Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake

Somehow May is almost already half way over, which in my family means it’s time to think up a delicious dessert involving mint and chocolate. My older brother’s birthday is this month, and as an avid fan of the two, his number one request every year almost always involves that pairing. Seeing as how my favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip, I never say no to testing out new desserts involving the two flavors! 🍫🌿

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That’s where I got the inspiration to dream up this Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake. Layers of a rich, dark chocolate cake are paired with a creamy mint chip Swiss meringue buttercream that’s pretty much like mint chocolate chip ice cream in frosting form. Pieces of chopped bittersweet chocolate are added to the buttercream for a little bit of a crunch, and crème de menthe is used to add a subtle, yet creamy mint flavor.

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I found that crème de menthe was the perfect way to add just enough mint flavor without it overpowering the rest of the cake. You can use mint extract if you prefer to, but I think that the creaminess of the crème de menthe is far superior. If you use mint extract, be sure to use less as a little goes a long way.

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A few notes before you get started. The cake can be baked as either a two layer 8-inch cake or a three layer 6-inch cake, depending on what you prefer. I used dark cocoa powder to make it a dark chocolate cake, but you can use regular natural cocoa powder as well.

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Now, let’s talk about this cake. Layers of rich, dark chocolate cake that are tender, yet sturdy enough to be stacked without needing a crumb coat. This is my new favorite chocolate cake. It’s silky smooth and deliciously moist with every single bite. The other amazing thing about this recipe is that even if any crumbs do get swept up in the icing they’ll look like pieces of chocolate!

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I chose to carefully sift the pieces of chocolate once I chopped them so I would only be incorporating the bigger pieces into the buttercream. This extra step is up to you, I just wanted the chocolate to have a cleaner, less speckled look. The frosting spreads like a dream, and there’s just enough to have a little left over to snack on!

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So the next time you’re craving a peppermint patty or some mint chocolate chip ice cream, why not switch it up and make the cake version of that? You deserve it.

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Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake

Author: Marisa Guerra

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with your spatula as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk.
  6. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the coffee to the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Coat three 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray or butter and cocoa powder and line the bottom of each with parchment. Evenly divide the batter into the pans.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edge of each pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack and turning each cake out. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Mint Chip Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 4 tsp crème de menthe
  • Green food coloring
  • 3 oz or about ½ cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped and sifted
  1. Stir together egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. Continue to stir until mixture reaches 160º F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with the whisk attachment on high for 8-10 minutes, until somewhat stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Switch out the whisk for the paddle attachment and slowly add in pieces of butter on low. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in crème de menthe followed by the green food coloring.
  5. Carefully stir in the chopped chocolate.

Cake Assembly

  1. Once your cake layers have cooled, carefully cut the tops off with a serrated knife so that each layer is level.
  2. Place one layer, top side down, on a cake board and spread with frosting. Repeat this step with the next two layers.
  3. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill until you serve.
  4. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Waffle Cake with Maple Buttercream

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Is there any meal greater than breakfast? Maybe it’s the endless number of options or the fact that it’s the first meal of the day, but breakfast food is one of my favorite kinds. So why not take a classic breakfast food, like the infamous buttermilk waffle, and transform it into a layer cake? I thought this would be a fun way to enjoy a breakfast food for dessert, and I’m sure that Leslie Knope would agree it’s the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

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This cake takes all of the best things about a buttermilk waffle, like the sweet, yet rich flavor, and pairs it with a maple buttercream that will remind you of maple syrup without all of the stickiness.

A few important notes before you get started: It is best to use good quality Grade A Dark Color syrup to make the maple buttercream because the darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor. This level of syrup compliments the buttercream well without adding too much sweetness. If you have a lighter syrup you can still use it, but the maple flavor won’t be as strong.

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One of my favorite things about this cake is that the batter creates a delicate, rich cake, but can also be used to make a delicious waffle to top the cake with. Just be sure to set aside ½ cup of batter for the waffle topping. I used a Belgian waffle maker so that they would be sturdy enough to stand up on their sides, and I used that specific amount of batter so that they would each vary. If you are using a standard waffle maker, you might want to use a little less batter to make them smaller or cook them longer so that they are sturdy enough to stand up.

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To make the maple buttercream, you’ll start off with a basic Swiss Meringue style buttercream and then add the maple syrup to it. If you have any trouble while frosting, pop the bowl of buttercream in the fridge for several minutes to help it firm up. I decided to only frost the cake with a crumb coat and use the leftover buttercream to pipe swirls on top. I used an Ateco 869 tip to make the swirls, but you are welcome to use whatever tip you like. You just want to be sure to pipe enough of a base of buttercream to hold each waffle slice up. I hope you have as much fun baking and eating this cake as I did with creating it!

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Buttermilk Waffle Cake with Maple Buttercream

Author: Marisa Guerra

Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter.
  6. Coat two 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray or butter and flour and evenly divide the batter into the pans, setting aside ½ cup of batter for the waffle topping.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edge of each pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack and turning each cake out. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Waffle Topping

  1. While the cakes bake, carefully pour ½ cup of batter onto a waffle maker that is lightly coated with cooking spray and cook as directed.
  2. Divide waffle into 4 sections and set aside.

Maple Buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • ¼ cup Grade A Dark Color maple syrup
  1. Stir together egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture reaches 160º F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with the whisk attachment on high for 8-10 minutes, until somewhat stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Switch out the whisk for the paddle attachment and slowly add in pieces of butter on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in maple syrup and mix until smooth.

Cake Assembly

  1. Once your cake layers have cooled, carefully cut the tops off with a serrated knife so that each layer is level.
  2. Place one layer, top side down, on a cake board and spread with frosting. Repeat this step with the next layer.
  3. Apply a crumb coat, or a thin layer of frosting, around the cake and chill for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Place a piping tip into a pastry bag and fill it with the remaining buttercream.
  5. Pipe four swirls onto the top of the cake and place a waffle slice in each swirl.
  6. Enjoy!

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