Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thee Holiday Cake

Okay folks, I mentioned in my last post that I was going to be adding a wonderful cake recipe. I recently made this cake for my cooking group. I thought the cake looked good- it fit the bill for a unique and impressive holiday cake. I read the reviews on and began to have my doubts. A lot of bakers said the cake was fussy, and it is. Some said the actual cake recipe was only so-so, so I it. After a slight bit of cake terror, this thing came together to be the best cake I have tasted in quite some time. What was so challenging about it you wonder? Well, there are several components to this cake. None of them are very hard though, mind you. You can do it!

I ran into a couple problems because in the heat of a perfectionist moment I took a layer off to adjust something and then put the cake layer back, I don't think it was ever the same after that. While moving it from the stack, it lost some it's integral structure and wasn't so sturdy when it came to time to assemble the other layers. There is a lot of whipped cream between layers and it just gave out on me. The second layer up split and all kinds of problems started to occur. In a panic and resourceful mode, I decided to girdle up this beast of a woman cake and wrapped her oh-so-tightly in loads of plastic wrap. I basically made her suck it in and then held her there. I also added a layer of foil to the outside and then I stuck HER outside in the cold! To my shock and happiness, the next morning when I unwrapped her the cake she completely intact. Okay, enough referring to this cake as a 'her'. The cake held it's shape and was totally workable! I've never had a scare like that when baking a cake!

Now, that I've totally taken away any excitement and possibility of you actually making this cake I have tell you that it's not that bad and that it's totally worth it! This cake is DELICIOUS! This cake is like the perfect chocolate cake with peppermint ice cream, it's like a peppermint patty, or chocolate bark. It's that good. And really, it's like all of those things combined. You see, this cake's got it going on. Let's walk together arm in arm as I describe this cake to you. Fudgy chocolate layers of Devil's food cake, in total, four of them. Blanketing each layer of cake is a thin layer of Dark Chocolate Ganache. The layers are chilled and then pillowed cozily with two whole cups of Peppermint-laced White Chocolate Creme. The monstrous and very gorgeous cake is then wrapped with a shiny and silky Marshmallow-esque Peppermint frosting. It is to die for.

During the course of this cake making experience, I tried a new chocolate cake recipe. The original recipe was titled, The Only Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Need. I think it lives up to it's name. It's dense, fudgy, chocolaty, and most importantly super-duper moist! I used if for this recipe and I think it seems like a better choice than what Bon Appetit originally put in the recipe. If you want the original recipe you can look it up on One last note, if you make this cake, I would chill the whole thing, without frosting, overnight. I would ice it the next day right before you are to serve it. You could also chill it for an hour or two afterwards, though gravity moves the icing around a bit. Also, I wonder if adding some meringue powder to the icing during mixing would help it stay in place better? Let me know if you try it. With ALL of that said, here is the recipe for this mouth-watering cake. I know you will love it, I know all of the people you know will love it! And just as any woman out there, she gets better with age! Day two, three, and four are where it's at... Happy Baking!

Devil's Food Layer Cake with Peppermint Frosting
adapted from Bon Appetit
by Claudia Fleming
December 2008
This showstopping cake is layered with dark chocolate ganache and white chocolate cream, then topped with marshmallowy peppermint frosting. To give the final product pastry-shop flair, set a pile of chocolate curls in the center. Or lean chocolate shards against each other, teepee style. (I also crushed candy canes and added to the top, they made it even prettier and tasted so good!)
10 to 12 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1.5 cup hot coffee
1.5 cup milk
3 large eggs
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 335-345 degrees.

Prepare your pans:
Use Two 9-inch round pans. Prepare pans by buttering, fitting parchment into the bottoms, and flouring.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
Add oil, butter, coffee and milk and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat 2 more minutes. Expect batter to be thin.
Pour into pan/pans.
Bake 35-42 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then carefully remove from pans on a rack.
Slowly peel off parchment paper and cool completely.
Store this cake in the refrigerator and enjoy it cold. It can also be eaten at room temperature.

1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
14 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Before using, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread, about 30 minutes.


12 oz high-quality white chocolate chips
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
2-2.5 teaspoons pure peppermint extract (I only found imitation... tasted great anyway)

Place white chocolate in large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in saucepan. Pour hot cream over white chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Whisk in extract. Cover; chill until mixture thickens and is cold, at least 2-4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.

Add 2 cups chilled cream to white chocolate cream and beat until smooth and peaks form. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk to thicken, if necessary, before using.


Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer on platter, cut side up. Spread 1/3 of dark chocolate ganache over cake. Spoon 2 cups white chocolate cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake layer, cut side down; spread 1/3 of ganache over, then 2 cups white chocolate cream. Repeat with third cake layer, cut side up, remaining ganache, and remaining cream. Cover with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Chill while preparing frosting. Overnight preferably.

2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1- 1.5 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Bittersweet chocolate curls
Candy Canes, crushed (4?)

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend well. Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes. Whisk in peppermint extract. Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes.

Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate curls over top. Add candy cane if using. Chill for one to two hours before serving, or serve IMMEDIATELY!

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