There’s a bakery in Greensboro called Maxie B’s, and they make the most delicious cakes. They started out as part of a franchise yogurt chain and over time morphed into a bakery. I can remember when it occupied a tiny space in a strip mall on Market Street. Word got out about how good their cakes were, and business started booming. Now they have a large, comfortable, and inviting location in a much busier section of town.
Our office has ordered its birthday cakes from Maxie B’s for years. My favorite was their Mississippi Mud Cake, and that’s what I always requested at birthday time. The year I was pregnant with Gray, Crystal called to order the cake and was told they no longer made that one. Apparently they wanted to work on the formula. For the life of me I can’t figure out why. But Crystal, working her magic, managed to talk them into making it for me that year. I think the explanation of a pregnant boss did the trick. Unfortunately, that’s the last time I had their version of the cake.
The other day I started thinking about that cake, and then my taste buds wouldn’t forget about it. I began searching for a suitable substitute, and I found something from Paula Deen that seemed to fit the bill.
Paula Deen’s Mississippi Mud Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided, 1 softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 bag miniature marshmallows
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 (1 lb) box confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans, (or walnuts)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking pan. Combine the sugar, salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Bring one stick butter, oil, 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add to the flour mixture. Beat together the eggs, baking soda, buttermilk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well, and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
While the cake is baking, make the icing by melting 1 stick softened butter in the 3 tablespoons cocoa and milk over low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar. Slowly mix in the nuts and the 1 teaspoon vanilla. Take the cake from the oven, and when it cools a bit cover it with miniature marshmallows. Pour the warm icing over the cake and the marshmallows. Cool the cake before serving.
Now I made one modification — I used marshmallow fluff instead of marshmallows because Maxie B’s used fluff in their cake. Besides, I have this thing for marshmallow fluff. I also used walnuts, mostly because I like walnuts better than pecans. This cake satisfied my taste buds. I’ll definitely make it again, though next time I will make it a layer cake and double the frosting because I barely had enough to cover the sheet cake.
This version also made my Quality Control Engineer very happy. In fact, I couldn’t even get him to look up from it for 10 seconds so that I could snap his photo.