Recipe: Dark chocolate peppermint pattie cake
This chocolate cake is rich, thick (like a torte), very chocolatey, and best when offset by whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
A 9-inch springform pan
2 small saucepans
A food processor
A bottle (with lid) for the syrup
A fine-mesh strainer
A medium strainer
A heavy saucepan
A double boiler, real or improvised
A whisk attachment and extra bowl for mixer
A bottle or jar (with lid) for the fudge sauce
For the mint syrup
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1 1⁄4 cups sugar
3⁄4 cup water
For the ganache
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the cake
14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces small peppermint pattie candies
For the chocolate fudge sauce
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1⁄3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
(You can make the fudge sauce up to a week in advance and store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for future use.)
Ice cream or sweetened whipped cream (homemade or in a can) Tip: You can make the fudge sauce up to a week in advance and store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for future use.
To make the mint syrup (the night before you make your cake)
1 Rinse your mint leaves and set aside.
2 In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for several minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove
from the heat and allow to cool
3 Fill a small bowl with ice and water and put it near the stove.
4 Fill another saucepan about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Put the mint leaves in the later and blanch until they are just wilted, about 10 seconds. Immediately strain the mint and plunge the leaves in that bowl of ice water. This sets the color. Strain the leaves one more time, then blot with paper towels.
5 In the food processor, combine the mint leaves and half the syrup. Puree the mint, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the processor (puree is basically processing until nearly liquefied). Add the remaining syrup and puree for 2 more minutes.
6 Transfer the syrup to a clean storage container and allow to sit overnight, covered, at room temperature.
In the A.M.
7 Strain the syrup though a finemesh strainer and discard the solid parts. You can store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Make sure to shake before using.
To make the ganache (the morning you bake the cake)
8 In a food processor, finely chop your chocolate, baby.
9 Heat the cream in a heavybottomed saucepan to just under a boil. Add the chocolate, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
10 Remove from the heat. Pour the mixture through the medium strainer into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and spreadable.
Now, you're not going to believe that the ganache is ever going to be thick and spreadable, because when you first do this, the ganache looks like a dark chocolate oil slick. But, in about 5 hours, it's going to be the texture of putty, and that oil will be solidified into a white film. Do not panic. That's what fat does. Just stir everything back together again and move on with your mighty fine self.
To make the cake
11 Center a rack and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the springform pan. Make sure to line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the pan.
12 In a food processor, chop your chocolate coarsely, baby.
13 In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter with the cream. Stir in the chocolate and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
14 In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium-high speed, gradually Adding the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is light yellow and very thick. This will take about 5 minutes. Slow the mixer down, add the melted chocolate, and beat until just blended.
15 Dry whisk the flour and salt together in a separate bowl.
16 Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle or regular beaters. Add the flour to the mixture in thirds, beating after each addition until blended. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended. The mixture will be thick. Remove from the mixer and set aside.
17 Dust the blade of a cleaver with flour and dice the peppermint patties on a lightly floured cutting board. You'll have to redust the blade as you go. You should have about 1 cup of diced patties. Set aside.
18 In a clean mixing bowl, with a clean, dry whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to medium-soft peaks. (Remember: soft peaks are between foamy and stiff peaks. When you remove the whisk from the egg whites, a soft peak will result, and will then gracefully slip back into the egg whites.)
19 Fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and finally, fold the peppermint patties into the batter.
20 Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon or spatula.
21 Put the pan in the middle of the oven rack and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake tests done. The top of the cake will have cracks around the edges; don't fret. Nobody but you will know.
22 Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan and cool the cake on a cake rack. When completely cooled, invert onto
the serving plate and remove the parchment paper.
To make the fudge sauce
23 On low heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
24 Using a hand whisk, gently whisk in half of the brown sugar and cocoa. Add the remaining brown sugar and cocoa and whisk until incorporated.
25 Whisk in the cream and salt.
26 Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking often. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
27 Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh trainer.
28 Cool and serve at room temperature.
To construct the cake
Well, there's really not that much to tell.
29 Give your ganache a nice, strong stir until it's smooth. Cover the top (formerly the bottom) of your cake with the ganache, working it to the edges, but keeping if off the sides of the cake.
30 Serve with the fudge sauce, mint syrup, and ice cream or whipped cream
What? There's more work?
Serving the cake is part of the servitude required of anyone making the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattie Cake. And it's one of the reasons it's the penultimate cake in this book and one of the reasons why, though it is fairly easy for me to make now, I still consider it somewhat of a pain-in-the-BEE-hind cake.
Upon slicing the cake, drizzle each slice with fudge sauce and mint syrup, and add a dollop of ice cream or a quick FFFFFT! of canned whipped cream.
When bringing this cake to the office, be sure to include a handy, dandy diagram for those who will serve themselves while you're busy actually getting some work done.
Excerpted from All Cakes Considered. Copyright 2009 by Melissa Gray Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.