mississippi mud... fail

The reason I don't usually post recipes on my blog is because I don't really... oh, how do you say it?... cook. However, family events like Thanksgiving have a certain tradition. Namely, food. So, I decided to make a Mississippi Mud Cake, for two reasons. 1, because I like to spell "Mississippi," and 2, because the recipe called for a bag of marshmallows. I'm. In.

I decided to do my baking the evening before Thanksgiving - which is a holiday miracle all by itself. I don't cook, so I certainly don't cook in advance. But here I was in all my Betty Crocker glory slaving over a mixing bowl.

And then disaster struck.

Actually, disaster didn't strike as much as I ruined everything. I stopped reading the instructions, like I was some prodigy that would only be hindered by the inferior process of the editors of Southern Living, where I got the recipe. I used the wrong pan to bake the cake, which led to an under-cooked cake and over-cooked marshmallows. The only solution that didn't involved throwing the entire pan into the trash was to scrape the mallows off the top of the cake and shove it back in the oven.

And then we had to eat the marshmallows. Waste not is what I always say.

In my moments of panic about the cake, one thing led to another and I carmelized the sugar and royally mangled my made-from-scratch frosting.

At this point (it was getting heart-breakingly close to midnight), my sweet husband innocently offered to pick up a store-bought dessert on our way to Thanksgiving in the morning, you know, to ease my stress. I very calmly said, "No, sweetie. I think I'd like to give this one more shot." Or maybe I was throwing eye-daggers at him like they were ninja stars. I can't remember. In any case, I sent him to Walmart to get me new ingredients to make the frosting for a second time. My utter failure only made me more determined. And cranky. There may have been a few tears at this point.

Fortunately for my man, my second attempt was a success and, in the end, we had a pretty decent Mississippi Mud Cake to present to the Thanksgiving gods (read: his grandmother, whose street name may actually be Betty Crocker). The only downside was that I may have been dosing off at the table after my baking kept us up into the wee hours of the morning.

Next year, I'm going with cupcakes. Store-bought cupcakes.

Mississippi Mud Cake Recipe (from Southern Living)
Makes 15 servings - Prep: 15 min. - Bake: 40 min.

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter
1 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
Chocolate frosting

1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
2. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
3. Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
4. Whisk sugar and next 5 ingredients into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into a greased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan.
5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with miniature marshmallows; bake 8 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle warm cake with Chocolate Frosting (recipe below), and sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.


  1. I’m still saving your midnight text on my phone:

    “OMG. I just completely wrecked my Thanksgiving dessert!! Plan B is to try again w/ new ingredients as soon as (hubby) gets back from Walmart. Plan C is to bring a package of Oreos.”

    So proud of you, girl! And REALLY glad you didn’t have to bring Oreos to Betty’s house…:0)

  2. Michelle, I just love reading your blog and this entry cracks me up. As a well-seasoned cook, I know that the important thing is that you learned from your mistakes the first time. As a mom, I know that MOST important thing is that you can laugh about it... after the fact. In the end, you produced a great dessert to take to your Thanksgiving Feast. Well done!

  3. HELLO, Miss Brownies Galore! You ARE a master baker... of brownies! You forget your roots, I see. :) I am proud of you for persevering!

  4. ohmygoodness, I nearly peed on myself reading your post. (I just now realized it was YOURS!) Granted, Carson stomps on my bladder a lot, so that might've played into it a bit. I really should start blogging my kitchen mishaps - you might feel significantly better about yourself! :) and it would give us a good laugh! miss you and can't wait to squeeze you!! ~g


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