Words and Photos by: Rachel Rex
I love to celebrate birthdays—my own, my friend’s, my family’s, and every birthday in between. It’s hard to buy the perfect gift or express the right words to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them… so I find it easier to make birthday cakes; I think their presentation and taste convey a message in themselves. I’ve been baking cakes from scratch for my family’s birthdays for years. They always impress our guests, and my family looks forward to them every year. I even ask the celebrated family member what his or her favorite cake flavor is so I can personalize my creation. It typically takes some time, but in the end, it’s worth it to show someone how much I love them.
Every year, my dad asks me to make some variation of a mint chocolate cake for his birthday. I pick a different recipe each time, and I usually put my own twist to it. In the end, everyone really loved this cake! It was pretty to look at and delicious to eat—sweet, moist, and just minty enough to be interesting without being overpowering.
Below is my version of a mint chocolate chip cake, adapted from the food blog, The Crafting Foodie.
For the Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee, warm
¼ cup plus 2 tbs buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
5-7 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract (or crème de menthe, to taste)
2 tsp milk (optional)
2 or 3 drops of gel food color in green
3 ounces chocolate, chopped
For the Ganache:
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup
5½ ounces chocolate chips
½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
½ tsp peppermint extract (crème de menthe)
For the Chocolate Cake:
1. Grease and line the bottoms of 3, 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, add the sugar.
5. Slowly add the oil in, whisking as you add it.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.
7. Add the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and warm coffee. Mix until combined.
8. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
9. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.
10. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
11. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 15 minutes.
For the Frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
2. Add the confectioners' sugar, and beat on low until just combined. Increase the speed to medium high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla, peppermint (or crème de menthe) and mix until combined. If the frosting is too thick, add a few tablespoons milk.
4. Add food coloring and mix until light and fluffy.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate.
For the Dark Chocolate Mint Ganache:
1. Place the cream and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Heat over medium low until the cream simmers.
2. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate chips.
3. Cover with a lid for about 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Mix until a smooth, glossy mixture forms.
5. Add the butter and peppermint (or crème de menthe). Mix until just combined.
6. Set the ganache aside to cool while assembling the cake.
To Assemble the Cake:
1. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand. Fill with a scant ¼ cup of mint frosting.
2. Place another cake layer on top, and fill with a scant ¼ cup of mint frosting. I also poured some of the ganache on top of the frosting at this layer.
3. Place the last layer on top. Spread the frosting over the sides and top of the cake
4. Pour the warm ganache over the top of the cake, and allow it run down the sides of the cake.