A Craveable Flavor Combo in Cake Form: Mint Chocolate Layer Cake
One of my favorite things about December is embracing all things mint. We add that glorious flavoring to hot cocoa, brownies, cookies and most definitely cake.
This cake in particular features four moist layers of dark chocolate cake and a delicate minty buttercream slathered between the layers. The cake is covered in chocolate buttercream and topped off with a mint-green chocolate curl for both decoration and an extra boost of mint flavor. Check out the decadent recipe below.
Mint Chocolate Layer Cake
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
4 tablespoons milk
2 cups light green candy melts (or 1 cup green + 1 cup white)
1 tablespoon shortening
Scant 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
For the Chocolate Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
When cakes are completely cool, level each layer of chocolate cake and then cut each layer in half. You should now have four layers of cake. Chill until ready to assemble.
For the Chocolate Frosting
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended.
*Don’t whip! Set aside until ready to assemble cake.
For the Mint Buttercream
In the bowl of stand mixer, cream sugar with 1/2 cup butter.
Blend peppermint extract, 2 tablespoons milk, and salt. Gradually stir remaining milk into frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached.
For the Mint Curls
Melt the candy melts and the shortening in a large microwave-safe bowl for 1-minute increments, then in 15-second increments, stirring after each heating.
When candy is melted, add peppermint oil and stir until incorporated.
Take out a large, flat and clean cookie sheet and flip it over. We will use the back.
Pour half of the melted mixture over the cookie sheet and spread out with an offset spatula. This is important, as you want the layer to be as even and level as possible. Thin is good, but not translucent.
Place it into the fridge to set for 1 to 2 minutes. You can also leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes.
The mixture needs to be at the perfect temperature for curls to form. If it’s too cold, they will just break. If it’s too warm, they will just be blobs. Press your finger into the mixture. If it leaves a mark, the mixture is too soft.
Using a flathead screwdriver (clean!), press the screwdriver into the mixture at a 45-degree angle and then move forward slowly. Curls should form. Immediately place curls on a cooled plate or in the refrigerator so that they hold their shape. Chill until ready to assemble cake.
When ready to assemble cake
Place first layer of chocolate cake on cake stand or cake plate. Spread 1/3 of mint buttercream over cake. Repeat this with remaining chocolate cake and mint buttercream.
Cover cake with chocolate buttercream. Try to smooth out surface and sides of cake as much as possible. Place remaining chocolate buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large, open round tip (such as a 2A tip).
Pipe out dollops of frosting around the top of the cake. Sprinkle mint curls over top. Chill cake until ready to serve.
Amanda is a wife, a mom, a baker and the creative force behind iambaker.net. She lives in the land of 10,000 lakes with her husband, 5 kids, 1 dog and 97 chickens. Catch her baking creations and lifelong love of sarcasm on Instagram @iambaker.