The Ultimate Chocolate Mud Cake Guide

The Ultimate Chocolate Mud Cake Guide provides you with all the answers to unanswered questions about this much-celebrated cake. Often referred to as the choco mud cake here in Australia this comprehensive guide offers information about how to bake this delicious cake, the importance of ingredients, and baking tips to make sure you deliver the perfect Chocolate Mud Cake.

 A layered Chocolate Mud Cake filled and topped with chocolate buttercream, meringues and drizzled with chocolate ganache sauce.

What is a Mud Cake?

A cake that is rich, moist, and creamy there's nothing like a chocolate mud cake. It's loved by young and old. And of course, the best are made with great dark chocolate. This cake is a dense almost fudgy chocolate cake that looks and tastes like pure chocolate. 

What is mud cake made of?

The best recipes are made with real chocolate, butter, fresh eggs, sugar, self-raising flour, and a little baking powder. Cocoa powder is often used in the cake recipe. The quality of dark chocolate is always essential to creating the best chocolate cake recipe that will impress friends and family.

Chocolate mud cake makes slicing easy

This is a cake that is a great all-rounder for any event. With their dense crumbless structure, they're easy to cut - infact they are the easiest cake to cut. It's so dense that it cuts cleanly with perfect edges and leaves little or no crumb to clean up or deal with at the cutting table.

For this reason, they make great celebration cakes including wedding cakes and birthday cakes. The easy slice structure also augurs for great and easy slicing of large Drip Cakes. The knife glides through and comes out clean allowing for a tidy and well-presented slice.

A tall chocolate drip cake showing chocolate ganache dripping and on top lots of chocolate decorations including truffles, chocolate domes, macrons and a gold foiled brownie

Large celebration cakes are often cake towers and generally need to be cut to cater to a number of people at a function. The slicing of a tall celebration Drip Cake would be a formidable task if it were not for the ease of slicing a Mud. Even with deliciously gooey chocolate ganache dripping down the side, the mud cake will slice easily and neatly into small slices so that everyone gets a delicious share!

Chocolate Mud Wedding Cakes

Chocolate Mud Wedding Cakes are very popular. The question we're often asked is " Can you stack a mud cake." Not only do mud cakes slice easily but the very firm structure of a mud cake renders it suitable for layering of cakes. As layered cakes are often desirable for weddings, the very dense strong structure of the chocolate mud cake allows for easy stacking of cakes and so allows not only creativity but also confidence for the Pastry Chef to stack and know that the cake will be safe. After all, no one wants to worry about a wedding cake collapsing. I say that with a little bit of my own traumatic experience. Once we were touring wedding venues and much to everyone's shock the wedding cake for the "about to arrive" bride had collapsed all over the floor! A common error for wedding cake preparation is to not support the cake correctly - having said that the Mud Cake makes for a great and stable Wedding Cake Base.

Why is it called Mud Cake?

The Mud Cake appears to have evolved in the 1970s in the USA. History seems to suggest that the mud cake originated in the Southern States of the USA near the Mississippi River. It is suggested the name Mud Cake was given to this delicious cake would you believe because it resembled the mud along the banks of the said river?

Earlier precursors to Chocolate Mud Cake are the Brownie and also fudge. The Mud Cake almost seems like a combination of Brownie, fudge and Chocolate Cake.

Is Mud Cake used as a birthday Cake?

Mud cakes are the best birthday cake. Over history, cakes were made to celebrate special occasions. It is thought that cakes were reserved for special occasions as they used special and often expensive ingredients. Cakes really became more every day with the Industrial revolution as ingredients became more affordable to a greater section of the community.

A chocolate drip birthday cake with sprinkles and lolly decorations

Chocolate Mud Cakes have become a mainstay for birthday cakes. They are special using wonderful ingredients and are  cut easily. Their firm structure makes them a cake decorators favourite as they can be carved and cut to shapes.

What does a Chocolate Mud Cake taste like?

It's a rich, moist intensely chocolate flavoured cake. Its' denseness and distinct chocolate flavour can make it seem more like a dessert than a cake. Many describe this treat as a pure chocolate sensation. Certainly the dense structure does concentrate the chocolate flavour. Prime choice for the chocoholic.


What is the difference between Chocolate Cake and Mud Cake?

A Chocolate Mud Cake recipe creates a strong, densely structured cake that cuts very easily and does not crumb. The dense texture seems to concentrate the chocolate flavour and so makes for a more intense chocolate experience.

A Chocolate Mud Cake cut in half revealing a very dense, moist texture

What is the difference between chocolate cake and chocolate fudge cake?

The difference between these two cakes is really in the texture and resultant crumb of the cake. A chocolate cake will form crumbs as you cut due to the open, light texture. A fudge cake is dense and thick in texture and forms no crumb as you cut the cake. A chocolate fudge cake is often used more as a dessert because of its richer denser texture and flavour.

