Now, on to my latest obsession.... layer cakes. Well, I'm not sure three in two weeks makes an obsession, but it sure feels like it!
For the Classic Chocolate Cake
- ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ cup hot water
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 2 ⅔ cups flour
- 2 teas baking powder
- 1 teas baking soda
- ½ teas salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
For the Creme de Menthe Buttercream
- 2 ¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 2 ¼ cups milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ½ sticks unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbs creme de menthe
- 2 ½ teas peppermint extract
For the Mint Chocolate Ganache
- 6 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbs creme de menthe
- ½ teas peppermint extract
Make the Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out any excess.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, sour cream and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and vegetable shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy again, another 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds longer. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Add the flour mixture alternating with the cocoa mixture to the butter sugar mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth tops (I do this by wiggling the pan back and forth gently). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cake pans onto the rack, remove the pans and parchment, and let cool for completely before assembling the cake.
For the Creme De Menthe Buttercream
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes (whisk more towards the last few minutes to prevent any burning).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high until cool (you may want to cover your mixer with a kitchen towel before turning it on, in case of splatters). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the frosting is too soft, place it in the fridge to shill slightly. If it is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and mix.
Leave the buttercream at room temperature while you make the ganache.
Make the Mint Chocolate Ganache
Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for 2 minutes, then, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out, slowly stir the chocolate and cream mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract and stir until combined. Whisk for another few minutes to cool the ganache slightly, then let the ganache come to room temperature, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Assemble the Cake!
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface. Use an offset spatula to spread about ¼ cup of the ganache on the top of the layer. Place the cake in the fridge to set for about 1 minute. Remove from fridge and spread about 1 ¼ cups buttercream on top of the ganache, Top with the next layer, trim and frost with ganache and buttercream using same steps as before. Add the third layer and trim. Crumb coat the cake and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Frost the side and top with remaining buttercream. Garnish cake with Thin Mint cookies if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up the finished cake.
The cake will keep in a cake saver at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake server and in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove cake from fridge and let sit at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.
Check out these other St. Patty's inspired posts... ok, not really, but some are green and some have alcohol - #winning.
On a completely unrelated note, the cost of first class stamps is now $0.41 cents. The look on your cats face when she somehow magically gets them stuck to her - Priceless.