Cake 22: Peppermint Chocolate Cake with Mint-Infused Buttercream Frosting

This cake was made for a get-together on New Year’s Eve and I think it went over well! It captures a little bit of leftover Christmas festiveness with the crushed peppermint candy, but has the modern edge of the fresh mint-infused buttercream to carry us into the new decade. I met a lot of really nice people at this gathering, and I hope they enjoyed the cake! They offered lots of interesting suggestions for other ingredients to try in cakes, so keep an eye out for those in the future, new friends!

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 0.5 cup buttermilk

Fresh Mint-Infused Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large sprig of mint
  • 2 cups confectioner’s or powdered sugar

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. In one bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Boil a little water in a saucepan. Put the butter and chocolate into a bowl and place over the saucepan – make sure the water isn’t touching the bowl – and turn off the heat. Let it sit in there and melt, it’ll take several minutes, then stir to combine. Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Into that, mix in the sugar, vanilla extract, mint extract, eggs and buttermilk just until combined. Gently fold in the dry ingredient flour mixture with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. I used a cardboard round underneath the cake so I could frost it better.

Fresh Mint-Infused Buttercream Frosting Recipe Directions

In a small saucepan, cook the cream and mint sprigs on low heat, for about five minutes. Let that delicious mint flavor infuse into the cream. Remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. Beat the softened butter until it is light and fluffy. Then, beat in the mint-infused cream. Lower your mixer speed and slowly add the confectioner’s or powdered sugar until you get a creamy mint-infused buttercream frosting. Let it cool and set for a few minutes before icing your completely cooled peppermint cake.

Garnish with more fresh mint leaves, Andes mint shavings, or some crushed peppermint candy (I used a candy cane from my Christmas stocking). To crush peppermint candy, put it in a plastic bag and beat it up with a small skillet or meat tenderizer. Use the powder leftover in a cup of homemade hot chocolate!

In one of the pictures you can see yours truly modeling my new apron, given to by my husband’s mom, and it’s embroidered with “fiftytwocakes.com” – pretty cool, huh? Other items you see here are spatulas and whisks given to me for my birthday from my mom, and a rubber squeezable measuring cup. Some baking-related items I got for my birthday and Christmas that I’m very excited about that aren’t pictured here include a handful of awesome Pampered Chef cookbooks and spices from Aunt Rachel and family, ramekins from mom, an apron from my grandma, a spice grinder from ma, caster sugar from mom-in-law, The Cake Bible from my sister-in-law and her family, and I hope I am not forgetting anything or anyone! It is clear that my family knows me very well and supports my goals and endeavors! A big thank you to all of you.

How to Bake a Mason Jar Cake for Soldiers

My husband is a soldier deployed for the fourth time, this time to Afghanistan. He always appreciates the care packages his family and I send full of books, magazines, healthy snacks – and sometimes cake. Since I bake a cake a week, it would be a real shame not to share the goodies with the soldiers! Baking a jar cake is really simple, and a great way to send a special treat from home, made with love. They keep really well because the heat seals the jar so tightly and it lasts the week or two it takes for the care package to arrive where your loved one is deployed. Here is a handy guide on how to bake jar cakes to send to soldiers overseas.

Step 1: Sanitize the Mason Jar

Take the two pieces of the lid and the jar apart. Put the glass jar in a pot of hot water and bring it to boil over medium high heat on the stove. Boil the jar to sanitize it, then remove it carefully from the hot water with tongs to cool.

Step 2: Grease the Jar

Once the jar is completely cooled, spray the inside liberally with a non-stick spray like Pam or waxed paper with butter. This way the cake doesn’t stick to the edges of the jar too much and it’s easy for your soldier to eat your delicious cake!

Step 3: Fill the Jar with Cake Batter

After you’ve made your cake batter (use any of the cake recipes on this site for your cake batter – they won’t be disappointed!), fill the sanitized mason jar about halfway with cake batter. Don’t forget the cake will rise as it bakes, so remember to only fill the jar half full.

Step 4: Bake the Cake in the Jar

Bake your cake inside the jar according to the normal recipe instructions – including temperature. However, it is wise to start checking on the cake about 10 minutes before the normal done time. Sometimes the jar cakes bake a little faster than a full-size cake would. The best way to tell if it is done is to insert a toothpick or skewer tester in the center and make sure it comes out clean. Also, the top of the cake should spring back when lightly pressed.

