We had a family dinner party to attend tonight, and recently polished off the last sleeve of Thin Mints. That of course led to the decision for what kind of dessert to make today - Devil's Food Cake with Mint-Chocolate Ganache! My old trusty friend never fails me :)
This was the very first recipe I ever made from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and the success of it made me fall in love with her all over again.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
The book is wonderful - for anyone who doesn't own it - not at all intimidating and very easy to follow. Even the most difficult recipes come out stunning.
Anyway, this recipe is tried and true and it get the same reaction every time - delicious! My husband doesn't care for mint chocolate (I know, I know - how did I ever marry him!?!?), so I considered simply leaving out the peppermint extract from the ganache, but I decided for the good of the group that the flavor should stay, and I'm glad I did. One day I'll make one just for him :)
Here's the recipe:
Devil's Food Cake with Mint-Chocolate Ganache
Makes one 9" layer cake
3 sticks butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for pans
¾ cup hot water
¾ cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Mint-chocolate ganache (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment; dust with cocoa powder, taping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. Whisk in sour cream; let cool. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined.
Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake testers inserted in centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes; let cool completely, top sides up. Transfer half of Mint-Chocolate Ganache (3 ½ cups) to clean bowl of an electric mixer; set aside remaining. Let cool completely, stirring frequently, about 40 minutes. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until ganache holds soft peaks, 5 to 7 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Transfer one of the layers to a cake turntable or platter, and spread top with 1 ½ cups whipped ganache. Top with remaining layer, cut side down, and spread remaining whipped ganache in a thin layer over the entire cake, covering completely. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
Transfer cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the reserved ganache over the top, letting it run down the sides. If necessary, use a large offset spatula to spread from the center towards the edges, so that the cake is evenly and completely covered. Refrigerate until the ganache has just begun to set, about 30 minutes. Transfer cake to a serving plate, and garnish with Chocolate Mint Leaves. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered with a cake dome, for up to 2 days.
Chocolate Mint Leaves
18 fresh mint leaves, ¼ inch of each stem intact
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Using a small pastry brush, coat underside of each leaf with a thick layer of chocolate. (If chocolate drips onto the top of the leaf, gently wipe it away with your finger)
Drape the leaves, chocolate sides up, over the handle of a wooden spoon set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.
Gently grasp the chocolate layer of each leaf with kitchen tweezers. Holding the stem, peel off mint leaf. Chocolate leaves can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Mint Chocolate Ganache
4 cups of heavy cream
2 lbs of best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp peppermint extract
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a full boil; turn off the heat. Add the chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. Add the corn syrup, salt, and peppermint extract, and stir until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl.