes function well as birthday cakes, holiday cakes, or even in cupcake form. Some people use them for their wedding cakes, though they often need to be a little denser than usual to accept extra layers, heavy icing, or decorations.

Mud cake or mud pie generally refers to a baked dessert made of dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate icing. The cake typically has a very moist, crumbly texture that tends not to hold its shape very well. The cake is typically fairly dense, and is often made either in sheet cake form or in a bundt pan, though other options work as well. Technically, this type of cake could be made in a pan of any shape, such as a cartoon character for a child's birthday.

The basic recipe for mud cake is similar to any other cake, and includes the usual ingredients of baking chocolate, eggs, flour, sugar, oil, and vanilla, among others. Searching online or looking in cookbooks will bring up dozens of cake recipes to try, with specific instructions for the ingredients to use and the amount of time to bake the cake. In addition to the standard cake ingredients, this cake can easily be customized to suit anyone's tastes.

There are many additions to various recipes of mud cake. Some of these may include coffee, marshmallows, pecans, walnuts, caramel, bourbon, or even fruit fillings such as cherry or pineapple. Many of these cakes often have a slight mocha flavor. Recipes for this type of cake can easily be customized to the preferences of a person or family. It is also often delicious to add a warm fudge sauce or raspberry sauce to the top of the cake just before serving it, along with a scoop of ice cream.

Mud cake also lends itself well to children's birthday parties or picnics. Crumbled chocolate cookies make an excellent addition, and can make the top of the cake look like "dirt." For the full effect, gummi worms are also a fun addition that may kids enjoy, especially for Halloween. Most people make their own icings for their mud cakes, and they may be made with marshmallows as well as powdered sugar, whipped cream, cocoa powder, or any other preferred ingredients.

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Discussion Comments
By anon283073 — On Aug 02, 2012

My grandma was making Mississippi mud cake in the 60s with three types of chocolate. It was not a bundt or sheet cake, but a two-layer. It was a cross between fudge in the middle and a cake. And yes, we are from Mississippi.

By alex94 — On Aug 26, 2010

@christym: Oreo mud cake is absolutely delicious. It is my favorite version of the traditional mud cake. This recipe is really easy to make. The ingredients are:

1 lg. pack of Oreos, 2 boxes vanilla instant pudding, 1 ½ sticks of butter, 12 ounces Cool Whip, 1 cup powdered sugar, 8 ounces cream cheese, 3 cups milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Crush the Oreos well. To that, add ½ stick butter. Press half of that mixture into a 13x9x2 inch pan. Mix 1 stick of butter, cream cheese, Cool Whip, and powdered sugar in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix the milk, pudding, and vanilla. Blend that mixture in with the cool whip mixture. Pour that over the cookie crust that you made and then top with the remaining crushed cookies. Chill before serving.

By christym — On Aug 26, 2010

I am looking for the recipe for an oreo mud cake. I think that's the name of it. My cousin brought one to a family reunion a few years ago and I have wanted to make one ever since. I would love it if someone could post the recipe.

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