Monday, February 8, 2010

HEAVENLY HASH CAKE - A Chocolate Pecan Cake with Fudge Icing

The positive fallout from my 24,24,24 Foodbuzz Cajun dinner continues. Last week, a part of the publicity team for a cookbook wrote me an email, offering me a review copy. Best of all, it was for a Cajun cookbook (have I mentioned recently that I happen to enjoy Cajun cooking?).

During the next few d
ays, I am going to be cooking recipes and blogging the results from Da Cajn Critter - The Lifestyles, the Rules and Makin Groceries. I will save my final review of the book for the last day. But, so far... SOOOOOOO VERY VERY GOOD!

OK, first up, one good and bad thing about this cookbook...

There are no pictures. Now, that could certainly be a bad thing, as I always look to see how the owner of the recipe wants the final product to look. I assume that they work to perfect a recipe, and would always want to show that recipe in their best light. I do wish there were photos.

But, especially for this cake, I am positive that what I made is not what the recipe calls for. I used the ingredients as listed, but I made a few changed in the cake to "fudge" the look. First, the recipe calls for a single square pan. Instead, I made the cake a layer cake, with two round pans. Next, I was making this cake to take to a Superbowl party last night (I forget, anyone know who won?). The cake, as described in the recipe would have marshmallows only on the top, followed by a layer of poured icing. As I imagined what that would look like, I pictured lumpy brown top (like chocolate rocks) to the square cake. Different, but not outstanding. Fine for a family feed, but not something I would want to take to a party.

OK, best thing might be to give you the recipe as written and let me explain the changes I made to the look...

Mise en Place (Assemble the ingredients)

Pecan Cake...
4 Eggs
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter softened
2 Cups
2 tablespoons baking Cocoa
1 1/2 Cups all purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoons
2 cups chopped
Pecans (see notes in the recipe for changes I made)
2 teaspoons
1 - 10 ounce bag miniature marshmallows

Rich Fudge Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
1/4 cup baking Cocoa
1 pound Confectioner's
1/2 Cup evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon

For the cake, combine the eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt and mix well (Lea Ann, that new Kitchenaid works great!).
Stir in the pecans (I only stirred in half the pecans. Also, I only chopped half, saving the rest for garnish on the top as whole pecans).
Pour into greased 10X15 inch cake pan or 9X12 cake pan (I wanted a round layer cake, so instead, I used two round cake pans).
Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Let stand to cool. Spread Marshmallows over the cake (see my notes below for the changes in the look I made).

For the Icing, combine the butter, baking cocoa, confectioner's sugar, evaporated milk and Vanilla in a bowl and mix well (this would make a thin, pourable icing. For my layer cake version, I wanted a thicker icing, so I only used 1/4 cup of the milk).
Pour the icing over the marshmallows, cut into squares (UMMM... I didn't do either of these steps).

OK. The recipe, as listed would be great. Especially if you have kids and was serving this for a dessert for a family dinner. BUT, as I said, I was taking this to a party. I would be judged, and judged harshly by my family and friends. I wanted a more adult cake. Something that had a little extra Panache to the look.

BTW, the rest of the post will mostly talk about the look of the cake. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, the taste was perfect. Rich, thick, gooey, filled with chocolate flavors, and the added textures of the marshmallow and the nuts. YOU WILL LOVE THIS CAKE, as written, or with the changes I made.

All right,

First cosmetic change was to divide the cake batter into two round cake pans. When the cooking time was done, I was a little concerned that the cakes were a little thin. But, I had a plan, and decided to stick with it and see how it all worked out. I took the "thicker than in the recipe" icing, and added a layer of the icing on the top of the bottom layer. I then added a layer of marshmallows on top of that layer. This way, in between the two cake halves, I would have some gooey fudge icing and some marshmallows.


I added the second half on top of the marshmallows. I iced the entire cake with the thicker icing. And I added the marshmallows on the top. Now, again, if I were serving to kids, this looks fine. In fact, kids love mini marshmallows, and this looks terrific as is, and as written. Imagine this with the marshmallows coated in chocolate, and it gets even better!


I wanted to add a little extra pinache. I wanted a more adult looking cake.

now, to be fair to the recipe, I added a step and an ingredient. I took the remaining pecans, and sauteed them in a half a stick of butter. the butter adds a rich taste, and softens the texture of the nuts up just a bit.

Evenly distribute the nuts on the top of the marshmallows. Work quickly to even them out, as the hot nuts will melt the marshmallows.

OK, I am getting 95% of the look I wanted, but it still needed just a bit more. I took the remaining icing and thinned it with some of the remaining evaporated milk (remember, the recipe calls for a half cup of the E-Milk, but I wanted a thicker icing, so I used much less).

I took the now thinner icing, and tried to make it a bit darker for contrasting color. I added some dark red food coloring. Here's the final look, when I drizzled some of that over the top and a little over the side.

This was all on a red plate, I dusted the plate with a little powdered sugar and I had a cake ready to be judged by my neighbors. I must have done something right. 17 people at the party, 4 different dessert options, served buffet style, no pressure to take a piece if it didn't look right - NO CAKE LEFT. And isn't that the best review a recipe could get.

Again, just an incredible tasting cake. I dressed it up a bit, but it was REALLY GOOD.
This recipe alone makes me very optimistic for the rest of the book. Come back tomorrow, and take a look at one of the recipes for an appetizer from the book!


  1. I prefer cookbooks with photos, but a couple of my very best and favorites don't have photos, darnit. Beautiful cake!

  2. OOOOOH diet be damned, that cake looks fabulous.

  3. As a Louisiana gal born and bred, I wondered when I say your picture if this was the same Heavenly Hash cake I grew up with, but "pretty-ing up" aside, I think it's the same one--very similar to one you'll find in many southern church cook-books that may also go by the name "Mississippi Mud" cake. They are wonders to behold, and I can assure that once someone has eaten just one piece of one of these cakes, they'll never care again that they are, in fact, usually served straight from the cake pan.

    Looks like you did a good job with this one!

  4. Will need your mailing address for the mustard..congrats on the win..

  5. Dave! Baking again! Fantastic. I bet that cake was delicious!


  6. Well, as far as I'm concerned I don't think this cake would have tasted any more fantastic if baked in a square pan. I can tell just by looking at your finished version that it had to be really good!! I wish I had a slice right about now! :)

  7. Oh my! I'm not a huge chocolate fan yet my mouth is watering looking at that cake. Very nicely done and yes none left is the best compliment :)

  8. that cake looks absolutely dreamy! You are invited to me next party. But only so long as you bring that.

  9. my tummy is literally aching for that cake, so yummy!

  10. Holy crap. Seriously. Holy crap. That looks sublime.

  11. Ohhh man, that looks spectacular and I bet it tastes even better!

  12. OMG this looks AWESOME! chocolates, marshmallows, nuts..this cake has it all!

  13. You were only off by six! Yeaux Saints! The cake looks delish.

  14. Well, just look at that cake!!! Of course there was none left!

  15. As much as you are enjoying cooking Cajun I am really enjoying reading your recipes and that cake OMG looks so decadent and inviting. Too bad I ate so much yesterday for the Superbowl I have sworn off desserts for awhile!

  16. You are turning into a multifacited cook! This sounds terrific, Dave. THE SAINTS WON!

  17. Dave, you are a natural as a cook. You have actually earned your chefdom, as far as I am concerned.

    I find it interesting how you think your way through a recipe and your daring in changing a brand new recipe (look).

    Let's have a Krazy Kitchen party and you bring the cake.

  18. Thanks for sharing this on my Meatless Mondays. I would take this over meat, any day.

  19. I've made something similar - a Mississippi mud cake - but yours looks way better. It is gorgeous and I just have to give it a try. Great recipe.....I just love how it looks!!!!

  20. First, let me congratulate you on the Saints victory last night. I was cheering for the Saints myself.
    Second, I am drooling! That is a really nice chocolate pecan cake-DELICIOUS!!! Is there any left? Glad you could use some Fresh Georgia pecans for that recipe.

  21. The cake looks delicious!...

    As for cookbooks without pictures... I'm mixed on it... some recipes really don't need a picture... but others do... especially when you need to know what it should look like...

    One of my best and favorite cookbooks doesn't have a picture... not a one.. unless you count the buffet shot on the cover and the author/chef on the back... but I love the recipes...

  22. Dave... you do everything with panache.

  23. I always think it's nicer when my cookbooks have photos. I, too, like to see the finished product.

    Your cake looks amazing and I love the added touch of the pecans!

  24. I'm not a sheet cake person and most often make them into layer cakes; I think it makes for a much better presentation. Dave, this was an excellent interpretation and twist on this recipe. You did splendidly. No chocolate lover could ever resist this beauty.

  25. Omg, I am drooling over this beautiful cake! It is "over the top" and I can't wait to try it! Looks sinfully delicious, cher!

  26. I don't do sweets and I'm allergic to pecans but you did a great job on this one, Davo. It reminds me of a big huge Goo Goo Cluster, remember those? Anyway, great work, dude.

  27. Who was the one who said the 5minute chocolate mug cake was too much trouble??? Huh huh??? I'd like to know? And then you go and make this heck of a cake which floors everyone of us?!

  28. Wait, you like Cajun food? (And along with your feedback that you'd like the book to have photos, I'd also like Cajun to have a U. I'm an editor. I have no sense of humor about such things.)

    But wow, this looks good! I haven't tried Mississippi mud cake. I like the change to the double layers.