Friday, September 9, 2011

The Mississippi Mud Challenge

        I've always enjoyed a challenge, and you know what? I just took on a super, super big challenge. 
        Okay, so maybe this challenge wasn't all that big. Maybe this challenge can't be classified as big at all, or even a challenge for that matter. Maybe you should completely disregard the second sentence of this post, as it will probably hurt my brain a little less.
        I call it a challenge in the sense that this little baking project of mine was fairly time-consuming. Yes, it was pretty lengthy, but a very, very excellent investment of my time indeed.
Mississippi Mud Pie
        I made a mud pie-- Mississippi Mud Pie, that is. The dessert is also known as Mississippi Mud Cake, but this version is like a cross between the two. I'm not about to call it a Pie-Cake because, well... that would just be weird. 
        Due to the different layers, it's a long recipe with many steps. Even so, it isn't hard to follow in the least and believe me, the time you put into it really pays off in the end. If you do choose to make it, you may want to do what I did and split the different layers between two days. It will make it easier on yourself, plus the mud pie needs its chill time before serving, so why not kill two birds with one stone?
        I was extremely pleased with this recipe and so too was my forever taste-testing family. The Oreo crust was to-die-for, the flourless cake layer was moist and chocolatey, the pudding was wonderfully rich and delicious, and the little whipped cream flowers I piped on with a pastry tip topped it off and completed the pretty picture.
        With a messy-sounding name like "mud pie", I wouldn't have dreamed this dessert cuts so beautifully. It really does--each slice was picture-perfect and had me snapping photos non-stop. For this reason, and of course for its unexpectedly luxurious taste, I'm certain this Mississippi Mud Pie would make the perfect celebration dessert if you're looking to impress a crowd. A birthday party, perhaps? My chocolate-loving brother would most definitely go for that for his next party. I certainly wouldn't mind a nice Mississippi Mud Pie in front of me for my Sweet 16, either.
        On the other hand, I don't think I'll be able to wait until the next big event to make it again. Pfft, no way! It was way too fun to make, way too delicious to eat, and way too rewarding overall for that. 
        Also, I couldn't help but feel super sophisticated eating it.
        About as sophisticated as you can feel eating something called a Mud Pie.

Mississippi Mud Pie
(Adapted from Baked Explorations)
Yield: 1 9-inch round cake

16 ounces whole (cream included) chocolate sandwich cookies (35-40 cookies) such as Oreos, crushed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Flourless Chocolate Cake:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Chocolate Pudding:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%)

To Make Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, grind cookies to a very fine crumb; you should have about 3 1/2 cups. Put crumbs in a small bowl. Pour melted butter over crumbs and mix with a spatula until well combined.
  3. Press crumb mixture into bottom and sides of prepared pan, leaving about 1/2 inch between top of crust and top of pan. Smooth evenly with the back of a spoon. 
  4. Let crust set in freezer for 10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Cool.
To Make Flourless Chocolate Cake:
  1. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together espresso powder, coffee, salt, and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until mixture is light and almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl; mix on low for 5 seconds. Add coffee mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl; mix on low for 5 seconds.
  4. In a clean bowl with a whisk attachment or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually increase speed to high and add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
  5. Scoop 1 cup of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in egg whites. After about 30 seconds of folding, add remaining egg whites and continue folding until almost completely combined; work gently and do not overmix.
  6. Pour batter onto cooled cookie crust and bake for 38 to 42 minutes or until cake is set but still jiggles slightly; it may not appear to be completely cooked. Allow to cool completely. Cake will deflate in center and look sunken as it cools. Tightly wrap and refrigerate cake for at least 3 hours or overnight.
To Make Chocolate Pudding:
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Add egg yolks and whisk until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in milk.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent burning. Boil for 30 seconds; transfer mixture to a medium bowl.
  3. Add butter, vanilla, and chocolate; whisk until combined. Continue whisking for a few more minutes to slightly cool mixture. Let pudding stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto pudding's surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 3 hours.
To Assemble Pie
  1. Stir pudding to loosen it, then pour it on top of cake, staying inside crust border. Use a spatula to spread pudding into an even layer. Return mud pie to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Decorate with whipped cream if desired.

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  1. I need this in my life. Beautifully done. You are so talented.

  2. Yum yum yum. New to your blog and loving it!

  3. I am totally drooling right now because this looks SO SO good! So rich and chocolatey!! I love it! Great pictures too!

  4. Oh, mine! This is the God of chocolate cake! Amazing!

  5. I have had this recipe bookmarked in baked explorations forever. You did a beautiful job with it. Seeing how well it turned out for you might give me the nudge I need to actually make it. Nice job.

  6. I saw versions of this recipe this week while looking for some inspiration for a cake for the Mississippi State game. I decided against it because of the time, but it looks absolutely divine! I went with a no-marshmellow Mississippi mud pie cupcake.

