Monday, February 18, 2013

Give your cake...and eat it, too!

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Sometime last year, I was on Instagram lamenting the fact that I was baking a cake for an event or a bake sale, and I wouldn't be able to taste-test it.  Oh, about eleventy-billion people chimed in suggesting that next time, I make a cupcake with a portion of the batter.

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed...that thought had never occurred to me.

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{This is one well-used, well-loved muffin tin.}

It's my new rule now.  If I'm dropping a cake off someplace, I make a cupcake, too.  It serves two purposes: 1. to make sure it tastes ok.  2. I get to eat cake.

We'll be using instant espresso powder to make this Mississippi Mud Cake into a MOCHA Mississippi Mud Cake.  Look for it near the Sanka in your coffee aisle...or on Amazon.  It looks like this:
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This Mocha Mississippi Mud Cake was actually heading to a funeral reception.  If you like to bake or cook, check into the funeral food ministry at your local church.  Food equals comfort, and it's such an easy way to give.  I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying to "give big" that we forget that the little acts of giving count for something, too.

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Mocha Mississippi Mud Cake

for the cake:
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 sticks salted butter, melted
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

for the topping:
1 (10 oz.) bag mini marshmallows
1/2 stick salted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 x 13" pan. (If making a cupcake, line one muffin tin with a cupcake liner.)  Set aside.

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In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla and espresso powder until combined.  Pour the vanilla/espresso mixture into a large bowl and add the melted butter, cocoa, and eggs.  Stir until well combined.

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Stir in the sugar.  Add in the salt and flour and stir until no lumps remain.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan (and cupcake liner, if using).  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (Start checking the cupcake at about 18-20 minutes.)

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Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.  Immediately scatter the marshmallows over the warm cake.  Set aside.
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{Sing it with me: "I always feel like somebody's watching meeee...."}

Make the topping: in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, milk and espresso powder over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.  Return the pan to medium heat and whisk constantly until smooth.

Whisk in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  Continue whisking and cooking until the mixture has come to a simmer.  Pour the hot topping evenly over the marshmallows.  Cool completely before serving.

The cake may be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week.

{Recipe adapted from Cake Ladies Mississippi Mud Cake}

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Have (or give) your cake and eat it, too?  You bet! Logo


  1. I never thought of doing that either!

  2. I love that your church has a funeral food ministry, SUCH a great idea! I have not heard of that, just family/friends delivering food when there's a funeral. I'll have to ask about this! Also, your cake looks fantastic :)

  3. I would have never thought of that either, oh my gosh!!! See you aren't the only one :)

  4. Making a cupcake is GENIUS - great idea!

  5. That's a Great idea! Make a Cupcake to taste the cake! It looks delicious!

  6. wow wow wee!!! This looks great! Almost too good to give away! Clever idea making a mini taste of the cake!

  7. I've never thought of making a cupcake either...genius!

  8. Just halved the recipe & made them as cupcakes. Tried one & loved it! Can't wait to share them with my friends tomorrow :)

  9. Great ideas.........the cupcake AND baking for funerals.

  10. Great idea and the cake looks great! Giving in this way is wonderful and the little things do mean a lot...always.

  11. you would think that being a baker we would totally figure out how to do this and be able to to try our creation when we are sending it somewhere, I cannot believe I never thought of that, so funny, but so happening from now on!

  12. Thank you for this gentle reminder of how bakers can give back! I felt that I needed to be doing something more, so thank you! I will be checking in a food ministry ASAP : )

  13. I grew up with my mom bringing food for funeral luncheons, such a wonderful and thoughtful tradition of giving. This cake looks so simple and delicious!

  14. what a fantastic idea!! both the cupcake taster and the funeral food ministry! must try this recipe too!!

  15. Great idea, I always have the same problem!

  16. Okay ... so the cupcake idea? Why have I never thought of that? Perfect. Maybe it would work for small pies too? Totally going to remember that little trick.

    And YUUUUUM on the recipe!

