NieNie’s Mud Cake Magnifique

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Ever noticed how some foods speak to you?

Good gravy boat, I do.
When I offered to create a recipe for the delightsome NieNie,
I sent along a few fancy ideas.
She {ever so cordially} replied
that she was eschewing my proffered dessert ideas
in exchange for the simple creation of one
{She has been, after all, craving it intensely.}

Thus, I went into my kitchen,
stood there quietly awaiting revelation.

Or, at very least,
the suggestive whispers of pantried friends.

Sugars, and flours, and flavors
that know how to mix
and move together
and make song.

Bittersweet chocolate spoke first,
Insisting it deserved to tell Nie’s story
above all other cocoa’s.
Then mascarpone.
‘Cheese’, it hummed.
‘Think how Nie loves her squeaky cheese.’
From above the pantry,
a single sheet of paper begged,
“Let me make a silouhette.
Top off the treat for Nie.”
Then, there.
Without warning.
The Nie Cake came together.
Her stories,
her joys and sorrows
her life and love
her inspiration and example
layered together.
Each part a small piece
of a larger, most magnificent pastry.
A tiny taste of all she means to so many of us.
Our Darling Nie.
NieNie’s Mud Cake Magnifique
with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse & Ganache Bittercream
How does one go about making the PERFECT chocolate cake? I’d never done it before, and therefore went about it quite deliberately. I consulted cookbooks and cooking websites. Call friends. Window-shopped the pastry sections of my favorite bakeries. The perfect chocolate cake, I decided, (and one inspired by someone so delectably adorable) had to be simple. No frufru decor or garnish. It should be easy enough to whip up for grilled-pizza Friday’s, but elegant enough to entertain at a garden party lit by candles hanging from trees tucked in baby food jars. It didn’t come out right the first time, a bungled mess of brownie-like bits. It didn’t work the second time. However, as it is with many worthy endeavors, a lot of tinkering and winkering was ultimately worth the price of patience. Nie’s Mud Cake is everything Nie is: divinely beautiful inside and out.
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate (8 squares)
¾ c. olive oil
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ c. cocoa powder
1 c. flour
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking powder*
½ tsp. baking soda
In a microwave, melt squares of chocolate with olive oil. Once melted, beat until smooth then add sugars and egg. Beat again until well creamed. Add remaining ingredients. Beat just until all ingredients are incorporated. (If you are baking BELOW 5000 feet altitude, double baking powder and add an additional 1/2 cup of flour). Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans that have been generously greased & dusted with cocoa powder. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 26-28 minutes, or just until center of cake springs back to the touch. Remove from oven. Allow to cool before inverting on a cooling rack and removing from pan. Before layering cake, use a knife to gently cut away any uneven parts at the top or sides of the cake. You’ll want a nice, even surface to begin with in order to have your finished product look amazing.
Mascarpone Mousse
1 c. whipping cream
¼ c. sugar
1 c. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
8 oz. mascarpone

In a large bowl, whip whipping cream until fluffly. Add sugar & mascarpone and whip until smooth. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every thirty seconds until smooth. Chocolate should not be warm to the touch, if it is, allow it to cool just slightly before spooning the melted chocolate into the whipping cream mixture & beating until light and fluffy. Spoon carefully atop one layer of cake. Spread evenly, then top with the second layer of cake. Refrigerate until ready to frost.

Bittercream Frosting
1 pint heavy cream
11.5 oz. 60% Bittersweet cacao chips
½ c. butter
4-5 c. powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and heavy cream until a thick, smooth ganache forms, to keep the mixture from burning, stir constantly. Put in fridge until chilled. Remove from fridgidaire and beat in butter & powdered sugar until frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost. Chill cake. To serve, remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.
Love for Nie.

110 Responses to “NieNie’s Mud Cake Magnifique”

  1. Charity says:

    Ok, you may have already answered this question, so I apologize for not reading through all 100 coments, but I made this delicious cake today and my cakes were sunk in in the middle. Why is that? Is my over cooking too hot? I did double the baking powder because I am at around 750 ft elevation. Maybe my baking powder is not good?

    The cake was still yummy and I just filled the hole with a no bake cheesecake mixture then the Mousse and the frosting. It was soooo yummy! But I'd like to figure out what went wrong with the baking.

    Thanks! My email is

  2. ArlaMo says:

    I made this for my husband's birthday. The mousse was divine, the frosting heavenly…but my cake was dry. What did I do wrong???

  3. Brenda says:

    I had the same problem as another reader. My cakes came out os the oven fairly level, but both layers quickly sank in the middle while cooling. What would cause this? Also, my frosting was to thin, almost pourable. Did I not let the chocalet and cream chill long enough? It did taste great, but I would like to know how to fix the problems I had. One another thing, I think the olive oil taste is pretty strong. Can I use a lighter oil? Thanks for the advice.

  4. Brenda says:

    Oh my…many mistakes in my previous post. I can spell; I just can't type! I meant to say: "chocolate", "too thin", "out OF the oven", and finally, "One other thing". Good grief!

  5. Lisa S. says:

    YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!!!! I finally got around to making this AMAZING cake. It came out great, very rich, good for sharing with good friends. My frosting needed to be chilled after mixing to get it to the best speading consistancy. Of course, it is very hot and humid in the Northeast today, so that didn't help. But the cake looked great and tasted even better.

  6. brittany says:

    brooke, I would love to make this for my husband's birthday in a couple weeks and I was thinking of making it or parts of it a day ahead. Do you think it would work if I make it ahead or would it be better if I made the cake part the day before and wrap it and chill it and then mkae the mousse and frosting and put it together the day of the party? (did that make sense?) maybe I should do a practice cake and give it away…

    anyway, just thought I'd ask your professional oppinion:)


  7. Leanna says:

    I made this cake for Labor Day and it came out perfect. No problems (well except for my small town not having marscapone cheese and having to call a friend in the big city to bring me some.) The cake was so rich, I made all of my friends take a piece home so that it would not be in the house.

    Being so rich, this cake will easily feed 12 people. Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. Skye says:

    My friends and I made this cake for my birthday. While absolutely delicious in taste, the consistency was more brownie-like than fudgy and it did not quite resemble your divine pictures. What did I do wrong? (I did make the changes for low altitude.)

  9. Ket says:

    So… when I first saw this cake on your blog nine long months ago I knew I was going to have it for my birthday. I even sent my sister the link & told her she was going to make it for me.

    About a month ago I sent her a reminder. Last week I printed off the recipe, even figuring in the altitude adjustments for her. Just tonight I made up the shopping list to be sure she has all the ingredients, and tomorrow I'll go to Trader Joe's and pick up what we still need.

    Because this Sunday? I'M EATING THIS CAKE. A LOT OF IT. And I CANNOT wait!

    Nine long months… It's almost as exciting as having a baby, only chocolatey.

  10. Christiane Toney says:

    Sugar also contributes to the moistness of desserts and their tenderness. The flour or starch component in most desserts serves as a protein and gives the dessert structure. Different flours such as All-Purpose Flour or Pastry Flour provide a less rigid gluten network and therefore a different texture. Along with flour desserts may contain a dairy product.;,

    All the best to you

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