Monday, March 14, 2011

Mint Chocolate Layer Cake


Yesterday D and I had our first barbecue of the season. We invited our friends Jay and Stacey over for some drinks, barbecue, and cake. While it was still a bit cold in the evening, the day was perfect. The sun was out and the temperature was in the 60s. D and I spent some time in the yard enjoying the warm weather. By the time our friends arrived the temperature had dropped and so we had to eat inside, but still had a great time and great food.

Devil's Food Cake 
2 2/3 cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 cups Cocoa Powder
1 1/3 cups Bread Flour
1 1/3 cups Cake Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
8 tablespoons Powdered Buttermilk
6 Eggs
2 cups Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, Melted

Makes 4, six inch layers
Note: For this cake we will only be using 3 of the layers. You could use the remaining batter to make a few cupcakes or a single layer cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 3 six inch cake pans with cooking spray. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs for one minute. Add the vanilla, sour cream and water, mix on low until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth, then  mix in melted butter. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 40- 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes then remove the cakes from the pans and place them directly on the wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for a few hours to make trimming the tops easier.

Adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, 4th Edition

Peppermint Buttercream 
1 cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 drops Green Gel Food Coloring, if Desired
1-2 tablespoons Milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter till fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat on low to incorporate. Add the vanilla, peppermint, milk, and food coloring (if using), increase the speed and beat for a few minutes until frosting is nice and fluffy.

Ganache 
3 ounces Heavy Cream
4 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

Heat the butter and cream over medium heat until cream is hot and butter is melted but mixture is not boiling. Pour butter and cream mixture over chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes then stir till smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Assembly 
Using a serrated knife trim the tops of the cakes to form 3 even layers. Place the first layer on a cake board and frost the top of the cake with about 1/8 inch thick layer of frosting, leaving 1/4 inch around the edge unfrosted. Place the second layer on top of the first and frost as you did the first layer. Top with the final layer and frost the entire cake with a very thin layer of frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Frost the cake with the rest of the frosting and refrigerate again for 30 minutes to allow frosting to set. While cake is in the refrigerator make the ganache. Once frosting has set pour the ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Put cake back in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or until 30 minutes before the cake will be served.

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