Peppermint Cake

*if you want to make just a vanilla frosting, just swap out vanilla extract for the peppermint

Ingredients:

for the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons espresso powder (I omitted this)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

for the frosting:

  • 1¼ cups sugar (I always use superfine Baker's Sugar)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (double this is you want a really strong peppermint flavor)
  • 1¼ cups unsalted butter (2¼ sticks), cut into slices and at room temperature

for the topping:

  • 1/3 cup crushed peppermint bits

Instructions:

Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well. 

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 25- 30 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Make the frosting:

Bring a medium pot of water to simmer on the stove. In a medium sized heatproof bowl (I use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer Bowl), add the egg whites, sugar and salt and whisk together.  Place over the simmering water (don't let the bottom of the bowl come into contact with the water).  Keep the water at a gentle simmer and cook the mixture, whisking every once in a while, until the sugar completely dissolves, about 5 to 6 minutes.  

Remove the bowl and set it in your stand mixer and add the peppermint extract. With the wire whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture at medium high speed for about 8 to 9  minutes, until the mixture is glossy and stiff.  At this point, the mixture should be cooled down and the bowl should not feel hot. Lower the mixer to medium speed and start adding the butter, a few pieces at a time.  Beat until all the butter is added and the frosting is completely smooth.

Assembly:

After the cake layers have cooled, take a long bread knife and horizontally slice each layer into two layers.

Dab a little frosting onto your cake plate, place the first layer of cake (I place all my layers crumb side down) and spread a layer of frosting on that.  Sprinkle some peppermint bits on the frosting. Repeat until the final layer. garnish with more peppermint bits on top and chocolate shavings.

cake recipe from Add a Pinch

The Italian Dish
http:theitaliandishblog.com