Hello my dear neglected blog! I have been baking up a storm and it’s about time I get to sharing recipes and stories of what it’s like to bake and just go with the flow. Now! On to that peppermint!
I have been baking for as long as I can remember. When I was little, it was about getting to mix up the cookie dough or frost the cake more than anything else. As I got older, I got more into finding new recipes and trying the out on a weekend here and there. Here and there became every weekend and now I’m always baking something new and loving just about every minute of it.
Along the way it’s become a known fact that I love to bake and take requests. Five years or so ago, I began getting commissioned to make things for special occasions. I’ve made a tye-dye cake for an anniversary, a Twinkie cake for a wedding, and a cavalcade of birthday treats. This weekend was one of those commissioned weekends.
One of my co-worker-turned-friends hit me up to make some birthday treats for her son’s celebration this weekend. The treats requested: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, No Bake Cookies, and a cake. I have been collecting recipes forever. I adore the Food Network. I think Pinterest is a gift from the Gods. I get lost in cookbooks. I rip apart magazines. Oh, and I frequent many a baking blog. Needless to say, I get excited when someone hands me the reigns and says, “Whatever you think.”
So, I busted out this amazing cookbook I got from a charity yard sale, Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Jars by Ceil Dyer and started perusing the cake section. Old Fashioned Cocoa Peppermint is what I landed on and thus, my house smells like a giant candy cane. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a chocolate cake with peppermint in it. It does not use extract for its peppermint though, nope, crushed candies.
It just so happens that my sister brought down a half bag of peppermint candies a couple weeks ago. I’m a big believer in utilizing whatever you have in your house to make your recipes. So, this half bag of candy got pulverized by my food processer, which created a giant cloud of peppermint dust that has now wafted through the entire house. Worse things could happen, right?
The cake itself went together pretty easily. Just the standard creaming of butter, sugar, and eggs. Then adding your liquid and dry ingredients by alternating each while mixing. This process became quite the mess despite my spatter shield (Kitchen Aid makes pretty cool things) and the mixer only being on 2. I’d suggest mixing at the lowest speed possible. If I make the cake again, I’d pop it on Stir instead to keep down the splatter.
Once you have all of that incorporated and happy, you just add in ½ cup of crushed candies. My thought is the texture will be just enough crunch and the taste will have that awesome hint of peppermint that goes so well with chocolate.
The recipe states it’s intended for 2 9inch pans, which it worked out well. The cakes do not rise much at all and actually, in my case, I ended up with a ton of air bubbles and a strange well in the middle of the cake. Essentially, it’s not an even surface but! That’s why we have frosting. When your cake comes out a little crazy like that, just be sure to face the not too pretty parts to the middle and boom, no one has a clue. This works out best in most cases anyway because then you have a flat bottom and top for your cake. You can also trim the middle, if it does that whole poof in the center, to even it out. In this case, my cakes were flat, just not too pretty.
The frosting is fudge icing with more crushed peppermint added. This chocolate frosting is delicious on its own but the peppermint adds a lovely hint of yum. Yes, hint of yum.
Once the cake was completely cool, I frosted it with an icing spatula. I put just enough in the middle to fill in the weird dip in the cake and get to the sides and stacked them. Then it was all about just getting the rest of the cake to be frosted. I like the slightly messy look, rather than a smooth frost, so I simply let my spatula do the work and left the little waves in it. It looked lovely when it was completed.
The review from the Birthday Boy was that it was delicious. I don’t think he even wanted to share it.
Want to try it? Of course you do! Here’s the recipe:
Old-Fashioned Cocoa Mint Cake
From Best Recipes by Ceil Dyer
2/3 Cup Butter
1 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Cocoa
1 ¼ tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 1/3 Cup Milk
½ Cup Crushed Peppermint Candy
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs until fluffy, and beat 3 minutes on high.
3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
4. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients until mixed. It’ll look like a standard chocolate cake mix.
5. Blend in crushed candy.
6. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9 in cake pans
7. Bake for 35 minutes.
8. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to cooling rack.
Cocoa Peppermint Icing
From Best Recipes by Ceil Dyer
Yields 2 ¼ cups of icing
½ Cup Butter
½ Cup Cocoa
3 2/3 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
7 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Crushed Peppermint Candy
1. Melt butter in a sauce pan or microwave
2. Add cocoa and heat for 1 minute or until smooth, stirring constantly.
3. Alternately add sugar and milk and beat until a spreadable consistency
4. Blend in vanilla and candy