  7. WOW! I'm craving some chocolate right now! Love this recipe!

  8. Holy Cow!! Looks amazing! I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks!!

  9. Holy, moly! Now that's the sort of challenge I can get behind.

  10. What a delicious challenge!!! I absolutely love your presentation, and the pie looks good. Thanks for sharing!

  11. This is one amazing recipe. Love, love, love it. I think it looks worth all the effort. Positively sinful. I must try this.

  12. I am wondering if this would still work with another type of chocolate? I don't care for dark chocolate but Miss. Mud Pie was my favorite dessert growing up in the South so I am anxious to make it myself. Could I substitute bittersweet or semisweet for the dark in this recipe?

  13. Pie or Cake either way it looks delicious

  14. your mud pie is calling to me! wow, what an incredible dessert, I could die a happy man between those brownies you made and that mud pie!

  15. Oh...My...Gawd....I must have this right now! :)

  16. Oh I want to sink my teeth into a large slice of this!

  17. The sight of this made my chocolate-lovin heart skip a beat! Creamy pudding and chocolate cake... I could die happy.

  18. I love all this chocolate! Pretty sure it could fix anything. Definitely worth the time :)

  19. I just have to say that this looks absolutely delicious! What chocolate beauty, you're making my mouth water. I want a slice!

  20. Yikes I think I gained a few pounds just looking at this... and it was totally worth it! Looks incredible!!!

  21. Anonymous- I understand where you're coming from when you say you don't like dark chocolate, as I don't like my chocolate too bitter either. However, you won't get the same results with this recipe if you use chocolate with less than 60% cocoa content. I recommend you stick to using the minimum 60% if you're not a big fan of dark chocolate. I think you'll find it to your liking this way-- my brother dislikes dark chocolate and he happily devoured piece after piece of this mud pie. Good luck!

    Thank you all for the kind comments! They're much appreciated and more are welcome at any time! :)

  22. Hey Nicole, just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award! Go check it out on my page:

  23. That looks sinfully good! Amazing photos and result :-)

  24. Oh man this looks delicious! So choclatety and then some. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful pictures!

  25. OMG this is like freakin chocolate heaven. An oreo crust AND flourless chocolate cake AND chocolate pudding? Sign me up! Beautiful presentation, thanks for sharing.

  26. it is definetly amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Oh good grief this looks absolutely STUNNING! Gorgeeouuussss :)

  28. Oh man! I don't even now what to say. This cake is overwhelmingly beautiful!

  29. Wow, you're only 15?! Gosh I wish I could bake like that at my age! Fantastic photos, and absolutely killer recipe, most definitely destined to throw me off my diet :)
    Keep the recipes coming, you are one very talented young lady!

  30. When a recipe is so intricate or time consuming, the end result is often worth the wait. Looks like this is one of those recipes. Thanks for sharing, it looks unbelievably rich and decadent, I'd love to take a bite of that!

  31. This looks phenomenal!! I hope it was worth all of the work, I may have to try it one one day. Amazing!!

  32. I love this creation. The mix of textures is so nice. Definitely going to have to make this. I would kill for a slice right about now. ;)

  33. This looks like just the kind of cake I would love to try for our housewarming party on saturday, so yesterday I went shopping for ingredients.

    But, as I have never baked with oreos before, I have a question that might be very noob: Am I to use only the biscuit part, and not the cream filling?
    I have never seen them sold without the cream, (in Norway, where I am from and live). And if I am to take out the cream - what do I do with it? Just throw it?

  34. Mari- Hi, Mari! Don't worry, it's not a noob question at all. :) In this recipe you use the whole oreos, so that includes the cream filling. I hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy it!

  35. Oh my goodness that looks incredible! I wish I could reach into my computer and grab a piece out!

  36. Whenever I crack open a Baked book, I know I'm in for an all day project. I'm not sure what happens but it always does! I have been eyeing up this recipe on that book for a month now. Yours looks perfect!

  37. You have inspired me. My challenge for myself: make the pie, eat the pie. The whole pie. Maybe with a little help from a select few friends. Cannot WAIT!!! :)

  38. This looks absolutely over the top good. Beautiful pics, too!

  39. I think I'm going to set this as my home page so each time I open Chome I will see these pictures. My brain cannot even comprehend the goodness in just thinking about what this tastes like. 

    And yes, I'm offering this to my daughter as her birthday cake which, thankfully, is in 4 days.

  40. Hi Nicole,

    This looks great! I have a younger cousin who has been prodding me to make him a mud pie for the last month and a half, I might give your recipe a try!

    If you don't mind saying, how long did it take in its entirety?

    Thanks from another teen baker/cook!


  41. Hi Christine,

    It's nice to know there are other teens out there with the same passion for baking and cooking I have! I encourage you to give this mud pie a try as I adored it and found it very enjoyable to make. 

    I broke up making the recipe over the course of two days. In total the pie won't be ready to eat for about 8 hours or so, but don't worry--most of this time is just the baking, cooling, and setting the pie needs. The actual prep time is much less. 