  17. I must be a dull tool in the tool shed too because I would never have thought of this. lol It's a great idea and I love the recipe too!

  18. Duh! What's the matter with us? How on Earth did such veteran bakers not think of making a simple cupcake to taste-test when making cakes for gift-giving? LOL! Recipe looks scrummy! And, Bridge...thanks for pointing out the Funeral Food Ministry and their needs. We all need to be good shepherds.

  19. Another dull tool here - great idea and this looks as yummy as Texas Sheet Cake!

  20. This cake looks so great. And our church has a ministry like this!

  21. very clever idea! The cake looks like it wouldn't last a day in my fridge :) YUMMY!

  22. That was always my favorite part of making a cake when I was a kid helping my mom. Many times we would bake cakes for church or to give to someone and she had a mini sized cake pan that we always poured our "tester" cake in to sample. Mom always thought the best time to eat anything was when it was fresh and warm. I have my own small cake pan and do the same.

  23. I wouldn't have thought to do the cupcake thing either - that's brilliant!

  24. I love that you save back a little batter in a cupcake. Sometimes, that's ALL I just that 1 glorious cupcake or a few bites and the rest I can give away. Although, this looks too good to give away!

  25. Hi, congrats, this looks more than great!



  26. What a great idea! Thank you:) The cake looks amazing!

  27. P.s. I bought your book! I love it:)

  28. That is such a smart idea! Why have I never thought of that!

  29. This is such a genius idea! I will absolutely be incorporating it into my cake-baking routine. Thanks for sharing all of your amazing tips!

  30. well alrighty then!
    it's been ages since I've had mud cake!

  31. I never thought of doing an individual cupcake when doing cake! I'd even do it when making a cake that I'm not giving away (you get to eat it earlier!)

    PS: Gotta love the above comment :) Sounds like a harsh lawsuit :)

  32. I never even thought about that either, DUH, lol!

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  35. Looks amazing, Bridget! And I love the cupcake idea - brilliant!! :-)

  36. I love the funeral food ministry AND the extra cupcake idea. And I want that cupcake.

  37. A chocolate cake delight. Yum!

  38. Many of those under the age of 35 to 40 have no idea of the practice of taking food to a family who has just suffered a death. It's not just the idea of people being too grief stricken, too busy with arrangements, family and friends arriving and other reasons to cook, it is also that until the early 1970s families often fed those who attended the funeral back in their own home. When my dad was a boy and 5 years old, which would have been about 1944 his great-grandfather, who lived in the home died. The undertaker actually prepared the body in the parlor. By the way, the same parlor where I now live and most would consider my living room. Often the viewing and sometimes the entire funeral was held in the home. People often traveled for many hours and some even days before arriving. When MY great-grandmother passed away in the early 70s I remember my mom going to the house and her and my great aunt cleaning for days as the meal after the funeral was held in the house. Food POURED in the home. However after that the trend shifted to having people at other locations such as church halls and so forth including our family. One tradition I'm not sure if it has changed or not is having someone remain in the homes of each close family member. There have been countless robberies during the times of funerals. So far its a practice our family still follows. The amount of food can be overwhelming. Much always seems to go to waste, even with freezers. Today everyone in our church has the meal there at the church and this is where everyone takes their donations. Some items are always standard, deviled eggs for one and a few other things. Some dishes even acquire a name for their use such as "Funeral Potatoes" made by Ree Drummond in an episode. It's sad this tradition is disappearing with the younger generations. Not every time in life can be handled digitally and online. There are times when a real person needs to put forth some effort. But imagine 150 years ago people arriving by horse and buggy from all over the area, some taking days to get there. People today I hate to say do NOT show the respect which used to be shown at the time of death. Tradition was if you even knew someone in the family you at least went to the viewing. You'll find some denominations still follow those trends, the Amish of course, the Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, Old Order Dunkards, and many southern Baptist churches. Also the African Americans see to still show the community feeling and follow these old traditions the way I remember them. I think its they who know best at this time in life.


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