Mint Chocolate Cake

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This cake was the culmination of a number of things. I had a little bit of time to kill in the morning. I hadn’t eaten dessert all weekend. I had all of the ingredients present to bake the cake without going to the grocery store. I wanted to surprise my wife (who loves mint chocolate chip ice cream). I had never used my 6″ cake pans to scale down a larger cake recipe. I wanted to try a new frosting recipe.

So, mint chocolate cake happened.

I really think this was one of the best chocolate cakes, if not the best, chocolate cake that I have baked. It was moist and chocolate-y with a nice light crumb, pretty much everything that you would want from a chocolate cake. I added dark brown sugar for extra taste and moisture. Next time, I will consider using hot coffee instead of water to bring even more chocolate flavor to the table.

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I liked the mint frosting, which with only 2-3 teaspoons of peppermint extract, was not as minty as I wanted but “perfect” according to my wife. It is very light and not so sweet, almost like a cool whip topping, which was kind of refreshing when flavored with peppermint. My wife commented that it was very similar to the lighter frosting that you might find on a grocery store cake.  I don’t think it deserves the “best ever” moniker and is not worth the amount of time required, though. Admittedly, it could very well have a place on a super-sweet, dense, and/or fruity cake. I think it could make for a nice frosting for a strawberries ‘n cream cake or a brownie cake, which are now two more ideas to try…

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MINT CHOCOLATE CAKE
Based on recipes found here and here.

INGREDIENTS

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake:
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cups (150 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) dark brown sugar
3/8 cup (33 g) dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature

Mint Frosting:
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp. (16 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2-3 tsp. peppermint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 1 tbsp. pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 6″ cake pans. Line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the oil and sour cream, and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Gradually beat in the water.
  5. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the egg until well mixed.
  7. Pour batter into cake pans (~440 g per cake). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for 20-30 minutes, then flip onto wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  9. Whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth, then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan.
  10. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to boil and is thick enough that it is difficult to whisk (~5-10 minutes). It will be gelatinous.
  11. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and cool completely to room temperature. If storing in refrigerator, bring the mixture back to room temperature before proceeding.
  12. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low speed with peppermint extract and food coloring until mixed.
  13. Add the butter one piece at a time until incorporated.
  14. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy.
  15. Frost cakes as desired.
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