This chocolate mud cake will cure any and all chocolate cravings. This cake is sinfully dense, rich and fudgy topped with a silky smooth chocolate ganache.
It's also quite possibly the tallest single layer cake you'll ever make!
You can mix up the cake batter in just one bowl (no electric mixer required)!
The secret to a dense and fudgy cake is to bake it low and slow. This cake is baked at 150 C (300 F) for about 1 hr and 30 minutes.
Ingredients in Mud Cake
- Unsalted butter: using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of additional salt added to the recipe. If you are using salted butter, omit the added salt.
- Dark chocolate: use a high-quality dark chocolate suitable for melting and baking. Avoid unsweetened (99% etc.) chocolate as this will be too bitter.
- Can I use chocolate chips or melts? Yes. Make sure they are high quality (not compound chocolate) and suitable for melting. Some chocolate chips will be marked as "holds shape while baking" so make sure to avoid these brands as they will not melt down properly.
- Caster sugar / superfine sugar: this finer form of sugar will dissolve more rapidly into the cake batter and give you a fudgier cake with a tight crumb. You can use regular sugar, however note that it may give you a crisp crust and lighter texture.
- Brown sugar: I use soft light brown sugar but any form of brown sugar will do. Do NOT substitute with more regular sugar or you will get a lighter cake (similar to a regular chocolate cake).
- Instant coffee granules: coffee helps bring out the flavour of chocolate in baked goods. The cake will not taste like coffee, so don't worry if you're not a coffee fan. Omit if you don't have any granules available.
- NOTE: the granules should be the type which dissolve in water.
- Milk: I use whole dairy milk. I haven't yet tried this recipe with non-dairy milks, but do let me know in the comments if you have success with plant-based milk alternatives.
- Vanilla essence / vanilla extract: this brings out extra flavour in the chocolate mud cake.
- Plain flour / all-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: NOT hot cocoa powder. Avoid Dutch-process 'cacao' powder or other very bitter cocoa powders. It is best to use a brand which is designed for baking (Nestle, Hershey's etc.).
- Baking powder: NOT baking soda. Check that your baking powder is IN DATE or else your cake has a greater chance of collapsing.
- Salt: I use ground sea salt but you can also use table salt.
How to Make Chocolate Mud Cake
1. Chop chocolate and butter and place in a large heat-proof bowl.
2. Melt together the butter and chocolate in the microwave (or over a bain-marie). Make sure to melt slowly in bursts (I do 1 minute on high, then 30 seconds, then further 10 seconds until melted) and stir well in between.
3. Stir in sugars and instant coffee granules.
4. The batter may be grainy after stirring in the sugar. That is okay!
5. Stir in the eggs until well combined. Keeping the eggs at room temperature will help prevent the batter from splitting or curdling.
6. Stir in the milk and vanilla. The batter may split at this point due to the cold temperature of the milk. To help prevent splitting, you should keep stirring as you add the milk in and/or use room-temperature milk if possible. NOTE that a split batter doesn't really matter - it will still bake perfectly fine!
7. Sift over the dry ingredients. Sifting will ensure you have a smooth, well-formed batter. If you like, you can sift the ingredients into a different bowl then add them to the batter afterward.
8. Stir well and there you go… easy as cake! Your batter is now ready to bake. Don't worry about the occasional lump or slightly grainy texture.
9. The cake will rise up quite a lot, so ensure your baking paper rises well above the top of the tin (I recommend at least 6 cm / 2 inches).
10. The cake is cooked on a low and slow temperature. Depending on the strength of your oven, the cooking time may vary +/- 15 minutes so always check the cake with a skewer in the centre. The cake is ready when the skewer comes out of the centre of the cake mostly clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging.
11. Use a large serrated bread knife or cake levelling tool to even out the top of the cake. Due to the dense nature of mud cakes, they are prone to sinking slightly in the middle.
12. The cake should be reasonably flat on top.
For the Ganache
1. For the ganache: pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir well until the mixture is properly combined.
