There's a term in food photography called "the hero angle". This just means this is the best angle for taking a picture of the food so you show it in its best light.
Mississippi Mud Cake doesn't have a hero angle.
It is almost defiantly unheroic in pictures.
It is, however, a superhero for your taste buds, and an easy one to summon!
I had the privilege of being put on dessert duty for the January birthdays at work and the only request was "something chocolate." I wanted to bring in a dessert I hadn't brought in previously, that I had most of the ingredients for already, and would be fairly simple since I would be baking it after a lengthy day at work. This cake hit all of those marks, except I couldn't quite remember how it tasted. All I knew was that it must have gone through all the necessary revisions and personal vetting to be committed to the handwritten cookbook. As it turns out, according to my enthusiastic coworkers, its flavor is "sweet, but not too sweet", "light", "delicious", "amazing", "so good", and the pecans "taste like they're candied." If reviews like that don't get you past the unattractive pictures, I suppose it's time for you to move on. If you're thoroughly convinced, though, let's talk details!
Note: This recipe has two parts. There are the ingredients and instructions for the cake, then ingredients and instructions for the frosting. I recommend you put the frosting together while the cake is baking because you will want to frost the cake very shortly after it comes out of the oven.
For the cake, you will need:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 (10 oz.) bag mini marshmallows
With a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa and mix. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each one in before adding the next. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, giving it time to blend together a bit before dumping more in. Add pecans and vanilla and mix thoroughly. It will be a surprisingly stiff mixture. Pour into a greased 9" x 13" pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. While it is baking, make the frosting (instructions below). Remove cake from oven and set on a cooling rack and immediately cover with the marshmallows, spreading them everywhere so they can start melting.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Combine the butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar, then add just enough milk to make the frosting spreadable. It will still be a fairly thick frosting and it won't make a lot.
Once your cake is out of the oven and covered with melting marshmallows, start putting dollops of the frosting all over the cake. Grab an offset spatula and start spreading it. It will very quickly start picking up the marshmallows and incorporating them into the frosting. Magically, all of a sudden you have enough frosting to cover the cake!
Yeah, ok, it doesn't look amazing. But are you baking a cake like this for looks or for taste? Yeah, that's what I thought!
Yep. No Hero Angle here.
Let me know in the comments when you try it and love it! And if you manage to take a great picture of it, PLEASE tell me how!