Chocolate Peppermint Cake

 I made this cake for a holiday work party because who better to test new recipes on than coworkers right? Don't worry, none of my guinea pigs coworkers were harmed during the experiment!
If you want an impressive chocolate cake for the holidays or just for your self this one got rave reviews and requests for the recipe. Decorating this 3 layer beauty couldn't be easier. Just cover with a chocolate ganache and sprinkle chopped peppermint candy for a festive presentation.  I highly recommend it and will definitely make it again.

I found the recipe as the cover model for Ladies Home Journal December 2006. Here is a link to the recipe with a stunning photo of the cake. See why I could not get this cake out of my mind 3 years later! As is my style I did not stick to the recipe. I used my favorite one bowl chocolate cake recipe from Sky High (a book I HIGHLY recommend!) and made small changes (added more mint flavor) to the filling and frosting.

For the cake
Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake from
Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

Peppermint cream cheese filling
adapted from LHG 

2  ounces (12 to 13) whole round hard peppermint candies, plus 1/2 cup chopped for garnish 
1  cup confectioners' sugar 
1  container (12 oz.) whipped cream cheese (2 cups), at room temperature - I used regular cream cheese
4  tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
1  teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

To make the filling: place whole peppermint candies and confectioners' sugar in a food processor; pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cream cheese, butter, and extract. 

Mint Chocolate Ganache
adapted from LHG 
1-1/4  cups heavy cream 
3  bars (4 oz. each) or 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
2  tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Another option you can use with great results is to use a dark mint chocolate bar of good quality.

To make the glaze:  bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat; add chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth, about 5 minutes, and transfer to a bowl. Let cool 15 minutes.

 Cake assembly
  To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the mint cream cheese filling evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top

 To decorate with the Chocolate Ganache Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped starlight mints or candy canes - peppermint flavor.

If you do decide to make this I would love to hear from you. I chose the cake recipe from sky high for it's simplicity and super moist crumb.


Jane said...

This cake looks just heavenly. The book, Sky High, is one of my very favorites. I've had great luck with its recipes. I love your blog! So glad to have discovered it.

Chele said...

Oh boy! This is my ticket to heaven I'm sure. Wonderful photos too, I can almost taste the cake!