You know those times when you wake up and realize that it’s been way long since the last time you made a cake???
No? Okay, so that probably only applies to a few of us, but maybe you can imagine it. Those are very sad moments for me personally because I sort of have a thing for making cakes. I attribute it to my childhood of watching both my mom and, more often, my grandma (“Meme” to us) decorating gorgeous cakes. She did it professionally for years. Have mentioned that before haven’t I?
Yeah, Meme decorated cakes at Disneyland actually and she can still crank out these perfect roses of icing so fast it would blow your mind. Of course, Mom can decorate too, but where she really gets into it is the cake baking part. She used to make the most decadent and rich cakes and that made the two of them the perfect team. I can remember many occasions when they worked together by request on stunning cakes for different occasions like birthdays or friend’s weddings.
This was in my pre-baking-addict lifetime so I proudly held the role of chief frosting taster, it’s a position that I refuse to ever step down from, just sayin’. But now I guess in some ways I’ve taken over the majority of family baking a little bit, fine a lot a bit. Like I said though, it’s been a while since I made a new flavor so I figured it was about time.
So chocolate and peppermint, how do you feel about this match? I feel like it’s one of those flavor combos that you have to either love it or hate it because both are such bold flavors and when put together they form something very unique. I’m on the lover’s team but I understand for those of you who aren’t. One of the main reasons I was so inspired to make a cake from this combo was that Mom found real, honest to goodness, candy canes here, and by “real” I mean peppermint flavored ones.
For anyone who just scoffed at that, you need to understand that for the longest time those have been on my list of items that are next to impossible to find here in Chile. Last Christmas I remember sharing with you about our lack of real candy canes. There are similar candies, yes, and the iconic shape and stripes of those candies promise you the nostalgic taste that we all associate with the holiday season only to disappoint you in a big big way when you find out the are completely the wrong flavor.
For me it doesn’t count as a candy cane any other way except if it’s classic peppermint. Our stores here usually only sell strawberry flavored ones, come on, it’s like blasphemy! Okay, maybe that’s a little much, but I still feel like they should always be minty for the Christmas season. I mean, we can eat fruity candy all Spring and Summer long, right? Clearly I feel stronger about this issue than even I had realized. Alright, I’m ending this little rant I’ve gotten into and focusing back on this exciting cake!
It’s truly a simple cake to make and I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe as the base because, ‘why fix what ain’t broke?’ Then as for the decorating part, I kept it very simple and quick. Honestly, I had wanted to do a way more elaborate decorating job for this, but, you get it, life happens and it’s December people. Sort of ended up finishing it a lot later than I’d planned. Ugh, why did I just go on and on about how I’ve got such talented cake decorators around? Ooops.
Hey, but the taste is what really matters here right? Besides yours can be as lovely as you want to make it and I’m a firm believer in less is more anyway. No one’s going to have the time to care about appearances while devouring this yummy treat anyway.
So, I hope you’re having a great time with your friends and family and that you can squeeze this recipe into your busy season at some point. Maybe right between your hall-decking and tree-trimming. I obviously can’t make guarantees but I’ve got a strong feeling that the peppermint+chocolate lovers in your life are going to love this!
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 150g (about 1 cup) semi-sweet dark chocolate chips, or chunks
- 3 cups flour
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened to room temp
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup broken candy cane or peppermint candy pieces
- 150g (about 1 cup) semi-sweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup broken candy cane or peppermint candy pieces,
- Candy canes as desired for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease 3 8-in cake pans with oil. Pour egg whites into bowl of stand mixer and beat until they form stiff peaks. In separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add all other ingredients, except chocolate chips, and mix until smooth.
- Now gently fold in the stiff egg whites to the batter just until evenly combined then add the chocolate chips and fold in gently. Divide batter into pans as evenly as possible. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are golden brown. Remove cakes from oven and allow them to cool for at least 25 minutes then loosen the edges all the way around with a thin bladed knife and invert a large plate over each of the pans and carefully flip them upside down while holding the plate tightly to the pan.
- Wrap the cakes in plastic and place them in the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes to cool completely before frosting. The more chilled the better.
- Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until creamed. Add vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add milk beat until light and fluffy. Add more milk as needed for frosting consistency. Stir in the peppermint pieces (*see note) until combined.
- Place one layer of the cooled cake on your desired serving tray or board and spread a layer of the icing on top. Add another cake layer and again spread on a generous amount of frosting, then repeat once more and now spread frosting also on the sides of the cake until you have a smooth coat on the whole cake.
- Melt the chocolate with the oil in a double boiler until smooth, then carefully pour it over the cake and spread just to the edges to allow it to drip down the sides a bit. Sprinkle the top with additional candy cane pieces and decorate as desired with candy canes or anything else you'd like..
If you'd prefer your icing to be smooth and creamy, feel free to skip the candy cane pieces and replace them with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract.