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sexta-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2012

#GATRONOMIA Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate cake and I have had a very interesting romance. I started off with quite an intense dislike of chocolate cake. I KNOW. But try not to judge me too harshly, I had many bad experiences with store-bought dry, dense mudcakes covered in grainy baking chocolate icing. So every year when I asked Regex Man what cake he would like for his birthday and every year he replied me with "Chocolate.", it usually filled me with dread. But I took on the challenge and made him a chocolate cake with salted caramel filling and the epic triple-triple chocolate cake covered in macarons. There have been many chocolate cakes since. And somewhere along the way I started to have a grudging respect for chocolate cake, which blossomed into love. Now I can't seem to stop thinking about them, baking them and eating them.
So this year for Regex Man's birthday I offered to do a chocolate cake even though he said it didn't have to be chocolate this year. I had this sudden urge to cover an entire chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip butter icing that looked exactly like the mint chocolate chip ice cream you get from Baskin Robbins. I was also incredibly inspired when I saw this cake idea not too long ago and while I was too lazy to do the chocolate ganache even though it looks awesome, I thought it would be cute to use some of the leftover icing to make 'scoops' with mini ice cream cones.
I used David Lebovitz's devil's food cake recipe again, my new favourite chocolate cake since making it for my raspberry cupcakes when I launched the new site. While making up the cake batter I misread the recipe and managed to add triple the amount of salt than I was meant to but it tasted so good that I just went with it and have included it in the recipe. It's only a small increase but it works well since I'm pairing the cake with quite a sweet icing. I even used a slightly salted butter for the icing to help stop the cake from being sickly sweet. This is seriously one of the easiest and best chocolate cakes I've ever made.
Originally I was going to arrange the scoops of icing around the edge of the cake, but I realised I didn't have quite enough icing to do that so I ended up just doing a few of them in the middle. I can't quite figure out if it looks a bit awkward but I'm happy with the way the icing itself looks. It really reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream, one of my favourite flavours. This cake is great for anyone who loves mint and chocolate together, and is easy to whip up and impress your friends with.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
(makes one 9-inch cake, cake adapted from David Lebovitz's Devil's Food Cake recipe)
9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-raising, I just used plain flour and replaced 3 tbsp with cornflour/cornstarch)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup strong coffee (or water, I used a weak coffee as I didn't want it overpower the mint)
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

For the icing:
280g (2.5 sticks) unsalted (or slightly salted) butter
500g icing sugar (about 4 cups), sifted
2-3 tsp peppermint essence, adjust to taste
150g dark chocolate, very finely chopped or pulsed through a food processor
green food colouring
Optional: waffle ice cream cones to decorate

Butter and line the base of a two 9-inch cake tins (I only had a 22cm springform tin which I used for both cakes) and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.

Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Split batter mixture between the two prepared tins (or in my case, I used half for the first cake, baked it and then reused the tin for the other half of the batter). Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 mins, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing.
Prepare the mint icing; remove butter from fridge about half an hour before starting. Cut up butter into smaller pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high until fluffy and smooth. Add sifted icing sugar one cup at a time, beating until combined. Add peppermint essence to taste and green food colouring. Gradually add chocolate chip pieces until you have a good distribution of chocolate bits.

Use about 1/4 of the icing on top of one of the cakes and smooth over with a spatula. Place second cake top side down on top of the iced cake. Cover entire cake with more icing, smoothing with a spatula. I used an offset spatula, running it under hot water every now and then to help keep the surface smoother. Use the leftover icing to form scoops of icing to place on top of the cake, arranged however you like. Use mini ice cream cones or chop the ends of normal-sized cones and place on top of icing scoops. Alternatively you could cover the top with extra dark chocolate chips. Can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container overnight. Serve at room temperature.
Happy Birthday



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