My Aunt Ann gave me this recipe when I was 17 years old. She’d just made a fried chicken and coleslaw dinner which my Uncle Robert was eating in front of a wrestling match. She served this cake for dessert.
It was the very first time she had met my new boyfriend and we’d only been dating for about a week — I didn’t even think of them as dates or of him as a boyfriend, but just as hanging out with a new friend.
She introduced herself then suddenly went up to him, placed a hand on each cheek, and looking deeply into his eyes, she suddenly grinned really big and said “Uh huh!”
Then, in full on Tasmanian Devil like form, she quickly introduced him to Uncle Robert, sat Mark down next to Uncle Robert in front of the television, and in a flash, she made and handed him a plate of her fried chicken. Then, grabbing me by the hand, she pulled me into the bedroom saying that she really needed to show me something.
She took a gift bag with my name on it out of a dresser drawer and insisted we take a seat on the side of the bed. Holding the gift bag and grinning ear to ear, she said that she’d just been waiting for the right time to come along in which to give it to me.
She then very seriously told me that he was madly in love and that he was going to propose marriage someday and that we were a perfect match. She placed the bag on the bed and placing a hand on each cheek looked into my eyes and said, “You are too — even if you don’t know it yet!”
I laughed really hard and told her that he was just a new friend and a coworker and suggested she might want to give it somebody else or put it back in the drawer — because I had absolutely NO intention of getting married before finishing college and starting a career, if ever! Plus, I was still a month away from even being finished with high school! But she wouldn’t take no for an answer and made me take the gift bag anyway — saying, “Take it anyway! Just do it for your crazy old Aunt Ann!”
Well, he did eventually propose and we did finally get married. It was a long and happy marriage too. September 2018 would have been our 30th. wedding anniversary, but he passed away just shortly before that, in June.
Anyway, afterwards she and I sat down at the table together to eat while the guys watched the wrestling match television. Then it was time for dessert.
It was the actually the first time I’d ever eaten Mississippi Mud Cake and upon telling her how great it was and how much I loved it, she gave me the recipe.
Aunt Ann’s Mississippi Mud Cake
2 cup all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1-1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 tbsp. baking cocoa powder
1/3 cup evaporated milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1-1/2 cups toasted pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lightly butter the bottom of a baking sheet. Spread out the pecan halves flat side down on the baking sheet and bake on the center rack for about 5 minutes. Watch closely and be careful not to burn. Remove when they become aromatic. Set aside to cool.
Crush 1/2 cup of the pecans into very tiny bits.
Snap the remaining toasted pecan halves coarsely into approximately half sized slivers and 1/4 sized bits with your fingers.
Use butter or shortening to coat the bottoms and sides of a 9 × 13-inch baking pan and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter then finish working in the shortening using fingers until very fine and mealy.
Stir in sugar and and cocoa.
Add the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a hand-held mixer on medium speed until well combined, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Stir in the 1/2 cup of crushed toasted pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven and immediately spread the marshmallow creme over the still hot cake.
Prepare the chocolate frosting:
Add butter to a medium saucepan and place over low heat until melted.
Whisk in the cocoa powder and evaporated milk.
Increase heat to a low-medium. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture just to a boil then immediately remove from the heat.
Whisk in the powdered sugar until thickened and smooth.
Pour the hot frosting over the marshmallow layer and carefully spread the frosting to the edges.
Sprinkle the remaining cup of finger snapped pecans evenly over the top of the cake.
Cool completely before serving.