2. Put the cooled cake on a wire rack over a baking tray to catch any excess ganache. Pour the ganache over the levelled cake and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until the ganache is firm and matte and enjoy!
Top Tips & FAQs
What is mud cake?
- A dense, fudgy cake with a tight crumb.One of the most common misconceptions is that dense = dry. Mud cake is dense with a tight crumb (meaning the cake doesn't crumble very easily when cut) but is extremely moist. It makes the perfect cake for decorating or entertaining!
Why is it called 'mud cake'?
- The cake's colour resembles the brown water of the Mississippi River.It is believed the mud cake originates in the southern states of the U.S. near the Mississippi River. I like to think that the cake is thick and dense, like walking through mud!
Why did my batter separate and go lumpy?
- The cold ingredients caused the butter to separate from the chocolate:if you add your cold eggs and milk all at one time it may cool the butter down and cause it to separate from the chocolate. To fix this:
- Use room temperature eggs and milk, if possible.
- Stir the batter as you add in each egg, and slowly stream in the milk while stirring.
- NOTE!The cake will still turn out perfectly fine even if the batter has separated at once stage during the baking process. It shouldn't affect the overall flavour or texture of the cake once baked.
Can I turn this mud cake into a two-layer cake?
- Yes.Split the batter into two 8 inch (20 cm) tins and bake together for approximately 40 minutes, checking with a skewer to see if it is cooked through.
- Mud cakes are excellent for stacking and decorating.They make an excellent base for a wedding or birthday cake and can be easily shaped or stacked.
How long does mud cake last?
You can keep the mud-cake unrefrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 7 days. However, It will stay freshest in the refrigerator and may keep for an extra few days.
I personally think the mud cake tastes better on the second day after baking.
Can I freeze a cooked mud cake?
Yes! Mud cake freezes very well. Wrap the whole cake (or portions) tightly in clingwrap and place in a freezer or zip-loc bag. Keep frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw for 6 hours or overnight at room temperature before eating.
This cake keeps very well un-refrigerated in an airtight container. I personally think it tastes even fudgier on the second day!
The Ultimate Chocolate Mud Cake
This really is the ultimate chocolate mud cake. This high-rise mud cake is ridiculously dense, rich and fudgy. A silky chocolate ganache topping makes this cake the perfect chocolate indulgence.
For the Mud Cake
- 250 g (9 oz / 1 cup) unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 200 g (8 oz) dark chocolate block, roughly chopped
- 1 cup (240 g) caster sugar / superfine sugar
- 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) instant coffee granules, optional
- 1 ½ cups (375 mL) milk
- 3 large eggs (approx. 55 g / 2 oz each)
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) vanilla essence OR 2 teaspoon (10 g) vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (225 g) plain / all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (16 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
For the Chocolate Ganache
- ¼ cup (63 mL) thickened (pouring) cream
- ¼ cup (63 mL) milk
- 200 g (8 oz) dark chocolate block, finely chopped
For the Mud Cake
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F (fan/convection) or 160°C / 320°F (standard). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin. The cake rises very high when baking, so make sure that the baking paper rises at least 6 cm (2 inches) above the top of the tin.
- Place chopped butter and chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Microwave for 1 minute on high power. Stir well. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted. Microwave in further 10 second bursts, if needed, to completely melt the chocolate.
- Add sugars and instant coffee granules. Stir well. Add milk, eggs and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
- Sift over flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir until the batter is well combined.
- Pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 80-90 minutes (1 hr 20 mins - 1 hr 30 mins) or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Avoid opening the oven door during cooking as much as possible or the cake will sink in the middle.
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Ganache
- Stir together milk and cream in a small heat-proof jug. Microwave for 1 minute on high power or until it just begins to bubble (but is not boiling over).
- Place the finely chopped chocolate in a separate small bowl. Pour the hot cream and milk over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir together until smooth and well combined. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave the ganache in 10 seconds bursts until smooth.
