Mississippi Mud Cake
April 1 came and went this week. To most, it means April Fools’ Day, a day to screw with your friends and have fun. But for me, it means my Grandma’s Sue’s birthday. She would have turned 66 this year. I’m still not very good at talking about how much I miss her. So instead, I want to celebrate her the best way I know how: a cake.
I’ll forever associate this cake with Grandma Sue. It was one of her favorites, and for a good reason. It is delicious and it’s her recipe. When she passed away, her recipe card got added to my mom’s book, and we’ve been making it for as many occasions as possible ever since. The bottom layer is a rich chocolate pecan cake. Then as soon as that comes out of the oven, it gets a generous spread of marshmallow fluff, which just melts into the warm cake. And finally on top is some of the sweetest chocolate frosting you’ll ever taste.
I wish she could be here today to eat cake with me and see that I’ve grown out of my moody-boy-crazy-glued-to-my-phone teenager phase. But since that’s just not how life works, I’d just like to say “cheers” to her, wherever she is out there, and hope that she’s proud of me.
2 sticks of margarine, room temperature
1½ cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1½ cups of pecans
7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff
1 stick of margarine
4 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup of water
There are some parts of this recipe that I would change if it weren’t the treasured family recipe that it is. For example, in my kitchen, margarine over butter is a sin. I would probably also substitute whole milk for water in the frosting because the more fat the better! I also wouldn’t include the specifications about glass versus metal pans because this is college and I use the foil pans you can buy at the grocery store. Those with less emotional attachment to the authentic version of the recipe can feel free to make those changes!
First of all, preheat your oven to 300 degrees if your pan is metal, or 285 if it’s glass (either way, it should be 9x13). Then mix together the margarine, flour, sugar and eggs for about a minute until they’re all smooth. Then add everything else. So fast and so easy! Spread the batter out into the pan and let it bake for about 45 minutes. As soon as it comes out of the oven, cover the whole top with marshmallow fluff. The combination of hot cake and sticky marshmallow will most likely pull up the top of the cake and make the fluff layer all full of crumbs. Just keep spreading! The frosting will cover it up and it won’t make a difference.
Let the cake cool completely, and try to resist putting your face directly into the melting fluff. To keep yourself distracted, start to make the frosting. Begin by creaming the margarine. Mix it until it’s shiny and smooth. Start pouring in powdered sugar a little bit at a time, adding water when it gets too thick. After all the sugar and water have been mixed, add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Keep whipping it for a little longer so it can achieve maximum fluff. You owe the frosting the opportunity to be its best self. Finally, spread the finished product over the cooled fluff and cake, and that’s it!
A final warning: This cake isn’t for the weak. It’s probably the sweetest and richest dessert you’ll ever eat. My dad once said “I’d love to have it every week but it would kill me.” However, it’s exactly what you need if you’re a chocoholic, a dessert-fiend, or complete hedonist.