Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chocolate peppermint patty cake

When I think of Christmas flavors, classics like peppermint inevitably come to mind.  One of my favorite store-bought treats is this peppermint bark and we get at least one tin during the season to enjoy at home alongside our homemade goodies.  I've thought about attempting a homemade version but honestly, I have a feeling the real thing would be hard to beat (never mind all the issues with tempering or needing to refrigerate a homemade version - what do they do to the candy cane bits to prevent it from melting?).
So I settled for making a little peppermint cake.  Aside from the bark, I was inspired by the peppermint brownies I made last year that turned out really well.  My son was quick to remind me that I had to make those as well.  I've since accomplished that but beforehand, I thought I'd try something new.  
I scaled this cake down from a recipe in Chocolate Cakes, a book a chocoholic like myself feels she has to have.  There are literally chopped peppermint patties in the cake itself.  It's the kind of "crazy" thing we find ourselves doing during the holidays.  

If, like me, you fear the cake might be cloying, I'm happy to report that it is not.  The proportions work (I did go light on the peppermint patties) and it's almost-surprisingly not too sweet.  I liked this cake even more than I thought I would; it's rather addictive, actually.  That could well be explained by the bittersweet chocolate ganache since I rarely dislike anything with ganache but the cake itself is moist and chewy and the whole effect is somewhat like a peppermint brownie truffle!
Now pardon my wobbly piping job on this cake.  It's the best I can do, quite frankly.  I just thought I'd take the excess ganache I had and pipe a pretty border - it is the holidays, after all!  And inspired by the delicious peppermint bark we're enjoying right now, that border created the perfect little center for me to nestle some festive peppermint bark pieces inside.  The whole thing tasted incredibly harmonious - a little crunch of the bark to go with the creamy chewiness of the cake.  This is a terrific chocolate fix for the holidays!
Rather like a peppermint brownie truffle in cake form

One last word on this cake...I always feel like a chocolate cake will be promising when it starts off with unsweetened chocolate. It's going to have deep chocolate flavor and I think you get that here, with the added bonus of that sticky peppermint flavor and texture from York peppermint patties that I used.  I went light on the patties, using less than the recipe indicates.  I think it's enough to make its presence known without being too overpowering. Give it a try.  I know I'm glad I did!
To point out the obvious, this cake will smell like dark chocolate and peppermint.  In other words, intoxicating...


Recipe:

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cake
Cake recipe adapted from Chocolate Cakes by Elinor Klivans, Ganache based on basic 1:1 ratio I typically use

- For one 9-inch round cake (I divided the recipe in half and baked a 6-inch cake) -  

For cake:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
4 ounces (115 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 chocolate-covered peppermint patties, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces (original recipe calls for 215 grams or about 16 peppermint patties; and for my 6-inch cake, I cut each patty into 9 smaller bits)

For ganache (makes 2 cups, which is more than enough for piping additional decoration): 
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Optional garnish: chopped chocolate peppermint bark or chopped peppermint candy (i.e., chopped candy cane bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper.

Place butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water.  Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about a minute.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed.  On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.  Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the peppermint patties with a rubber spatula.  Transfer batter to the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs, about 40 minutes [28-30 minutes for a 6-inch cake].  Remove cake from the oven and let cool, in the pan, on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around the side of the cake and invert it onto the wire rack.  Gently remove the parchment paper and loosely lay it back on the cake.  Let cool completely then discard the paper.

To make the ganache, warm heavy cream and corn syrup to a light simmer.  Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate.  Let stand for 1-2 minutes.  Then whisk gently, from the center outward, until smooth and fully incorporated.  Let cool slightly until thickened but spreadable.

To complete the cake, invert the cake right side up on a serving plate.  Tuck pieces of wax or parchment paper under the cake for easy cleanup.  Spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake.  If desired, place some of the ganache into a piping bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe a border around the edge of the cake.  Let ganache set for about 10 minutes, then fill the center with chopped peppermint bark or peppermint candy pieces .


54 comments:

  1. I LOVE that peppermint bark, too, and topping a cake with it is such a great idea! Also? That cake looks RIDICULOUSSSS in the best way possible!

    Sues

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    1. Thanks! "Ridiculous" sounds really good. : ) That bark is definitely addicting...and so, so good!

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  2. What a fantastic treat! You're right, chocolate and peppermint is totally a Christmas-y flavor combo. I love the peppermint patties here with dark chocolate, oh my! I would love to be at your house this time of the year. You made all sorts of goodies I just want to sink my teeth into. :D It really is a beautiful cake Monica. Have a great Wednesday! :)

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    1. We see peppermint all over the place right now but I guess there's a good reason for that. It's good stuff usually. : ) You are very sweet, Anne...I would eat and drink very well at *your* house, I know that much!

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  3. Oh girl, this looks super amazing. I'm obsessed with peppermint bark but on top of a chocolate cake? I want to cry with happiness!

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    1. haha...it worked surprisingly well since the bark isn't smashingly crunchy and it goes with the flavor of the cake. But who am I kidding - I picked off the bark to eat first thing!

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  4. This is one stunning cake Monica! I absolutely love that peppermint bark too and this cake must taste heavenly with all the peppermint patties and peppermint bark. This cake screams Christmas and I wish I had a slice of this right now:) It looks gorgeous girl:)

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    1. I'm so happy you like my wobbly, messy frosting/piping job, Kelly. You are one sweet lady! I really liked this cake - even more than I thought I would - it wasn't too sweet and you know I do love ganache. ; ) Thanks, my friend!

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  5. So dang rich and wonderful, Monica. It's crazy, but like what you said...it's HOLIDAY...so why not?!

