This mint chocolate delight comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito. The recipe uses green-tinted Creme de Menthe liqueur in the buttercream and in the Chocolate Mint Ganache. Between each layer of chocolate cake is a layer of ganache and a layer of buttercream, and buttercream surrounds the entire cake.
I needed a larger cake than the recipe called for, so I made 1 1/2 times the cake batter and baked it in three 10-inch cake pans. I filled each pan about 1/2 full and made the rest of the batter into cupcakes. I like to weigh my cake pans before they go into the oven just to be sure they all have the same amount of batter for nice even layers. The cakes baked up nice and evenly, no trimming required.
I made 1 1/2 recipes of ganache and had plenty of buttercream with just one recipe, and even had some leftover. If you haven't tried a "boiled flour" frosting yet, try it! It's quite interesting! The consistency is almost like a whipped cream frosting, it's so light and airy, but it keeps at room temperature for 3 days which cannot be said for whipped cream. As with most frostings, at first I didn't think it would come together. It was a runny mess! But I did as the recipe suggested and chilled the buttercream in the mixing bowl for about 20 minutes and then continued beating - magically it started to thicken! I always breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when the frosting comes together!
I used the little bit of extra ganache, warmed for 2 seconds in the microwave, over some homemade Mint Bliss ice cream. Oh yeah! I'll post about that next time!
From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito
makes one triple layer 8-inch cake
For the cake:
3/4 Cup Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/4 Cups Hot Water
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
2 2/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/4 cups or 2 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 Tblsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter this too. Dust with flour knocking out any excess. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine the cocoa, hot water and sour cream. Whisk together and set aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
4. Add the butter and shortening to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat on medium until light, fluffy and ribbonlike, around 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for about another 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Give the sides of the bowl a scrape and give one last mix for 30 seconds.
6. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the cocoa mixture, starting and ending with the flour.
7. Divide the batter equally among the three pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 4o minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting out to cool completely.
for the Creme de Menthe Buttercream:
2 1/4 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
4 1/2 Sticks / 510g Unsalted Butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
2 Tbslp Creme de Menthe
2 1/4 Tsp Peppermint Extract
1. Add the sugar and flour to a medium saucepan and whisk together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat whisking occasionally for about 20 minutes until thickened.
2. Transfer the mixture to your mixer and beat, with the paddle, on high speed until cooled to room temperature. Turn the mixer to low and add the butter beat on low until thoroughly incorporated and then turn the mixer to medium high and beat until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until the frosting is light and fluffy. Be patient, this could take several minutes.
3. Add in the flavouring and beat to combine. Put the buttercream aside while you make the ganache.
for the Mint Chocolate Ganache:
6 Ounces / 170g Dark Chocolate (60 to 72% Cacao), coarsely chopped
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tblsp Creme de Menthe
1/2 Tsp Peppermint Extract
1. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Bring the cream just to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes before gently mixing the chocolate and cream together until emulsified. Add the flavorings and stir to combine.
2. Mix for a couple more minutes to help cool then let the ganache sit for about 15 minutes.
Assembling the cake:
1. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cake round. Trim the top if not level. Using a small offset spatula spread about 1/4 cup of ganache on top of the cake layer. Put the cake in the fridge for 1 minute to firm up. Spread about 1 1/4 cups of buttercream on top of the ganache. Top with the second round and repeat. Add the third layer and trim.
2. Crumb coat the cake and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Frost the the side and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as you desire. The cake will keep very well, if covered, for 3 days. If the room is not cool or is humid you can keep covered in the fridge but remove the cake at least 2 hours before serving.