- Using a large serrated bread knife, level out the top of the cake so it is completely flat. Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cake, using the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until ganache is firm and matte. The ganache can also set at room temperature (if your house is reasonably cool), but it may take longer.
- Slice up and enjoy! I find that this cake tastes even fudgier on the second day.
- Please note that my recipes are measured in metric cups and spoons which are larger than US cups and spoons. Most recipes will be fine if measured in US cups and spoons, but please use the weight (grams) measurement for the most accurate result.
- Store the cake un-refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Substitutions & Tips
- Dark chocolate: you can substitute 200 g (8 oz) of chopped dark chocolate blocks with 200 g (8 oz) of dark chocolate chips for either the cake or the ganache. I don't recommend using milk chocolate as it will taste overly sweet.
- Instant coffee granules: coffee enhances the chocolate flavour of the cake. It won't make the cake taste like coffee. You can omit the coffee if you like.
- Ganache: this ganache isn't overly sweet so it makes a good topping for the dense and rich chocolate mud cake. You can use your favourite frosting or serve the mud cake plain with whipped cream or ice cream.
- Make sure that the baking paper rises at least 6 cm (2 inches) above the top of the cake tin. The cake will rise quite high.
- Why did my cake sink in the middle? Make sure not to open the oven door until the cake has been baking for at least 70 minutes (1 hr 10 mins). Opening the oven door too early will release heat from the oven and may cause the cake to sink in the centre.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/12th of Cake (with Ganache)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 31.5gSaturated Fat: 18.9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 342.2mgCarbohydrates: 67.7gFiber: 1.8gSugar: 54.4gProtein: 8.4g
Alia Atif says
Can we make half the recipe??
You absolutely can. If you're happy with a shorter cake, you can still bake it in a 20 cm (8 inch) tin, otherwise you can bake it in a smaller tin so it will rise higher. I recommend starting with 40 minutes baking time and then checking it every 10 minutes after that.
Hope you enjoy!
Could we use this recipe for a sheet cake? Wanting to use it for a number cake.
Hi Rachael! Yes, that should be fine. You might have to play around with the length of baking if the cake is spread into a thinner layer. I would start out with 45 or so minutes and take it from there. Hope you enjoy!
I just tried this recipe in a 9in x 13in pan at 150C for 60 minutes, a skewer came out clean so I took it out, but it sunk. Just wondering if you'd had any luck with it in the sheet pan?
Just thought I'd let you know, I tried again yesterday with better results, I did a 9" x 13" pan at 140C for 90 minutes and it was great, no sinking this time.
Thanks for the awesome recipe!
Hi Chloe! Can I use a hand mixer instead of manually stirring the ingredients? Does it make any difference? Can I also split the batter into two 8" pans? For how long should I bake the cake?
Hi Regina! You can use a hand mixer, but make sure to keep it on the lowest speed to ensure you don't overmix the batter (especially once you've added the dry ingredients!). I recently just did exactly that and made a two layer cake from this recipe. Split the batter into the two 8 inch pans then bake for 35-40 minutes to start with. Check it with a skewer and bake more as needed. It still makes very decent height layers! Hope you enjoy 🙂
What percentage of dark chocolate bar did you use in your recipe?
I used a 45% cocoa solids bar 🙂 note that I used a baking chocolate block so it would melt down more easily.
Hi! This looks soooo delicious! Do you perhaps have the recipe in weight/grams? I need to try this asap! LOL
Hi Bianca, I'm aiming to update my recipes with weight/grams over the next couple of months. Sorry I don't have them available at the moment! For now, I recommend Googling the weight conversion for each ingredient. Enjoy 🙂
Iman Kabbout says
Hi, im wanting to make a 3 layer cake 8 inch with this recipe. Should i times the ingredients by 3 or would thst be to much? Thank you!
Hi Iman! I think tripling the ingredients would give you too much batter. I would personally double the batter and that should be more than enough! Hope that helps 🙂
This looks sooo good! Would this come out ok as a cupcake? How would you adjust temp/time?
