I’m beyond excited about today’s edition of 12 Tastes of Christmas, since it comes from one of the most inspirational cake & confection designers out there, Rosie of Sweetapolita fame. Not only is this lady unbelievably talented (um, have you seen the cake at the top of this page?) she also happens to be gorgeous and sweet, to boot. It’s been so fun getting to know her a bit while putting together this series, and hopefully it’s just one of many future collaborations. If you haven’t already, be sure to hop on over to Sweetapolita for loads of confectionary inspo…just get your Pinterest ready, ’cause it will be out of control. Take it away, Rosie!
Isn’t it funny how the moment the holiday season arrives, we seem to yearn for minty confections? And chocolate? And sparkles? Well, actually, that may be an all-year-long thing, but it’s definitely a much-welcomed winter treat, and I love bringing these flavours together with some contrast: dark fudgy chocolate layer cake filled with fluffy pastel mint frosting, fine-crushed peppermint candy (or as I like to call it, Peppermint Pixie Dust), and a generous coating of sanding sugar. In other words, winter in a cake.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably got a flurry of baking (and other things) on the go at this time of year, so you might agree that
fancy-but-fuss-free is a great approach to holiday dessert. Sure, we could stick with just fuss-free, but who doesn’t want to infuse a
little fanciness into their holiday? With a simple (but delicious) one-bowl chocolate cake and a whipped version of a classic bakery
frosting, I find this cake to be just the answer. The cake’s unique dome shape paired with the sparkly sprinkling of white sanding sugar gives it a pretty finish that is actually pretty quick and easy to do. A contour cake pan is the easy trick to this sort of retro shape, and a simple “tossing” of coarse sugar onto the frosted cake adds a snowy twinkle (and a delightful sugar crunch!).
This old-fashioned chocolate cake is dark and decadent (a good quality dark cocoa powder is key), and the whipped minted frosting is light with a supreme fluffiness (a simple extended whipping of the butter is to thank for this texture)–all with a subtle peppermint candy crunch hidden on top of each filling layer. From what I can tell, this combination never disappoints.
You can also add some glittery holly and ivy decorations for some fun and wintery vintage flair (you can even buy a faux-floral decoration or use your imagination–I think even a quirky ornament would be a cute topper!). I made mine by tinting a small bit of fondant raspberry pink and rolling 3 small “holly berries,” and then some green to cut 3 ivy leaves. I let dry and then dusted with edible glitter. I bet any sparkly little cake topper would add a unique touch, sugar or otherwise. I also loved the look of the sugary mint green cake sans adornment, so you truly can’t go wrong.
Winter Delight Peppermint Cake
Yield: One 8″ domed 3-layer cake, Serves 10
Dark Chocolate Layer Cake
- 3 cups (360 g/12 oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 3/4 cups (550 grams/ 1 lb + 2 oz) white sugar
- 1 cup (120 g/4 oz) dark unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Cacao Barry
- Extra Dark
- 2.5 teaspoons (12.75 mL/12 g) baking soda
- 2 teaspoon (10 mL/10 g) baking powder
- 2 teaspoon (10 mL/10 g) salt
- 2/3 cup (150 mL/5 liquid oz) vegetable oil
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (280 mL/10 liquid oz) buttermilk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (280 mL/10 liquid oz) hot brewed coffee or espresso
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare one round 8″ cake pan with butter, a parchment paper round and cocoa powder. Tap out excess. Prepare an 8″ contour pan with a generous greasing of butter and cocoa powder (or flour), and tap out excess.
- In bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift and add all dry ingredients, then add remaining ingredients to the dry, except coffee, to bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed and gradually add the hot coffee (about 30 seconds).
- Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans–fill the cake pans 2/3 full. Batter will be liquidy.
- Bake both cake layers on middle rack of oven side-by-side, but about 2″ from each other. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes
- almost clean–approximately 30 minutes (this is approximate and can vary) for the standard cake pan layer and about 40 minutes for the
- contour pan. Avoid opening oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking, and try not to over-bake.
- Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
Whipped Peppermint Frosting
- 4.5 sticks (563 grams/1 lb + 3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut
- into cubes
- 4.5 cups sifted (720 grams/1 lb + 9.5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar (icing,
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon (3.75 mL) peppermint extract
- pinch of salt
- Few drops of green food colour + a few drops of pink (or a drop of red)
- food colour
- Crushed peppermint candy, for sprinkling over each layer of filling
- White sanding sugar for outside of cake (optional)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid).
- Butter will become very pale & creamy.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and
- If desired, tint ~2 cups of frosting pink (for filling) and remaining frosting mint green (for outside of cake).
- Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency–once it’s on the cake, it’s just fine for several days).
- For a thicker frosting, you can add and whip in small amounts of icing sugar; for thinner frosting, you can add a touch more milk until it
- reaches desired consistency.
Assembly of the Winter Delight
- Spread a small dollop of pink frosting onto desired cake plate or cake board (this keeps cake from shifting) and place your 8″ cake
- layer (standard round), top-side facing up and trim top until flat, if necessary, using a long sharp serrated knife.
- Take your 8″ contour cake, with bottom up, and trim any doming (from the the flat side), and then make 1 horizontal slice in the middle,
- resulting in 2 layers. You should now have 1 standard 8″ layer and 2 layers from the contour pan, totalling 3 cake layers.
- Place 1 cup of peppermint frosting on top of your first layer and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.
- Sprinkle a generous layer of the crushed peppermint candy on top of the frosting (I like it really fine, like peppermint a “pixie dust” of sorts,
- but slightly bigger pieces would be great too, giving more crunch), leaving about a 1″ edge unsprinkled.
- Gently place the next cake layer on top, with the more narrow end (contour side) up, then repeat step 3-4.
- Gently place the final cake layer, smooth domed side up, on top.
- Put a very generous scoop of mint green frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. You will want to start with very generous additions of frosting, as much of it will be scraped off with your palette knife when smoothing. To keep the distinct rounded top, be sure to smooth over the domed top as much as possible. Chill until set — about 30 minutes in refrigerator or 15 minutes in freezer.
- Remove from refrigerator/freezer and repeat step 7, using up the remaining mint green frosting, but this time you won’t chill the cake.
- Once your cake is frosted, you can place it (cake stand and all) over a cookie sheet and generously sprinkle with sanding sugar for an icy effect (you will actually need to “toss” sugar at the sides, but your cookie sheet will catch excess, allowing you to return remaining sugar to container when finished). Add wintery topper decoration, if desired.
- Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerator for 5 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
* Contour cake pans are available in many sizes at baking supply shops.
**You can also bake the cake layers in 3 standard 8″ pans, if you don’t
have a contour pan or if you prefer a more classic cake shape.
*** The chocolate cake batter also makes delicious cupcakes. For a Winter
Delight Peppermint Cupcakes, you can add a generous swirl of minty
frosting and sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy.