Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chocolate Mint Cake

This chocolate mint cake, filled with dark chocolate ganache and coated with a light peppermint buttercream is for my dear friend Anne's husband's birthday celebration.

A sprinkling of chocolate and green tinted sanding sugars adds a nice touch.  Another decoration idea would be to add shavings of chocolate mint candy.

To make the cake I used the three remaining cake layers from my latest batch of "The Greatest and Easiest Chocolate." So in the end I got two great cakes with just one batch of batter. This is good to know, especially if you are entertaining and want to offer more than one dessert choice with minimal work.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Mint Cake

"The Greatest and Easiest" Chocolate Cake:
3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
12 ounces butter
3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans.

Place all ingredients in electric mixer bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl once during mixing. Pour into prepared pans. Bake cakes for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

When the cakes are cool, slice each cake into two layers. Three of the layers are needed to assemble the cake so you can wrap and freeze the three remaining layers for later.

Dark Chocolate Ganache: 

6 oz dark chocolate cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream

Put the chocolate pieces into a medium sized bowl.

Heat the heavy cream in a small pan over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.

Remove the cream from the heat and immediately pour it over the chocolate.

Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted and smooth and glossy.

Peppermint Buttercream:
3 large egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
green food coloring (optional)

Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in vanilla, salt, peppermint extract and food coloring if desired. Whip on high speed until fluffy.
To assemble:

Set the first cake layer on a cake round or serving platter.

Top with half of the chocolate ganache and repeat with the second layer. Finally add the third layer and let the cake cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting.

When I frost a cake, I like to start at the top and work my way down over the sides.
Swirls made with the back of a teaspoon add a nice touch.
I decorated the top of the cake using dark cocoa and green sanding sugar.

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