Hi Desiree! My only concern would be the cupcakes being quite flat and perhaps a bit dense. I haven't tried it myself as cupcakes so I can't properly advise! If you were to try, I would recommend keeping the temperature at 150°C / 300°F (fan/convection) or 160°C / 320°F (standard), and baking for 25-30 minutes. Make sure that you only fill the cupcake pans half full. Test with a skewer to make sure the cupcakes are baked through. Hope that helps!
This recipe looks amazing! Do you have all the measure in grams? I’m in Canada and a cup of butter equals 227 grams not 250 so I don’t want measurements to be off when I try this!
Hi Candice! I've just updated the recipe to include gram measurements. Hope you enjoy- this is one of my favourite cakes ever!
Hi your cake recipe is just great. Everyone loved it. However, I baked it twice and each time the centre collapses though the taste was great. What am I doing wrong here. Could you help?
Hi Shailinia! I'm so glad everyone loved the cake! Collapsing can happen for a couple of reasons. I would first check your baking powder isn't expired, as this is a common cause for cakes collapsing in the centre. Also make sure you don't overbeat your batter too too much - this batter is very forgiving, but still try to mix it just until everything is combined. Lastly, make sure to position the cake in the top half of your oven. Don't sit it ontop of any other tray, just place it directly on the oven rack if possible. Make sure not to open the oven until at least the 70 minute mark- perhaps even 5-10 minutes later since this has happened to you twice now! Hope that helps, and best of luck for next time 🙂
Hi can you tell me the cake tin measurements?
Hi! I used an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin approx 3 inch (7 cm) tall. Hope that helps 🙂
Hi Chloe Would this work with gluten free flour
Hi Lorraine! I haven't yet tried this with gluten-free flour. I would assume it would work well, as this cake is rich and dense which lends itself well to being gluten free. Do let me know if you try it 🙂
Can I use just self raising flour instead of plain and baking powder
Hi Justine, yes that will be fine 🙂 enjoy!
Hi Chloe, i made this last night, mind you my baking powder was 5 years out of date lol and i still used it, it rose higher then the cake tin, it was absolutely yummo, even my children gave a thumbs up and they can be brutal haha.
Wow, that's awesome to hear 🙂 Thanks for the lovely feedback and I'm so glad it got the kids' tick of approval!!
I would like to try and make this cake for my son's 21st birthday.
I need to feed 50 people with this cake. Can you help me to make this cake bigger.
Which size cake tin should I use?
Do I just double the ingredients?
Your help would be much appreciated, thank you for your time
This is the best chocolate mud cake!! I have made it several times now and its been a hit with everyone.
I am making my son's wedding cake and have decided to make this as the bottom tier. I will make three layers but I'm going to use 9inch tins.
I would like to make the other tier in a white mud. Do you have a recipe I could use?
Thank you so much for the lovely comment Philia! I'm so excited for you to make the cake for your son's wedding. I haven't got a recipe for white mud cake (yet!) but I have used this recipe by The Sweetest Menu with much success. Hope that helps! 🙂
This recipe sounds amazing & I’m wanting to make it as a birthday cake for a party. Thinking I will need to do double quantity for the size required. Should this still work ok and what would you suggest on baking time? Intend to use a large rectangle tin so it won’t be quite as high as it appears in your photos.
Hi Megan, apologies for the late reply! I would double the quantity (as long as the tin is very large!) and make sure to not overfill the tin with batter (max 2/3 full). Start by baking for 1 hour 15 minutes and see how you go. It may take up to 1 1/2 hours. Hope that helps and enjoy the cake!
I have just made this cake. Not sure why my cake is super light. I thought mud cake would be more dense than this, Maybe i overmix it. 🙁
However, it is really delicious.
Hi Ying, the cake should definitely be on the denser side. I'm not sure why it came out light! I think you might be right, it may be overmixed- I would try mixing with a wooden spoon until the batter is just combined. Glad you enjoyed it anyway 🙂
Hello, I'm super excited to try this out for a snail cake I'm making this week, I just have one question... What kind of brown sugar do you use? Is it soft or Demerara?
