Friday, December 4, 2015

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

It's been a crazy week since Thanksgiving, filling cake orders and planning a huge Christmas dinner for the women at my church, so I apologize for not having a new recipe up until now! However, I think you'll agree that it was worth the wait for this one. And when you make this cake, I insist that you run to the store and get that pink peppermint ice cream to serve with it because the two were made for each other!



Using my favorite chocolate cake recipe, I made a few small tweaks and added peppermint extract. Nothing too complicated there. Same goes for the frosting, it's my go-to whipped vanilla frosting with peppermint extract. And then I added some crushed peppermint bark in between the layers and gave the top a generous slather of chocolate ganache. You could also crush candy canes or any other kind of peppermint candy to layer in this cake and use for garnish.




Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Cake 

Yields: One 6-layer, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Peppermint Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand - can even use Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

For the Peppermint Frosting
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
3 teaspoons peppermint extract
Pinch of salt
Red or pink food coloring

For the Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

For the Chocolate Peppermint Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8” round cake pans (butter or spray, line bottom with parchment paper, butter or spray paper and dust with flour).
2. In a bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla and peppermint in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed).
5. Bake for 25-27 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
6. When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I’ll just put it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.

For the Peppermint Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about two minutes.
2. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until combined.
3. Add the whipping cream, salt and peppermint extract and beat on medium-high for about 3-5 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
4. Add the food coloring and mix for another minute.
5. If your frosting has air pockets, take a spatula and fold the frosting until it's smooth.

For the Chocolate Ganache
1. Combine the chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for one minute and then stir the chocolate and cream until it becomes a smooth, silky ganache. Mixture will be thick. Let it cool to room temperature before spreading it on the cake.

Assembly
1. After leveling each cake layer, set the first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake plate or board. Spread about 2/3 cup of the frosting evenly over the cake. Sprinkle crushed candy canes or peppermint bark on top and pat down with your hand. 
2. Repeat step one for the second cake layer.
3. Place the third cake layer, bottom-side up, on top of the second layer of frosting. Give the cake an even crumb coat, filling in an areas that seem uneven with frosting. Let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. When the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the peppermint frosting. Let it chill again before spread the ganache on top. Garnish with candy canes or peppermint bark.

Helpful tip for spreading the ganache: pour 2/3 of the ganache on top of the cake in the middle. Using an offset spatula, start pushing the ganache to the edges of the cake in a circular motion. I like to use a turntable while doing this. I think it helps to push the ganache around evenly. You can spread the ganache as far over the edge as you like.


1 comment:

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