    I hope this helped! If you decide to make it, I hope your cousin enjoys the pie! :)

  42. Oh wow, this mud pie looks awesome! I really like chocolate, and this mud pie is perfect. Great photos!

  43. I made this deliciousness yesterday for my daughter's 17th birthday. 

    I made the crust the night before and then the rest the next day. 
    To say it was a piece of chocolate heaven is an understatement. There were groans of happiness from all who were lucky enough to have a bite and perfect stillness while their piece was consumed.
    Mine didn't look nearly as beautiful as yours, but the end result was the same...WOW.

  44. That's wonderful-- I''m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for letting me know how it went! ^_^

  45. Thank you for posting this amazing recipe.  I made this for my mother's Birthday and will be making it again and again.  It is indeed decadent but it was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made.  The only thing that I think I will do differently next time is to not bake the cookie crust prior to filling it and baking it again.  My crust was a little too crunchy and was hard to cut out.  However, everyone just went on and on about how delicious this was.  It is extremely rich but that didn't stop my family from finishing the entire cake in two days.  I used a high quality 60% chocolate and even though my family said they don't like dark chocolate it was perfect.  I also used Organic Newman O's for the crust and they also worked well.

  46. Hi, Christi! I'm very happy to hear that your family liked it! It was indeed a super rich dessert, and my own family let me hear their share of raves about it. I adored it just as much as they did. Hmm... that's interesting about the crust. I suppose ovens vary, but if not pre-baking the crust works out for you then by all means do it. Thanks so much for the feedback!

  47. Hi Nicole- Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I made this last month for my friend's birthday and everyone LOVED it. Especially my friend who adores chocolate :) I enjoyed the recipe so much that I shared it on my own blog, I hope you don't mind (

    I love your blog, the photographs are so great!!

  48. Hey, Michelle! I'm so happy you enjoyed the pie. Of course I don't mind at all that you shared it on your blog - in fact, that makes my smile even wider. Yours looks like it turned out wonderfully. It's great to hear from you!

  49. I'm from Mississippi & this isn't the Mississippi Mud Cake I grew up on but it sounds good anyways.

  50. Thanks for posting this cake!  It was fun to make.  I think next time I'll try it with milk chocolate since it was a bit too chocolaty for my family.  Yours looks beautiful!!

  51. I made this for a fundraiser today. It was a huge hit!

  52. Made this recipe today......steps #3 & #4 are very confusing. The ingredients listed for the flourless cake calls for 6 eggs seperated. Seperated how? Seperate egg yokes from the whites? If so how many?? Step #3 says "beat eggs".....whole eggs? If so how many? Step #4..."beat the egg whites"....what? those went in with step #3......good grief......really confusing. We went ahead and poured the patter into the crust to see what would happen. Turned out ok, but not what we were hoping for. You sure this is correct?

  53. Hi Deanna, I'm really sorry for the confusion — in Step 3 it is only the egg yolks you are beating with the sugar (I have edited the recipe to make this clearer) and in Step 4 you are beating the egg whites separately. By "separated" it means you have cracked the six eggs and collected all the whites of the eggs in one container, and all of the yolks of the eggs in another. Hopefully that clears up the confusion, and if not, feel free to write me back. My mistake!

  54. welp.... i wish i would have know to use the ENTIRE oreo! most crusts do not... just put in the oven with cake batter, I hope it will still turn out! DANG!!!!

  55. Hi Travis, sorry for the misunderstanding... :( I hope all still turned out well for you. I have added "whole (cream included)" to the recipe ingredients list to make sure this confusion is avoided in the future.

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  86. Was intimidated but the lengthy procedure, but went ahead and made it for my son who was bummed out that he has to go to summer school for math. WOW! So worth the time, and it wasn't difficult at all!! Absolutely knock out delicious! My son had a piece and then gave me a huge hug and said, "I love you mom!"

  87. Sorry for the incredibly late response -- been away from the blog for a very long while! I'm really happy to hear that the pie went well for you and your son. Your comment made me smile to read, and your son sounds very sweet. :)

  88. Been away from the blog for a long time and catching up on comments I missed. I apologize for not answering your question sooner! The original recipe from Baked Explorations did not specify which rack to use, but I believe I used the middle rack when I baked mine. I'm sorry to hear that!

  89. Thank you. I baked it a second time but I lined the bottom of the pan. Turned out better.
    I'll be posting about it soon on my blog.

  90. Thanks, I've been wondering for a while if the cookies were whole or if I should remove the cream... I finally got my answer :)

  91. what kind of icing is that??? please tell me by tomorrow because im making it and do you got to use the instant espresso powder

  92. Hi Summer, I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply in time! I'm on hiatus so I no longer check my blog regularly. If you're referring to the white on top, it's whipped cream :) I'm not sure I'm understanding the second part of your question -- are you asking if the instant espresso powder absolutely needs to be added? I haven't tried omitting it myself. It can probably be done, however the powder really brings out the chocolate flavour and so I'm not sure how well the pie will do without. Anyway, I hope the pie turned out well for you if you made it! :)