Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

The calendar may say it’s the First Day of Spring tomorrow, and we’ve had a few lovely days this month, but the reality is that we’re still running a space heater at work next to our cubicles and we may still have another snowstorm or two before winter is officially over.  And the forecast is calling for more snow this weekend...

But when spring is officially here to stay, I’ll need to restock my supply of tanning lotion, since my legs have been hiding under leggings and boots for the last five months, and I don’t want to blind anyone with their shocking paleness.

This cake, though, welcomes spring with open arms.  Mint green and chocolate polka dots - what's not to love?  I adore wearing polka dots, so I loved the idea of dressing a cake in them, too.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

I haven’t baked a layer cake in a few months, so on Sunday, I baked three layers of my favorite, dark chocolate, from-scratch cake and frosted them with cool and creamy, minty buttercream that I made with fresh mint steeped in hot milk.

Since most people would mix the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate right into the frosting, I thought a playful way to incorporate the chocolate chips would be with rows of chocolate chip polka dots on the outside of the cake (there are also some chocolate chips baked into the cake, as well).  And a few Andes Mints complemented the theme of the cake.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

I took the cake to work on Monday and it seemed to be the perfect antidote to anyone's lingering St Patrick’s Day hangovers.  My coworkers must have liked it, because it was more than half gone before lunchtime!

My next layer cake will be for Easter, and I’m so excited – any excuse to make cake…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake:
·         2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
·         ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
·         1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
·         1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         3 eggs, room temperature
·         1 cup milk, room temperature
·         ½ cup vegetable oil
·         1 tablespoon vanilla
·         1 cup boiling water
·         2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mint Buttercream:
·         Handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
·         ½ cup milk
·         2 ½ cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         5 cups powdered sugar
·         3 tablespoons meringue powder
·         1 teaspoon clear vanilla
·         green food coloring (I used Americolor – Electric Green)
·         mint extract, if needed

·         Semi-sweet chocolate chips
·         Andes Mints

Bake the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying the bottoms only with non-stick spray.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, then spray the paper with the non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine then beat for three minutes on medium speed.  Scrape the bowl down and gently stir in the boiling water - the batter will be very thin.

Divide batter between the cake pans.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the batter (the batter is so thin that if you mix them into the batter, they’ll just sink to the bottom of the mixing bowl and not get divided evenly between the pans).

 Bake for 25-28 minutes until the center of each cake springs back when gently touched and a toothpick comes out clean.  Set the pans on wire racks and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel.  Cool completely in the pans.

Make the Buttercream:
Place the mint leaves in a small saucepan and pour in the milk.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour.  Strain the milk and discard the mint leaves.  Set milk in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute to loosen it up.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder.  Gradually add the sugar to the butter, mixing on low to combine.  Add the vanilla, the mint-infused milk and the green food coloring.  Increase speed to medium high and whip for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.  If needed, add more milk to reach the desired consistency for spreading and/or piping, and add a few drops of mint extract if the mint flavor is too subtle.

Frost and Decorate the Cake:
When the cakes are completely cool, turn out of the pans and peel off the parchment paper.  Frost each cake layer then cover with a thin crumb coat of buttercream before frosting with the final layer of buttercream.

Decorate the cake by piping swirls of buttercream around the cake and garnishing with chocolate chips and Andes Mints.

Recipe and Design from Curly Girl Kitchen

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