Hi Jenni, I believe that the type of brown sugar I use is called soft brown sugar (not Demerara) in the rest of the world. Hope that helps and enjoy your cake!
Very odd. Was mixing and as soon as I put in the milk the entire mixture was clumpy. Could not get rid of the clumps. Why did I do wrong??! Continued mixing anyway and hope it turns out well but it’s very odd?
Hi Billie, the cold milk and eggs can cause the butter to separate from the chocolate. I would suggest using room temperature eggs and milk (or microwave the milk for 30 seconds) to prevent splitting (although the final cake should turn out okay either way!). If you are using cold ingredients, make sure to stir the batter as stream the milk in. I will update the recipe to clarify 🙂 hope you enjoy!
Virginia Norris says
I've just made this and had to bake it for over 2 hours!! My oven thermometer says oven temp is correct. Not a big deal.
Hi Virginia, I'm sorry to hear it had to bake for so long! I'm not sure exactly why it took so long, ovens can be so unique that it could be a range of different things such as needing to place the cake higher in the oven, or increasing the temperature if your oven isn't fan-forced. Otherwise, I hope you still enjoyed the cake 🙂
I’d like to make this cake.
Do you have a video on how to make it?
Hi Mako, here is the link to the TikTok video of me making the recipe. Hope that helps!
Can heavy cream be used instead of pouring cream? There is no pouring cream around me ?
Hi Steph, yes it absolutely can! Pouring cream is fine. Enjoy!
i would like to get a more fudgier version of this cake, like a brownie in the center, how can i achieve this? want this to be more on a fudgier texture, its alittle bit cakey for my liking
Hi! I would reducing the flour by 1 cup. Please note that this may cause the centre to sink in a fair bit, due to the amount of butter, sugar and chocolate in the recipe. You might like to try baking it as a sheet cake and see how you go 🙂
Janeen Gibbs says
Brilliant recipe, lovely texture and flavour.
The cake was not as dense as expected but otherwise was exactly as described in the recipe. My family can’t wait for the next one to come out of the oven.
That's wonderful to hear Janeen, so so glad you and the family enjoyed! 🙂
Hi! I was wondering if this will recipe will work well for a 3 or 4 layer 6" cake? Would I need to double the recipe?
Hi Nadia! This recipe would definitely stack well. Due to it's density and weight, I would probably do three layers! I think doubling the recipe is best (and easier than doing 1.5x). You have to take into account that the top sinks in a small amount so you may have to chop a fair bit off when you level the cakes. Let me know how it goes 🙂
Just a quick question can you use vegetable oil instead of butter and can I substitute the milk for almond milk
Hi Andrea, both of those changes should be fine, however you will probably have a lot more of a fluffier cake due to the oil content. Since dairy milk has a small amount of fat in it so to make the almond milk 'fattier' I would use 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (extra) and 1 1/4 cups of almond milk. So in total you will have 1 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 1 1/4 cups of almond milk. I hope that makes sense! Enjoy 🙂
Hi! This looks awesome! I was wondering if I could use fresh brewed coffee instead of instant? What measurement would you recommend for this?
Hi Scarlette, I would replace 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 cup of strongly brewed black coffee (of any sort). So in total you will have 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of strongly brewed coffee. Hope you enjoy!
Lisa Ziegler says
Hi, just making this cake now. Looks like it will be yummy! My only concern is the amount of baking powder? 1 tbs is a lot! I just wondered if the conversion might be different in Australia? It says 16g next to the 1 tbs, in the recipe but 1tbs is actually 20g. I went with the 1tbs, so I hope it doesn't rise too much? Perhaps this is why people are finding the recipe isn't as dense as expected? Anyway, I'll see how it goes! Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Lisa! Hope you enjoyed the cake 🙂 Although it sounds like a lot of baking powder, it is a massive cake! The cake should still be dense and not too fluffy. I'm in Australia as well - by weight, 1 Australian tablespoon of baking powder is 14-15g, depending on how heaped it is. Check out this handy Australian weight conversion chart for more details.
