Wintermint Cake

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On a super chilly day following new year’s, my older sister and my nephew came over for an afternoon of baking. With Arcade Fire’s latest album playing in the background, we baked this wintermint cake while baby played at the kitchen table. I know it’s already time to go back to school, but I’m still feeling festive. So why not serve a slice of this wintermint cake with a flute of bubbly 😉 Cheers!

The cake is classic chocolate, while the ganache and buttercream are infused with peppermint. For those of you who love the combination of chocolate and mint, you will not be disappointed. This dessert is quite tasty. The ganache is a welcome twist to your regular buttercream filling, but it does get stiff. Next time I’ll add the suggested crème de menthe to intensify the mint flavour. As a finishing touch, I decorated the cake with fresh mint leaves. Another option would be to sprinkle crushed peppermint candies onto the cake.

The boys at Baked tend to make grandiose cakes. Although the height is impressive, three full layers make for a pretty big slice. You could easily end up with two cakes (of more regular stature) by cutting each layer in two, resulting in a total of six layers.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Baked

Yields 12 slices

Ingredients:

•cake
3⁄4 cup dark cocoa powder (I did not have dark, so simply used Dutch processed cocoa powder)
1 1⁄4 cups hot water
2⁄3 cup sour cream
2 2⁄3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup shortening
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

•buttercream
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

•ganache
6 oz dark chocolate (60–72%), chopped coarsely (I used 70%.)
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon crème de menthe (optional) (I did not use it.)
1⁄2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

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Instructions:

•cake
1) Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Mix a bit of flour and cocoa powder together and use it to dust the sides of the pans.
3) Mix cocoa powder, hot water and sour cream together. Set aside to cool.
4) Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
5) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
6) Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.
7) Add the eggs, one at a time.
8) Add the vanilla, beating until combined.
9) Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
10) Divide the batter between 3 pans and spread evenly.
11) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
12) Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
13) Unmold the cakes and let them cool completely on the wire rack.

•buttercream
1) In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.
2) Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
3) Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until cool, about 7 to 9 minutes.
4) Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, mixing until combined.
5) Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
6) Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts, mixing until incorporated.

•ganache
1) Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.
2) In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil.
3) Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes.
4) Stir the chocolate and cream mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
5) Let the ganache come to room temperature.

•assembly
1) Trim each cake layer to create a flat surface.
2) Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter.
3) Use an offset spatula to spread half of the ganache on top.
4) Let it set for 1 minute in the fridge. Repeat these steps for the second layer. If you want, you can add a layer of buttercream over the ganache.
5) Set the third layer on top and spread a crumb coat of buttercream on top and on the sides. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
6) Spread the remaining buttercream over the cake.
7) Refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes to firm up.
8) Garnish the cake with fresh mint leaves or crushed peppermint candies.

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