Midnight Mint Chocolate Cake
I recently asked our followers over on our rapidly growing Facebook Page (Like our page Here) to suggest a new flavor combination for a layer cake and they came up with some very interesting ideas, more of which I may try later. One very obvious combination several commenters and emailers suggested was chocolate mint and I suddenly realized I had never tried this flavor in a cake since I was a kid, experimenting in the kitchen. So as a return to my experimental youth, I decided a chocolate mint cake it would be and this was an utterly delicious success. If you are a chocolate mint lover, this is going to be one dangerous cake to have around...irresistible!
Midnight Mint Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soured milk (milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar)
1 cup black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
When completely cooled, split the two layers horizontally with a serrated bread knife to make 4 layers.
8 cups icing sugar (i.e. powdered sugar, confectioners sugar)
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup butter
Using an electric mixer on low, mix the butter and icing sugar together until the butter and shortening break up and get evenly dispersed throughout the sugar in small pieces. The mixture will still appear dry at this point. This stage ensures even distribution and prevents butter or shortening lumps in your frosting.
1 tbsp mint extract (NOT artificial mint flavoring)
Approximately 6 tbsp milk
Both of these liquid measures can be adjusted. The milk can be adjusted to make a thicker frosting by adding less or a more spreadable frosting by adding a little more. Use you own judgement here. The mint extract can be adjusted to your own taste. Add more if you want a more intense mint flavor.
When the icing reaches the desired consistently continue to beat it on high speed for 5 minutes to incorporate more air into the frosting to make it lighter and fluffier.
Frost the middle and sides evenly with the frosting and chill the cake for several hours before adding the chocolate ganache glaze.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
In a double boiler melt together
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp mint extract
Stir this mix constantly and get it off the heat as soon as the chocolate is melted. You do not want this mixture hot but just luke warm; as close to the melting point as possible. Let it cool down if it gets too hot.
Working as quickly as you can, ( a lazy susan is a big help if you have one) pour the ganache directly in the center of the cake, and then using an icing spatula spread it evenly over the top of the cake, letting it drip off the sides.
For butter and/or shortening based frostings like this, I do store the cake in the refrigerator but take it out at least an hour before serving to let the frosting warm up to room temperature. Cold frosting is too hard and letting the cake warm up allows this frosting to return to the creamy texture it is meant to have.