Tara O' Brady's Cinnamon Walnut Mud Cake

December 26, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one 10-inch cake
Author Notes

While I first baked this cake for ease (it's essentially four steps), I return to it for its character (and, also, its ease!). Simple steps (and pantry ingredients) produce a cake that's chocolatey but not bitter, moist but with a sandy quality, and with a textural divide that makes it like the pillow-top mattress of desserts, its lighter, impressionable top supported by a firmer, fudgier undergirding.

It might be, oh, 800 years old in internet time (posted on Tara's blog, Seven Spoons, in 2009), requiring no skill greater than cracking an egg, no special equipment, and certainly no butter babysitting, but in my world, it's timeless. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 8 ounces semisweet plus 4 ounces dark)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted and lightly salted while still warm
  • Cocoa powder and whipped cream, to serve
  1. Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and the sides with parchment strips.
  2. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
  4. In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla just until the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should barely lighten in color and there should be a layer of bubbles on the surface but not throughout.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate and stir to combine. Fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in the walnuts.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed and cracked. A cake tester should come out with moist crumbs that are gooey but not liquidy. The cake will continue to cook as it cools and falls.
  8. Remove the cake to a wire rack to come to room temperature. To serve, release the sides of the springform carefully and remove the parchment paper. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • betty888
  • Tara O'Brady
    Tara O'Brady
  • Sharon
  • KLM

8 Reviews

Sharon May 13, 2020
I’m always curious on why everyone just can’t follow a recipe as written. They seem to want to change it if they feel as though there’s too much butter or not enough of something else.
Everything that Tara makes is amazing.

Caroline M. June 26, 2020
Well, as you’re curious, I’ll tell you why I change recipes:
1) sometimes I substitute an ingredient because I haven’t got what’s asked for ie walnuts instead of almonds
2) sometimes it’s because of people’s likes and dislikes or allergies ie gluten
3) often I lower the sugar content, because things are often too sweet for my taste
4) sometimes I just want to have fun and play around - not with a baking recipe, admittedly, but all the time with savoury food
judy July 15, 2020
Caroline, those are all the reason's I would change a recipe as well. I find that most of the time I go looking for a recipe as a jumping of point. Or a new take on what I've always done, for variety. Years ago I would have baked this as written and thoroughly enjoyed. Today, I have since developed an intolerance to brown sugar (molasses) and lost my taste for cinnamon. So I would use white sugar, reduce the amount by at least 1/3 as I do not like my sweets too sweet, and probably use espresso powder, or maybe make it mint, and omit the nuts, or how about some orange zest?! Possibilities are endless,,,,
betty888 January 2, 2017
I made a gluten free version of this for my mom tonight. I just replaced the AP flour with almond flour. Very moist and delicious -- and easy!
KLM January 1, 2017
Two sticks of butter! The cake looked so good but then I saw the recipe. Is there any way to make this without all of the butter?
steph M. December 28, 2016
Soooo, how cinnamonny is this? My hub is not a fan of anything cinnamon, but this looks divine. Can I omit? Sub? Ideas?
Tara O. December 29, 2016
Hello! Sorry for the delay in my reply; you can totally omit the cinnamon. You can add espresso powder if that's a flavour he enjoys, or just leave the addition out entirely.
steph M. December 29, 2016
Espresso powder - of course! And no apologies - you are right on time. Planning on making this tomorrow! Thanks again.