Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Mighty Mississippi

Oh, the mighty Mississippi! I grew up with a fresh sense of the power and beauty of this river, one of this country's greatest national treasures (aside from it being on the spelling bee list of every 4th grader in the Midwest). The sign marking our crossing of the river signaled the downhill side of the 16-hour trip to my native Missouri each summer...and more importantly, grandma's cooking. Watching the water gushing under the bridge as we crossed, I could smell the brisket in the oven, and the beef and noodles on the stove. Home cooking from the heart. Heaven.

This weekend, in a bit of an homage to the mighty Mississippi, I tried my hand at a dessert that has always intrigued me, and until recently, never really appealed to me (I have since learned to embrace nuts in things): Mississippi Mud Cake. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated. I mean, homemade frosting? A jelly roll pan? What if I burn it? Or worse yet, it just turns out a goopy mess of chocolate? Buck up sister. Get busy.

I used a "tried and true" recipe from Southern Living that was, according to the description, worthy of the women of Birmingham's Huffman United Methodist Church. How could I mess that up? (Oh, I can think of a few ways...) The cake ingredients came together in no time. Within another 5 minutes, I was licking the beaters of a creamy, buttery, bowl of decadent chocolate frosting and anticipating the opening of the bag of mini-marshmallows waiting to be melted onto the top of the warm, fudgy cake. After 30 minutes of smelling yumminess coming from my oven, I removed the cake, added the final touches of black and white drizzled goodness onto the cake and closed my eyes, mouth watering in anticipation that it tasted as good as it smelled.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. The cake was cooled enough to cut and plate. Come to mama.

Oh, praise be to the mighty Mississippi! If that wasn't heaven on a plate, I don't know what would be. From the moment I tasted the first bit of sinful sweetness on my lips, I knew I was going to have to keep these puppies under lock and key. As I cut the cake into squares, I (quite nearly unsuccessfully) resisted the urge to have more than two.

Ok, three.

Tasting such baking perfection, I smile and am taken back to the abundant and joyful dinner tables of both my grandmothers. Even though they didn't contain this particular cake, they were full of love and comfort. Just the way I want my dinner table to be. Oh, the mighty, mighty Mississippi.


  1. Claire and I make this too, and it is sooo good! Wish we could eat a piece together! Love you!

  2. Hey Kristina,

    Love the blog! This is so up your alley. I enjoy reading about food through a foodie's eyes and especially love the "cheesecloth" reference. You are not the only one to get intimidated with that one!

    Susan N.