What makes Chocolate Mud Cake moist and soft?

Recipes can vary though there are several common themes around ensuring that yours is moist and soft. Here are a few tips that apply to baking cake in general:

  1. Follow the cake recipe mixing steps carefully. Always add ingredients in the order advised by the recipe.
  2. Use the correct size baking tin for your batch
  3. Don't interchange ingredients unless you are sure of the components of the substitute ingredient.
  4. Don't over bake the cake
  5. Measure your ingredients carefully

 What role do the ingredients play in Chocolate Mud Cake?

The ingredients play significant role in the final cake. The ingredients and the way they interact with each other produce cakes of varying texture and taste. Here's a look at each of the ingredients:


Butter is fat usually included to help improve the overall flavour of the cake. It plays an important role also in cake texture and moistness. While butter is the usual fat source, cooking oil and margarine can also be used. At Dello Mano we feel very strongly about using butter though recipes and kitchens do vary.


Sugar plays a vital role in making the cake soft and moist. Its ability to hold water molecules is an important reason for its inclusion in a cake. When substituting with other sweetening agents it is important to understand that their ability to hold the water is substandard to sugar and so any changes in sugar content will require recipe work for success. Sugar also plays a big part in colour and texture development in the cake.


Egg yolks act as an emulsifier. Fat and water do not want to come together so it is the emulsifying action of the egg yolk that can bring the two together. Additionally, the protein found in the egg plays a critical role in forming the structure of the cake. The same egg proteins when cooking help turns the cake to a nice golden cooked cake colour.


Flour protein mixes with water to form gluten as the cake cooks, the gluten stretches to hold in the leavening gases as the cake rises. Cake flour is a flour specifically used for cakes. It has a lower protein content than plain flour and so makes for a softer cake.


The various liquids in a cake play a critical role in cake development. They hydrate starch and raising agents such as baking powder. By hydrating the leavening agents they undergo chemical changes that allow for cake development. Liquids too release steam as they cook further developing the texture of the cake

Don't forget too that it is not only the ingredients but the order in which they are added or how they are added will also impact the texture of the cake. The oven, the temperature and the time will also impact the cake texture.

How long does a Mud Cake last?

It depends on weather and storage conditions though kept carefully it can last weeks. This makes it a great birthday cake or other celebration cake as you can cater wide and still enjoy the cake for days after the event.

How does an Australian Mud cake differ?

It is pretty much the same as an American version with the biggest difference being that the early original U.S. versions of this cake were loaded with marshmallows on top. This isn't something that has taken on in Australia where we tend to drizzle with chocolate ganache or frost with chocolate buttercream icing.

How to store Chocolate Mud Cake

When baking at home, the best place is to store it at room temperature in a dry, cool place protected from the elements. In a commercial Cakery like Dello Mano, we store all of our chocolate cakes refrigerated. At Dello Mano, we recommend our clients keep their cakes refrigerated however it is always best to bring the chocolate cake out of the fridge and allow it to settle at room temperature before enjoying the cake.

How to know when a Mud Cake is cooked

It's cooked when few cracks have formed on the surface of the cake. When a skewer is inserted it will come out clean. The time and temperature for cooking are important though it will very much depend on your oven, batch size and recipe.

A Chocolate Mud Cake out of the oven with cracks appearing on the surface of the cake suggesting that is baked and ready.

Chocolate Mud Cake recipe tips

The Mud benefits from keeping in mind a couple of baking tips:

  1. Before you begin make sure that you have all the ingredients that you need. Cake baking is in many ways a scientific process requiring the interaction of specific ingredients. It is not so easy to swap ingredients unless you understand each ingredient, their role and the possible impact of switching ingredients.
  2. Select the best recipe you can find and ensure it is affordable. These recipes can be costly as they use lots of quite expensive ingredients like butter, chocolate, and eggs.
  3. Follow the mud cake recipe carefully - measure your ingredients with care.
  4. To achieve a rich and best chocolate cake use a great quality chocolate
  5. Mix your chocolate mixture without over aerating
  6. Always pre-heat the oven
  7. Use baking paper around the edges if you prefer - though this is a personal preference
  8. Ensure the cooking time is low and slow - use low heat
  9. Watch your cake while it is in the oven - do not over-bake it.
  10. Always allow to cool in the tin ( but don't leave in the tin for more time than required to cool down)
  11. Set aside the cake to equilibrate before decorating

 How to make Chocolate Mud Cake at home

There are many recipes from which to choose but here is a great base recipe as a start to your experimentation. You can play around with different chocolate types and strengths. Please note though that you can't just substitute milk chocolate or white chocolate in a cake recipe. Both of these ingredients are tempting to substitute but direct substitution will impact your final cake. Try this recipe at home:


4 eggs lightly beaten

210g Dark Good Quality Chocolate

240g Fresh Butter

30g Belgian Cocoa Powder ( can be substitued for other Cocoa)

