white chocolate mud cake

The past couple of days have been pretty sad. First year’s flown by and more than half of the flat have now moved out. Most of us were around for our last formal on Saturday night, so I made this cake to celebrate. It didn’t actually get eaten ’til Sunday though – it took way longer to cook than I thought it would and therefore I was trying to ice it whilst curling my hair and getting dressed for the ball! Anyhow, I left it on the kitchen table on Sunday morning and I think most of the flat got to try some or take some away. The mix was enough to make two cakes so the 2nd one went to my 2nd uni family – my future housemates. We sat and ate it whilst watching Chicago on Sunday night 😛

So, what is a mud cake? To be honest I still had no idea even whilst I was baking it. I found the recipe online here a while back and fancied trying it out {I’ve grown up leafing through my Mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks so I could be fairly sure it would be a good one!} It’s very sweet, – there’s a heck of a lot of white chocolate in there – moist and very dense. I first tried it straight-out-of-the-fridge so it reminded me of cheesecake a little.

It’s a bit of a weird recipe. I had my doubts before starting it but that’s nothing new! The ratios of plain flour to self-raising flour seemed a little off so I was left wondering how the cakes were going to rise, but they did (although that’s reflected by how bloody long they took to cook!) However, looking at other recipes for mud cakes online that sort of ratio seems pretty standard. You start by melting together the butter, sugar, milk and chocolate so make sure you’ve got a big saucepan. I started out with my little saucepan and later had to transfer it all to my wok! My next issue was with the quantity that the recipe made – I was sort of hoping to make one fairly large, circular cake but as I poured it into the tin I realised fairly quickly that it was going to overflow, not allowing for rising space. The classy baker that I am, I had to scoop out some of the mixture from that tin and hurriedly line a loaf tin to compensate. Oh well 😛

The ‘icing’ is a white chocolate ganache. It’s fairly easy to make but I found it took a little longer to set than the dark chocolate one I made for the chocolate and orange cake last week. Probably something to do with cocoa solids? It’s also a little more difficult to make the cake look neat as you can see it through the ganache unless you layer it on pretty thickly. So, presentation-wise I feel the cakes could’ve looked better, but then again I was multitasking like crazy on Saturday night! This is definitely a special occasion kind of cake so if I was to make it again I would put a bit more thought into it. One of my friends who I’m going to be living with from September really liked it {and his 20th is the day before mine} so it may be white choc mud cake for his birthday 😛

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 180g white chocolate (in small pieces)
  • 350g unsalted butter 
  • 590g sugar
  • 375ml milk
  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 300g white chocolate (in small pieces)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 140°C (fan-forced) and grease a large (original recipe suggests 22cm; I didn’t measure mine and that probably would’ve saved me some stress!) circular tin, or one small circular tin and a loaf tin. Line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper.
Measure out the chocolate, butter, sugar and milk and put them into a large saucepan (or wok!). Melt all of these ingredients together over a low heat until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
Pour the mix into a large bowl and leave to cool for about 15 minutes; use this time to weigh and sift your flour and break your eggs
Use a whisk or electric beaters to combine the flours, eggs and vanilla with the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into your tin(s) – don’t fill more than about 2/3 full so use as many as you need – and put them into the oven.
My loaf cake took about 1 hour and 45 minutes; the circular one about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Keep checking them with a skewer but be prepared for a long wait!

When they’re done, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, it’s time to make up the ganache.
Melt the chocolate over a saucepan-ful of hot water and stir until completely melted and smooth. Warm up the double cream but make sure it’s not too hot or it’ll cause the chocolate to burn and/or split and that ain’t pretty.

Pour the cream into the chocolate and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy. Leave it to cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes so it’s slightly less runny and then coat the cake(s) in a very thin layer. This is called ‘crumb-coating’ so that the second layer of ganache is much neater and as the name would suggest, crumb-free. 

Return the ganache to the fridge for a good hour or so – check it every now and again – until it’s thick and spreadable. When it’s at a nice consistency (think Nutella!) cover the cake(s) with a second layer. If you’re in a hurry (as I was) you can put the cakes in the fridge to set but I’d recommend letting them warm up to room temp before you serve.

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