Step 5: Sanitize the Jar Lids

Shortly before your cake finishes baking, boil the two parts of the mason jar lid just like you did the jar itself.

Step 6: Sealing the Jar

Make sure to use gloves so you don’t burn your hands on the jar! Pull your jar cake out of the oven. Run a clean, damp cloth around the rim of the jar to get rid of any crumbs or baked on cake. Screw the lid tightly onto the jar while it’s still hot.

Do not frost or decorate the cake. Pick a good, flavorful cake recipe and they won’t miss it, I promise. Some people send a store-bought container of frosting on the side. I have also baked pumpkin bread and other breads in jars, and it turned out fantastic. Let your jar cake cool and then ship it out as soon as possible! The sooner the jar cake gets there, the better. Your soldier can run a knife right around the edge of the cake and plop it out of the jar – or if you’re lazy like me, you can just eat the cake right of the jar.

Edit: One reader below said it might not be safe to bake breads and cakes in jars because the temperature doesn’t get high enough to guarantee baking off all potential bacteria. She linked to a white paper on the safety procedures that you should read. Mail takes about 1.5 to 2 weeks to get to my husband in Afghanistan and the cakes have been fine, but there is some risk involved. If you do decide to go ahead and bake jar cakes, be sure to sanitize those jars and seal those lids tight, and advise your soldier to check them carefully before consuming!

Like this tutorial on how to bake mason jar cakes for deployed soldiers overseas? Check out (and share!) my tutorial on How to Bake, Pack & Ship Cookies to Deployed Soldiers Overseas in Care Packages.

Cake 21: Frangelico Chocolate Cake

This cake was inspired by one of my favorite people, Tammy out in Mizzou country. (Hi Tammy!) She suggested this ingredient when we did the voting a few weeks back on what the next key ingredient would be. It came in third place, but it seemed so interesting that I just had to give it a try. I am not all that familiar with Frangelico at all, except once I had an infamous “chocolate cake shots” – and sure enough it does taste like cake. Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur, and it comes in a bottle that reminds me of Aunt Jemima maple syrup bottles, but it is actually made to look like a monk in a robe. It features flavors of hazelnuts, cocoa, vanilla and it has such a rich, creamy, sweet flavor that is long overdue for use in a cake. Ok, enough of me gabbing. On to the cake! (If anyone else out there makes this cake, please send me your photos to contact@fiftytwocakes.com so I can replace these blah ones taken with my cell phone camera! Full credit of course.)

Frangelico Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 0.75-cup white sugar
  • 0.5-cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking soda
  • 0.5 cup cocoa powder
  • 0.5 cup Frangelico
  • 0.75 cup strong, cold coffee

Frangelico Hazelnut Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 pound sifted powdered sugar (about 4 cups sifted)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons Frangelico (add more if you need a more spreadable texture)
  • 2 tablespoons hot coffee

Frangelico Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease and line two 9-inch cake pans. Separate your eggs into the yolks and whites. In a clean bowl with clean mixers, beat the egg whites until frothy, then beat in the sugar until you get stiff peaks. I got a smidge of yolk in mine, and let me tell you – it makes a difference and they do not get as fluffy. Ensure you have clean everything and only egg whites!) Set aside. In another bowl – I of course use the KitchenAid – cream the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly mixed and nice and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and baking soda. Add to your butter and brown sugar cream mixture and alternate with the coffee and Frangelico liquids, blending well. With a clean spatula, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Pour into your prepared pans, and bake for about a half hour – perhaps a few minutes more, until your cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto wire racks and remove the pans. Cool completely before frosting. (I didn’t do it this time, but I would level the cakes and brush a bit of a mixture of 1 part Frangelico to about 2 parts water onto the layers before icing next time.) When the cake layers are done cooling, it’s time to mix up the Frangelico frosting. Begin by creaming the butter and powdered sugar. Then, add in the cocoa powder, hot coffee and Frangelico and beat until smooth. Crumb coat the cake and chill. Ice the cake!

Cake 20: Apple Cinnamon Cake

It’s icy outside. I don’t want to drive. I’m using whatever I have in my house. My mom gave me a handful of apples when I was there last weekend. That’ll work! This simple little cake recipe centers around these three big apples. I present to you, apple cinnamon cake. This apple cinnamon cake is incredibly easy to make and the batter is so delicious it might not make it to the oven.

(I apologize for the poor quality and quantity of photos – I left my camera in Kansas City and am forced to use my cell phone. