Chocolate Peppermint Cake

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This is the only chocolatey minty cake you need this Christmas! Chocolate and Peppermint Cake, Peppermint Buttercream, decorated with milk chocolate, green and white buttercream, candy canes and of course SPRINKLES!

This Christmas I really wanted to make a festivy cake but I don’t like traditional Christmas Cake so I decided to make something that I would serve for dessert on Christmas Day. I love the combination of chocolate and mint together. I used cocoa powder in the chocolate cake (as I really, really dislike dark chocolate) but if you prefer you can melt dark chocolate instead a bit like an after Eight they have a minty centre and a dark chocolate coating it is totally up to you.

The biggest worry I had for this cake was that it would taste like toothpaste but I am pleased to say that it definitely does not taste like toothpaste! I used Dr Oetker American Peppermint Flavouring, I only used a tiny amount thought because of my fears and it does smell really strong. If you are making this recipe you can add more or less of the flavouring depending on how minty you would like it. I added the flavouring to the chocolate cake as well as the buttercream but again you can add it only to the buttercream or only to the cake depending on what you would prefer.

The chocolate cake is the same recipe I used for my Malteser Truffle Cake, (quickly becoming one of my most popular recipes) and the chocolate part of my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. It is equal part flour, sugar, butter and eggs. To make is chocolatey just reduce the amount of flour and make it up with more cocoa powder. This recipe makes a three-layered cake. You can increase the ingredients by 50g to make a four-layered cake or decrease them by the same amount to make a two-layered cake.

This is the covered cake that I have been happy with. It takes a lot of practice to get it right but I think I am finally beginning to master it! (hurrah!) I find the easiest way to do it is to smother each layer of cake with buttercream so that it smooshes out the side, then begin by smoothing that into the cake. Next, pipe the remaining buttercream around the sides of the cakes and using a cake smoother go round the cake and scrape of all the excess buttercream. Before leaving it to set, at this point it doesn’t matter if it is a bit patchy because once that layer has dried you will pipe more buttercream on top just like before and again using a cake smoother take all the excess off before using the cake smoother to smooth the buttercream on the cake, filling in any gaps with buttercream and smoothing them out.

To create the drip on top melt milk chocolate with double cream (again you can use dark chocolate if you would prefer) this makes a ganache and the chocolate is so smooth and shiny. I find it easiest to pipe the chocolate along the edge of the cake to encourage it to drip and then piping the rest of the chocolate on top of the cake and smoothing it around. The good/bad thing about the ganache is it does dry relatively quickly. Good because it means the chocolate doesn’t get a chance to drip or run all down the way down the cake and cause a bit of a mess, but bad because it means you need to work quickly.

Once the chocolate has set on top I piped buttercream swirls onto the top of the cake. To get the striped buttercream, before I put the buttercream in the piping bag I just painted four green stripes down the side of the piping bag. Put the buttercream in the bag and piped. Depending on how you are wanting It to look it may be easier to pipe some of the buttercream into a bowl until the green stripes begin to show. I decorated this cake with traditional candy canes, because of course it is Christmas, and as many Christmas Sprinkles as I could find. The sprinkles I used were part of a set of four by Cake Angels which you can find here. I felt the green, red and white ones were the best because they matched the colours of the cake and look so bright and pretty against the chocolate drip.

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This cake will serve 10-15.

Shopping List

For the Cake

350g Caster Sugar

350g Unsalted Butter/Stork

300g Self-Raising Flour

50g Cocoa Powder

6 Large Eggs

2tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Peppermint Extract

For the Buttercream

1kg Icing Sugar

500g Unsalted Butter

1tsp Peppermint Extract

For the Chocolate Drip

200g Milk Chocolate

100g Double Cream

For the Decoration

Green Food Colouring

Candy Canes

Sprinkles 

Method

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4) line three 8″ cake tins with baking parchment and leave to the side.
  2. In a bowl mix together the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the self-raising flour, cocoa powder, eggs and baking powder and mix again until they are all combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your cake tins. There should be approximately 400-450g in each tin.
  4. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The cakes should spring back when touched or when a skewer is inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool.

For the Buttercream

  1. While your cakes are cooling make your buttercream. In a bowl mix together the icing sugar, peppermint extract and butter in a bowl until it is pale and smooth, there should be no lumps.
  2. Move 150g of the buttercream into a separate bowl and leave to one side.
  3. Once your cakes have cooled, place a cake on a plate, spoon some of the buttercream (not the 150g you have just moved) onto the cake and smooth with a knife. Place the second cake on top and smooth the icing on top before placing the third cake on top.
  4. Spread a layer of the buttercream around the edges and on top of the cake to create a ‘crumb coat’ don’t worry if you can still see the cake through the buttercream the crumb coat shouldn’t be too thick. Put the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes for the buttercream to chill.
  5. Once the buttercream has chilled spread a thicker layer of the buttercream around the edges and on top of the cake. Scrape it around until it is smooth. I use a large scraper to do this. Leave to chill for another 10-15 minutes.

For the Ganache

  1. In a pan, heat up your 100ml of double cream until just steaming, you don’t want it to be boiling or burning, add in the milk chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted completely.
  2. Put the melted chocolate into a piping bag and pipe onto the edge of your cake, encouraging it to drip over the edge.
  3. Once you have dripped the melted chocolate around the edge pipe the rest of the chocolate on top of your cake and smooth, so the top of your cake is completely covered in melted chocolate.
  4. Leave the chocolate to set, you don’t want it to be completely set or your decorations won’t stick but you don’t want it to be runny or the sweets will run off the side.

Decorate

  1. In a piping bag paint four strips with green food colouring around the side of the bag. Spoon the 150g of buttercream from earlier into the piping bag and pipe on top of the melted chocolate. (I use Wilton 2D Piping Tip)
  2. Finally, decorate the candy canes and sprinkles.

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Sarah x

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