Last Christmas I was given a signed copy of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s Baked Explorations
cookbook, and soon after I made the Mississippi Mud Cake. This recipe is so great, it's still the only dessert I've made from the book. (I should really branch out and make more things.) Now, I think my own adaptation needs to be shared. Instead of regular chocolate pudding, I make Nutella pudding, and to give an extra crunch I add candied pretzels. A sprinkle of fleur de sel on the finished cake is a nice addition, too.
Mississippi Mud Cake
(Adapted from Baked Explorations
16 ounces of Oreos (about 38 of them)
5 tablespoons of butter
Flourless chocolate cake:
4 tablespoons of butter
6 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (about 70%)
2 heaping tablespoons of instant espresso
¼ of strong coffee at room temperature
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
6 eggs separated at room temperature
1 cup of sugar, divided
2 ¼ cup of whole milk
7 tablespoons of Nutella
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup of thin pretzel sticks broken into pieces
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Optional: a pinch of fleur de sel
1. Start with the cookie crust.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper. Grind the cookies in a food processor until they are a very fine crumb. In the meantime melt the butter. In a bowl, mix the crumbs with the melted butter until thoroughly combined. Take half of the buttery crumbs and push into the bottom of the pan, then take the other half of the crumbs pushing them up the sides of the pan. Put the crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then immediately transfer to the oven for another 10 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and let cool.
2. Continue onto the cake.
Turn the heat up to 350 degrees. Using a double boiler melt both the butter and chocolate, stirring to make a smooth, melty mixture. Set aside to cool down. Take the coffee, espresso, salt, and vanilla extract and combine in a small bowl. Take the separated egg yolks and add half a cup of sugar to them. Beat them in a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment for five minutes, or until doubled in size and lighter (the color of a lemon) in color. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolks, beat until the chocolate just incorporates, then add the coffee mixture. Again beat until combined, set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a handheld mixer until the whites are foamy; slowly add the remaining half-cup of sugar until the peaks become soft and glossy. Take about 1/3rd of the egg whites and very gently fold them into the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Pour the cake batter into the cookie crust and bake for 38-42 minutes. The cake should still be a little wiggly but mostly set. The top will be crackled and hard but the inside will not be fully cooked. Let cool at room temperature. The cake will fall––don’t worry, this is what is it is supposed to do. Then when cooled for 30 minutes, place into the fridge for three hours.
3. While the cake is in the fridge, make the pudding.
Place ¼ of the milk and the cornstarch in a bowl, and mix to make a slurry. Pour the other two cups of milk, the Nutella, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until Nutella is thoroughly incorporated and mixture is simmering. Add the cornstarch slurry. The mixture will become very thick immediately. Keep on whisking until pudding starts to boil. Pour the pudding into a bowl, and press Saran wrap onto the top of the pudding. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then put in the fridge to thicken even more, keep in the fridge until cake is done cooling.
4. Continue on with the candied pretzels. Heat the oven to 400. Place the broken pretzels in a baking dish. Melt the butter and mix in the sugar. Pour the butter and sugar over the pretzels and toss until covered in the mixture. Place the pretzels into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the caramelized pretzels from the oven and place on a plate to cool.
5. Time for assembly. After the cake has cooled in the fridge for three hours, pour the pudding onto the cake, sprinkle some of the pretzel pieces on top of that*. (You might also want to set the extra pretzels aside for snacking or for ice-cream––trust me.) Place the cake back into the fridge for the next 45 minutes. While cake sets, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until smooth peaks form. After the cake has fully set, spread the whipped cream on top of the cake. Remove the finished Mississippi Mud Cake from the springform pan, sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. Cut a small slice with a sharp knife and enjoy!
*If you are eating the whole cake in the next few hours, sprinkle the pretzel pieces on top of the whipped cream.
just eat it