Chocolate Mudcake


No 38 - Mudcake

While I was as University I worked nearly full time 5 nights a week in a local restaurant.  The owners were head cook and maitre d' together and ran one of the most 'hip' restaurants in town.  They eschewed formal 'cheffing' qualifications and pulled together everyday dishes from a wide range of cultures and countries where they had travelled.  Dishes on the black board menu hailed from around the Mediterranean, Middle East, North and West Africa, Mexico, Indonesia & Japan - and anything else that was tasty, unfussy, fresh & personal.
Daily changes in the blackboard menu reflected that which was seasonally available and as much as possible was purchased from local producers. (And this was the 1980's)

Sue grew a wide range of herbs, and fresh herbs featured abundantly.  My own garden supplemented this on occasion.  We sometimes used quiet afternoons when all 'prep' for the evening was complete, to make up jars of colourful preserves that were displayed on open shelves between the otherwise open kitchen and the dining room: salted lemons, spiced mandarins, red capsicum jelly, asparagus and red pepper strips, pickled carrot sticks for the antipasti platters, pickled quails eggs, feta cheese in herbed olive oil & garlic......

Only the desserts and puddings were relatively unchanging -homemade ice-creams, cakes, special mousses, and guest appearances using seasonal fruit.

This mud cake was a standard.  I don't recall it ever going off the menu, and it was always in demand.

Mud Cake

Sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 and 3/4 cups raw sugar (I use golden sugar in UK)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

then whisk in
2 large eggs
2 cups water
1/2 cup oil

And really whisk it lots.  Introduce lots of air.  Give your whisking arm a work out.

This is a really runny mix - don't be alarmed by that.

Line the base of a 9 inch loose bottom tin and grease the sides.  Pour in the mix and bake at 180 degrees C (fan oven) for 1 hour. 

Let it cool in the tin.

When it is cold use a large knife to slice it into 3 layers horizontally.  Put raspberry jam generously between the bottom and middle layer.  Put raspberry jam AND some of the icing between the middle and top.  Put icing all over the top and sides.

The Icing:
1.5 cups icing sugar
1 cup cocoa
125 g butter
juice of 1 lemon
100 g sour cream.

Sift the dry ingredients, soften the butter and beat all the ingredients together.  I make this in advance, put it in the fridge for a while, then microwave it just before I use it - that seems to improve the texture, makes it  easier to spread, and makes it go really glossy.


  1. That sounds delicious. Am always keen to try food from all over the world. Arilx

  2. Sounds like they were way ahead of the times. Chocolate cake never goes out of fashion

  3. I could just fancy a slice of chocolate cake now . . .

  4. yummy looking , mother used to make these, I think she just called it a chocolate pan cake.

  5. Chocolate cake, the universal dessert! Thanks for the recipe.

  6. It sounds delicious. I'm always up for chocolate cake but so rarely have it.

    1. One of my colleagues (has 3 kids) tells me that in his household chocolate cake for breakfast (for the whole family) is the tradition for a family member birthday. (Knowing his wife and her devotion to healthy meals, I suspect this is a major concession!)

    2. I first read "chocolate cake for breakfast . . . is the tradition" and was carried away with visions of beginning every day with chocolate cake! Why wait for birthdays? 🙂

  7. Hari OM
    There was a while in Sydney when one could not attend any function and escape the chocolate mud cake!!! It became an absolute staple of any gathering or resaurant outing... and it got to the stage where I cannot actually face one! Probably because I really am not that much of a choco-gal. Second to this was carrot cake... YAM xx

  8. The cake looks really yummy and decadent. I’ll have to give it a try soon!


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