Cakes / Caramel

caramel mud cake

A three-hour old cake and a three-year old honey. Both delish and sweet

Mud cake. What an unappetizing name for a cake you are actually expected to eat. How could you associate something fluffy, buttery and light with brown sludge? But then, mud cakes are NOT fluffy, buttery and light. The godawful name actually derives from the cake’s dense and thick texture- a far cry from any soft sponge cake. But again, does that justify a comparison with mud? Why couldn’t they just call it dense cake….or even heavy cake? Mud is just so…so…eew.

But bad marketing aside, it really is quite a nice cake. Mud cakes are chewy almost, being so heavy. And also, I think their texture calls for thin serving slices. A huge chunk would really weigh you down. Most of the mud cakes I’ve come across are of the chocolate variety, so it was cool to discover this recipe for a caramel version in Australian Women’s Weekly’s Best Food cookbook. They ask you to “use a large bowl”. But they do not say exactly how large. What they mean is HUGE. The most gargantous bowl you have in your house. I started with what I thought was “a large bowl”. But halfway through, I had to change to a huge metal basin ‘cos my poor bowl couldn’t possibly handle all the batter. And even then, my basin was filled almost all the way. It was scary. I was picturing an “attack-of-the-mud cake”style implosion in my oven, with sticky brown batter escaping from the too-small tin and spewing all over the place. Thankfully, the cake baked well with no incident.

To be honest, I didn’t really care for the cake when it came out of the oven. It was too sticky and looked underbaked. I contemplated throwing the whole thing out. Thankfully, I waited a day and went back for another taste. And it was good! It’s one of those baking x-files…why do some cakes and cookies just taste better a few days after they are baked? Shouldn’t “freshly-baked” give the best taste? The mystery of it all… So anyways, the moral of the story is never to give up on your food. Sometimes, they just need to day or two to get their act together. *smile*

But one thing that didn’t need time to shine was the caramel frosting. It really was yummy, and with the disntinct taste of caramel and butterscotch. My brother even requested thicker lashings of the sugary topping the next time I baked this cake.

Caramel Mud Cake (bakes a 9″ round cake)

250g butter, chopped

200g white chocolate

450g brown sugar

375ml water

300g plain flour

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs, beaten lightly

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degree C. Grease a deep 9″ round tin and line both the base and sides with greaseproof paper. Lightly grease the paper.

  2. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar and water in a large –huge– bowl/saucepan and melt over very low heat until the mixture is smooth. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

  3. Cool the mixture for 15 minutes and then whisk in the flours, then the essence and eggs.

  4. Pour into the tin and bake for 2 hours, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Check on the cake after about 1 1/2 hours…if the top begins to overbrown, just cover the tin loosely with aluminium foil and continue baking.

  5. Let the cake stand in the tin for about 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.


Caramel Frosting

125g butter, chopped

200g brown sugar

80ml milk

240g icing sugar, sifted

  1. Melt butter in a bowl/saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and milk, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Cool the mixture.

  2. Gradually stir in the sifted icing sugar and frost immediately. This frosting does not keep well so use it as soon as you make it.


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