Mint Chocolate Christmas Cake

“Christmas desserts” bring to mind fruitcake, Christmas Pudding, gingerbread and the like. For Australians, it can be Pavlova, or really anything cold.

The past few years I haven’t been able to give much to the Family Christmas Dinner spread. This year, however, I had a mission.

It came to me as I was riding the bus home, having met a friend at a coffee shop. As a non-coffee drinker, I’d asked for a peppermint mocha without the coffee. The result was nice, cool and milky, but had hardly any chocolate at all 😦 And that’s how I came up with this.

The chocolate cake recipe used below is an all-time favourite of mine. It’s moist and chocolatey, without any egg, so I can lick the bowl at the end without the usual qualms about raw egg (not to say that usually stops me…).

The buttercream in the middle was taken from LuxBite’s Lolly Bag Cake. I was too lazy to try the original recipe and so simplified it a lot. It turned out pretty well – I use reduced-salt butter, so the buttercream still had some, but less. If you don’t like salt with your mint at all, use no-salt butter.

Chocolate Mint Cake

Mint Chocolate Christmas Cake

Cake recipe from Reader’s Digest Quick, Thrifty Cooking; Ganache recipe from Cakecrumbs; Buttercream recipe heavily modified from LuxBite.

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake (double these amounts to make the two cakes you’ll layer):
3 cups unsifted plain flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs cider vinegar (I use apple)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Spearmint Buttercream:
75g spearmint leaf gummy lollies
50g water, boiled
65g cream
220g white chocolate
30g sugar
220g low/no-salt butter, room temperature
green food colouring (optional)
Crème de Menthe (flavouring or real, optional)

Chocolate Ganache:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100mL cream
20g butter
Candy canes, crushed (to serve)

Method:
Prepare the cake. When it has cooled, prepare the buttercream. Spread the cake with the buttercream and leave to refrigerate overnight. The next day, prepare the ganache and complete icing the cake.

Cake:

  1. Line a 20cm cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb-soda and salt.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the vanilla, vinegar and oil. Stir well.
  4. Add the water and stir until thoroughly blended. Do not over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter into the tin and bake 10 minutes at 180°C, then 30 minutes at 170°C or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Do not over-bake.
  6. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Buttercream:

  1. While the cakes are cooling, put the lollies and water in a pot on medium heat to melt down. THIS WILL TAKE A LONG TIME.
  2. When the lollies are almost fully melted, pour the cream into a pot and heat to boiling.
  3. Pour the cream on the white chocolate and stir.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  5. When the white chocolate has melted, stir it until fully combined.
  6. Add the chocolate-cream to the lollies and mix.
  7. Add that to the butter and beat thoroughly.
  8. Add the flavouring and colouring and mix.
  9. Spread some buttercream thickly on one cake.
  10. Place the second cake on top.
  11. Use the remaining buttercream to fill in any and all cracks on and between both cakes.

Ganache:

  1. Heat the cream to boiling.
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate.
  3. Stir until melted, and then stir in the butter.
  4. Pour over the cakes, making sure to cover completely.
  5. Crush the candy canes between two sheets of baking paper, using a rolling-pin, the side of a meat cleaver, or any suitably hard object.
  6. Sprinkle the candy canes over the cake.
  7. Refrigerate the entire cake until the ganache is adequately set.

Enjoy!

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