1 tsp Vanilla ( our preference is Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)

250g Caster Sugar

260g Self Raising flour

100mL Milk

150 ml Sour Cream


  1. Preheat your oven, We recommend 160 C but it is really up to your experience with your own oven.
  2. Grease a springform pan - 23cm and line with baking paper.\
  3. Place the chocolate, butter, coffee, and milk in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) and stir until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Sift the cocoa powder and the flour into a bowl and mix in the caster sugar. Fold in the lightly beaten eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
  5. The chocolate mixture should have a spreadable consistency and pour into the cake tin and bake it. Bake for one hour but check at 60 minutes. To test if your cake is ready insert a skewer and it should return moist crumbs but not raw batter.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to allow to completely cool - this will usually take about 1 hour. Once cool you can decorate your cake by drizzling chocolate ganache ( recipe below) over the surface.

 A cooked Chocolate Mud Cake on a wire cooling rack out of the oven

Chocolate Ganache Recipe:


For a lovely chocolate ganache to drizzle on top of this cake we use a

300g dark good quality chocolate

50g butter

125 mL fresh pure cream

To make a chocolate ganache, place the chocolate, cream, and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of slightly simmering water. Stir all of the ingredients until melted and smooth. Important when making a chocolate ganache is to ensure that the bowl does not touch the water as the chocolate will get hot and scold. Also important when heating chocolate over simmering water is to ensure that moisture/steam does not come up into the bowl at all - this will cause your chocolate ganache to seize up and clot.

A hand stirring a bowl of dark chocolate ganache and swirls forming

Swirls of glossy Dark Chocolate Ganache on top of a cake

Where can I buy Chocolate Mud Cake?

The best are made by hand by skilled cake bakers and decorators. Of course, choosing a handmade cake crafted by a professional is an investment. So often  the event is important whether it be a birthday cake or office party, the cake is often the highlight and often the most important memory of an event. You can buy Chocolate Mud Cake everywhere from a supermarket through to a premium cake baker like Dello Mano.  We offer cake  delivery Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Buy cake online for cake delivery or cake click and collect from New Farm Store or our Boutique at the Wintergarden in the Brisbane CBD ( just off the Queen St. Mall.)

How is Dello Mano Chocolate Mud Cake made?

Handmade with our own recipe, at Dello Manowe use quality Belgian dark chocolate chopped, eggs lightly beaten, real butter, and Belgian Cocoa Powder to create a truly sensational experience. Made in small batches, each cake is baked in its own cake tin using our recipe. After baking, our Pastry Chefs test the bake the traditional way by applying a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake. If the skewer comes out clean then the cake is considered baked and set aside to cool completely. As the cake cools the kitchen is filled with a heady, delicious aroma of chocolate.

Our Dello Mano Chocolate Mud Cake can be decorated depending on orders as a Chocolate Milkshake Cake, Chocolate Teacake or a Birthday Cake such as a Celebration Drip Cake

Chocolate Mud Cake Teacake finished with Chocolate Butter cream swirl and edible red roses

About Dello Mano Cakes:

Dello Mano handmade cakes are made in small batches by professional cake bakers and decorators. We use small batches, traditional methods, and quality ingredients like real eggs, real butter, and real Belgian Chocolate. We are generous with our ingredients and use amounts that really deliver taste and not only so we can say we use them. A common occurrence in the food industry with many of these special quality ingredients is to make claims of inclusion of special ingredients like Belgian Dark Chocolate though use very little in the actual recipe. At Dello Mano the ingredients and generous use of ingredients like dark chocolate, real eggs and butter are what make our produce different.

Dello Mano chocolate cakes include those aforementioned including the Chocolate Milkshake, the Chocolate Tea Cake, and for a larger birthday cake the Chocolate Celebration. Dello Mano offers Mud Cake delivery in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast.

If you've got a recipe you'd like to share then drop us a line - our social handle is @dellomano and you can reach us on Instagram and Facebook. If you want to call to order cake then please phone Bien on 0498 002 468 or order cake online at our online store. If you want to visit a Dello Mano Boutique our stores are at New Farm, Brisbane, or our Cake Boutique at the Wintergarden, Brisbane CBD (on the Queen St. Mall) offers a range of the best birthday cakes in Brisbane.

From this Brisbane Cake Baker - Happy Baking!


About the Author and Dello Mano:

Deb Peralta is the co-owner of Dello Mano. The Dello Mano business was established with Bien Peralta in 2006. It is an award-winning small family business with a big dream to nurture and protect the ever-diminishing marketplace of handmade beautiful food. Deb is Food Scientist who later became qualified in Business/Marketing and also has a keen interest and qualification in Creative Therapy. Believing that creativity is central to happiness, Dello Mano focuses on the creative magic of handmade food. Our passion is to share the tangible and intangible beauty of humanity and art in handmade food. 

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