Amy in Oz says
Thanks for the recipe! I made this for my son's birthday cake. I did a single batch and separated it into 2x 18cm square cake tins to stack.
I used gluten free flour (White Wings brand), soy milk, and 70% Lindt chocolate so it is gluten and dairy free. It is a little bitter due to the chocolate (I should have added a little more sugar to counteract that), but otherwise worked really well.
For the ganache, I heated up pure coconut cream (get a tin with 100% coconut, not one with added water as it can make your chocolate seize. I used Ayam brand). I just did chocolate and coconut cream, no milk, as I needed it dairy free. It worked well.
Thanks so much for the recipe! It was lovely!
Can I cut down the sugar
Hi, you can reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup caster sugar without affecting the texture. To reduce it more, you can substitute the sugar 1:1 with a baking sweetener. Make sure it is a sweetener designed specifically for baking that is meant to be used in equal parts with sugar i.e. Splenda Original Granulated Sweetener. Hope you enjoy ?
Great recipe! Made this today for my partner's birthday using 2 20cm sandwich tins and half the amount of sugar. Turned out fantastic and was very simple to make, will definitely be making it again!
Ron Maniglia says
I split the batter into two 9 inch pans and sandwiched a layer of cheesecake between the two before covering with chocolate buttercream. Unfortunately, I did over bake the cake layers so they were less moist.
I am wanting to use 2x 6 inch cake tins with this recipe. Would I still be able to use a single batch and just split it between the two? Would I need to vary the baking time as well?
Hi Laura, yes you can definitely split this recipe between two x 6 inch tins. I would reduce the baking time to 50-60 mins and check with a skewer. Continue to bake in 10 minute intervals until the skewer comes out clean. Hope that helps 🙂
cooking this cake for a picnic toomoz,my daughter in law is American I'm hoping to impress her with this cheers.
I made this in my 9" cheesecake pan, and it came just up to the top. It came out very flat. Nice size cake. Moist and yummy. Not overly sweet. I added a little bit of sugar to the ganache. This is a keeper!
hi, i need to make this cake for 20 people. i am going to do 2 layers but could you recommend a tin size for me please? Also would love your thoughts on using a white ganache instead?
Hi Keeley, I would use two x 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tins, however I would reduce the baking time to 50-60 minutes. Check with a skewer and continue to bake in extra 10 minute intervals as required. I'm sure white chocolate ganache would be absolutely delicious! You will need to find a different recipe for the ganache as white chocolate requires a different ratio to cream as compared to dark chocolate. Hope that helps.
Hello! I made this recipe following the instructions to a tee but it didn’t rise at all, any tips on what I might’ve done wrong? Thank you in advance! And thank you for your recipe 🙂
Hi Christina, I'm so sorry to hear that the cake didn't rise for you. The most common error is using expired baking powder, so double check whether your baking powder is in date! Also make sure that your oven is correctly pre-heated before baking. If your oven is slower/cooler than most, you may also need to increase the temperature to reflect this i.e. bake at 160°C / 320°F. Lastly, make sure you don't overmix the cake batter - in saying that, this recipe is very forgiving so that shouldn't be a huge issue. Hope that helps!
Michelle Oelfke says
I made this cake and it tasted not great. I noticed on internet you have 2 versions of this recipe. One says 1 3/4 cup milk and then this one here calls for 1 1/2 cup milk. Also your recipe here states 1 1/2 cup AP flour weighing in at 225 grams when 1 cup of AP flour weighs 120 grams so shouldn't the recipe state 180 grams not 225 grams for 1 1/2 cup AP flour?
I am a very experienced cook and baker yet ha ha I just looked at the weights you had posted in the recipe not using my smarts to know the correct weight.
Im going to try making this cake one more time and see. I also want to use dutch cocoa powder as that's what I use in my chocolate cakes and subbing in buttermilk should still help give the cake the appropriate rise.