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  6. I used to love these after dinner mints as a young adult, so I can imagine this cake tasting very much like them but on a more serious level! Looks quite sinful :)

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    1. It does look rather sinful, doesn't it? It tastes just heavenly though. ; ) Thanks for stopping by, Nazneen!

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  7. OMG!
    This looks amazing! I just want to dive into that cake. Seriously.

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    1. Thanks, Asmita! My son would be far more impressed if I could produce your cookies. : )

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  8. Forget wobbly piping.Until you said that, I honestly thought it was supposed to look that way...I like it! This cake would make any chocoholics eyes glaze over in awe and your description of chewy peppermint brownie truffle is mouth watering. I know that when my son sees this (can't imagine who is going to show it to him :) ) it will go directly onto the "Bake Over Winter Break" list. Now, I'm off to see if our library has the Chocolate Cakes cookbook. Thanks for the recipe and the book recommendation!
    Happiest of holidays!

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    1. haha - I am taking wobbly to a whole new art form. : ) I didn't want to waste the extra ganache (and I wanted to eat it) so I decided on the piping. I'm happy your son is a fellow chocoholic. : ) Happy Holidays and have a great New Year, Wendy!

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  9. Definitely need peppermint goodies this time of the year! Gosh this cake looks amazing!!

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  10. The cake looks so moist and chocolatey. I would love a slice of chocolate cake like that. YUM!

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    1. Yes, it's very fudgy in the best way. Glad you like it!

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  11. Peppermint bark is so addicting! I can't have it around ... I eat too much! haha This cake came out gorgeous - I love the chocolate / peppermint combination during the holidays! This looks so rich and decadent, especially with the ganache!

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    1. Tell me about it, Ashley. I is so smooth and so perfectly peppermint-y, isn't it! : ) I think that shine on the ganache really makes it look so decadent. The pieces sliced up so tiny - I felt no guilt enjoying it. haha

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  12. This cake looks gorgeous, Monica! I would love a big slice of it!

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    1. Thanks, Natasha. It was a yummy little thing. Take care!

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  13. Wow. Now you've got me hankering for chocolate. Talk about a serious craving, Monica! This cake looks so delicious and festive too! Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Thank you, Monet. You can always count on me for that. Happy Holidays!

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  14. This is so gorgeous and I can imagine what it will taste like. You did an amazing job with the flavours..honestly, I am craving for it right now.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Sonali. It was a fun little cake that disappeared too quickly. : )

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  15. It isn't the holidays without something peppermint chocolate in the mix! This looks glorious!!

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    1. Absolutely...gotta have peppermint in a few ways before we can call it the holidays. Thanks, Joanne.

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  16. WOW this looks heavenly! I tasted a peppermint patty the other day for the first time and it was SO GOOD! This cake looks so moist and delicious - great job!

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    1. My little one loves peppermint patties so that's why I thought I'd try this cake. I made cupcakes with them once and he was a fan of those...it's surprising how good candy is in cake...yikes!

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  17. Drooooool. This looks great, love the peppermint and choco combo.

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  18. Monica - this cake is a work of art! How beautiful and the icing is to die for! You are a gifted baker - and I'll take a big slice now! Happy New Year and I hope you have a blessed holiday season :)

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    1. I don't know about 'a work of art' but thank you, Tricia! You are too kind. You have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for you and your family in 2014!

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  19. What a great looking seasonal cake Monica! The idea of the peppermint candy canes in bakes is new to me but I can see what a great combination they are with the intense chocolate flavour! Delightful :-)

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    1. Hi Jo - thanks so much. Lots of chocolate, with the coolness of peppermint for sure going on here. Classic combo that's a classic for a good reason, I think. : )

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  20. These candied nuts evoke happy childhood memories for me. Freshly candied, hot hazelnuts - Chou Chou - were sold on the beach, and they tasted so so good! These look wonderful Monica and such a lively gift!

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    1. Thank you...I know you're talking about my prior post on those chocolate praline almonds (somehow the comment dropped here...). They do make cute little gifts, I think...The Chou Chou sound really good!! : )

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  21. That slice of cake looks simply perfect!

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  22. Oh gosh, Monica: this cake came out utterly beautiful! Those frosting swirls are beautiful! I'm sure that the flavor of this is perfect as well. And oh, so festive and christmassy! What a treat :--)
    Enjoy your weekend! xo

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    1. Thanks, Consuelo. I know those swirls were some of my faves to eat! : ) Enjoy the weekend, too!

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  23. can you believe i've never cooked anything peppermint flavoured?! so ridiculous since i (like everyone else) LOVE peppermint & chocolate! this looks seeeeriously drool worthy, monica. super impressed as always!
    the hobbit kitchen x

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    1. It's never too late to do it! ; ) Thanks and have a very Merry Christmas and great New Year!

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  24. Peppermint brownie truffle in cake form sounds amazing. Happy holidays! :)

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    1. It is like that! : ) Thanks, Bianca...you have a great holiday and New Year!!

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  25. I think I need a piece of this right now!

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    1. I can't seem to get enough of chocolate and cookies and treats this holiday season! : ) I wouldn't mind another slice, too, though I just had almond cookies and half a chocolate yogurt snack cake already for dessert!

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  26. Your cake looks insanely chocolaty and moist My kind of cake!

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    1. You are my kind of lady, Christin! : )

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  27. Wow, this looks amazing! It may end up being the cake I make for my hubby's bday since he's a choco mint lover :) That peppermint bark really is the best, isn't it? i make it homemade every year and it's super easy and comes out great, so you should give it a try some time.

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    1. Amy - if you see this...what recipe do you use? I have been tempted to try a homemade version but my thing is I don't know (or want to) temper the chocolate but I really want to keep the bark at room temperature. Also, don't you find peppermint candy always "sweats" when covered either in fridge or at room temperature. They must spray the candy with something to keep it so dry! Thanks!

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