Midnight Mint Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a ‘go big or go home’ baker.

I’m usually not in the least intimidated to try a baking recipe.  In fact, I love the challenge and the possibility it might actually turn out exactly as I’d hoped.  (Which means at about 90% of what the original recipe is and about 80% of what the pictures look like.)

So, when I was planning a dessert to take to my mom for Mother’s Day, I really wanted to try something big.  And this recipe I found on Pinterest certainly fit the bill.

The Recipe:

Midnight Mint Cake, adapted from Rock Recipes

Cake:

2 c sugar

1 c cake flour

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c dutch process cocoa

2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 c black coffee

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 t 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 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

~~~~

Frosting:

4 c powdered sugar

1/2 c vegetable shortening

1 c butter

1 t mint extract

3-4 T milk, depending on your preferred frosting consistency

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.

Add mint extract and milk.  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. 

~~~~

Glaze:

1 c dark chocolate chips

1/4 c whipping cream

1 t mint extract

In a double boiler melt together all ingredients.  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.

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.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I’m going to admit, right of the bat, that I was a little worried about making this cake.  Mostly because the last time I made a layered cake, it did not go well at all.  But that was many, many months ago – and I feel like I’ve learned a ton since then.

The cake part was a snap – until I went to cut my rounds in half.  I asked Hubs for any advice, and his snarky reply was to make sure I cut them horizontally.  (Ha, ha, so not funny, Hubs.)  I tried my best to cut them evenly and level-y, but let’s just say that did not quite happen.  It wasn’t horrible, just not very equal.

Next, it was time to make the frosting.  The original recipe called for 8 cups of powdered sugar, which I was pretty sure would not fit in my mixer.  So, I halved everything – and also reduced the amount of mint extract.  (I was looking for a hint of mint flavor, rather than an overwhelming taste.)  And the half recipe made just the right amount of frosting (in my opinion).

(Oh, and I still ended up exploding powdered sugar all over the place.  It’s just inevitable.)

When I went to frost the layers, I came across another problem…my frosting was really sticky, and kept pulling up parts of the cake.  I added a touch more milk and remixed, but it was still sticky.  Again, I added milk, still sticky.  At that point, I just decided to spread away.  (So you will notice little flecks of cake in the frosting – I say it just gives it character, right?)

I didn’t worry about covering everything perfectly, since I knew the ganache would hide any open spots.

After letting the cake and frosting cool, I made my ganache.  Again, I lowered the amount of mint extract (this time I only used half the amount called for in the original recipe).  It never got really smooth, but I was worried about it getting too hot…so I just spread it on the top.

Now, my cake was not nearly as pretty as the cake I was hoping for…but everything came out (mostly) great, and it stayed assembled together.  So I consider this a big win.

And the flavor was really, really good, too.  It was still rather minty – which makes me wonder what it would’ve tasted like had I used all the called-for mint.  The chocolate cake was dark and rich (though I think it got a smidge dried out in the refrigerator).  Now, the ganache – the ganache was simply fantastic!  Though not pretty, it was a perfect balance of the chocolate and mint – and just took the cake over the top.

I loved how impressive it looked when cut, too.  Don’t you just want a big bite?

I got rave reviews from the whole family, including my mom – with the ganache getting the most comments.

So I went big – and it worked!

(Next time I’ve got to try one of these gorgeous layer cakes featured on Sweet Samsations…but maybe not for another couple of months.)

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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26 thoughts on “Midnight Mint Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

  1. That looks amazing Courtney! I would have lOVED a big slice of that on Mother’s Day, or ANY day. Yeah, slicing layers in half NEVER works out for me. I don’t know why I am so untalented at it…I always get a little dejected that mine never looks like it should. Anyhow, you really did attempt a major time intensive cake and I am sooooooo impressed. I hop you have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I will definitely have to try that ganache sometime. Sounds fantastic.

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  2. I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day Courtney
    Believe it or not layered cakes scare me, I have yet to try one,I never seem to be able to divide a cake in half evenly let alone multiplle layers. Hats off to you on a job beautifully done

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  3. Wow.. I immediately thought of After Eight Mints.. and Peppermint Patties.. my favorites, so I know I would love this! I always seem to have problems with these “project” cakes.. but in the end it always turns out somehow. I suspect the blogger who first posts them hides these little “surprises” problems and pretends they never happen, lol. I think you’ve got the layers and everything just perfect! Awesome!!!

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    • The very nice thing about cakes like these, is that they are very forgiving – in that you can cover up a lot of imperfections. 🙂 Though I still think your last cake was SO gorgeous!

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  4. Your cake looks and sounds delicious! I so sympathize with your cake slicing troubles. I bought a “cake slicing wire” but haven’t had the chance to use it. From experience, I can predict still more misshapen cake layers in my future. Thank heavens for frosting!

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  5. Tee Hee! My mixer always ends up that way when I use it! I think this looks great. I fear making cakes more than I fear bread ( and that’s saying something). Nicely done and I have no doubt it was good! 🙂

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  6. “Go big or go home.” Yes, you and I are going to get along splendidly. 😉 This cake, my oh my, I think you’ve combined every weakness of mine in one sensational dessert; mint, chocolate, cake, and layers. Wow. These for blogs really are going to be the end of me! But, all that said, thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Blessings,
    ~ Cara

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  7. awww! That just looks simply lovely! I gotta agree with you on the ganache. It’s hard to get it really smooth… I think either (a) chocolate has to be melted a little further, or (b) instead of spreading, I’ve seen some people pour it on the cake, which helps to make it more even? I’m not sure either! lol. But your cake looks really delicious!! Your sponge is of the perfect texture, moist and soft! Happy Mother’s Day! Oh and I just read your post on your old Boston Cake. Yeah, I can totally understand the frustration there! Sometimes we have limited time in baking and we can only allot a time slot to make our cakes. It’s super annoying when it doesn’t turn out the way we want it to and there’s nothing we can do about it! yupp.. Still happens to me once in a while!!

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  8. What an impressive cake!! Frosting AND ganache–can’t go wrong. I have issues cutting the layers too, so now I just put half of the batter in each cake pan, so they create perfect, thin cake layers. 🙂 And no cutting necessary!

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