Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mint Chocolate Birthday Cake

After tasting the scraps of a mint chocolate pound cake that I made and gave away, Bill can't stop talking about it. So when planning his birthday cake, I immediately started looking for a mint chocolate recipe that would go well with frosting. Of course, Martha Stewart has a recipe for everything.

This cake recipe is accompanied by a Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe. This is not the first time I had attempted a frosting with heated meringue, but I had failed many times before. So this time, I studied up on it. This post changed my world. 

I wanted to add sea creatures around the cake, so I looked up how to make fondant. This marshmallow fondant didn't seem too hard. There's even a video that shows how to color fondant.

Here's a the adapted recipe from Martha, to make two 8 inch wide chocolate cake layers and one 6 inch wide mint cake layer:

Layered Mint Chocolate Birthday Cake
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot tap water
3/4 cup sour cream, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks), softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pans by buttering the pans and line with parchment paper. Whisk cocoa powder and hot tap water in a small bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup sour cream.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well.

In a stand-mixer cream butter with sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches. Take out 1/3 of the batter and keep it a large bowl. Mix in the chocolate mixture on low speed with the rest of the batter until just combined. Divide into two 8-in cake pans.

Add the rest of the sour cream in the bowl containing the batter left on the side. Add 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. Mix on low speed, add green food coloring one drop at a time until the desired color is achieved. Pour batter into a 6-in cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes in the middle layer, rotate pans every 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into layers and icing.

After the cake is built and iced, when you cut into it, it looks like this.

Makes good large slices and small slices.

The frosting gave me quite a scare at first. I thought I was going to have to throw away another batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It was liquid-y, even after I added all the butter, but I turned the mixer up with the paddle attachment and after five minutes, it all came together, just like Sweetapolita promised.

The marshmallow fondant was a lot of fun, and a lot easier to make and work with than I expected. You can make a few primary colors and knead the different colors together to create new colors, just like play-doh! They hold up well if you want to do any modeling and they taste just like marshmallows!

This cake can be kept at room temperature as long as you use parchment paper to cover the parts not covered by frosting, then cover the cake with a cake cover or plastic wrap. I'm so happy this cake came together, and I can't wait to make another birthday cake!

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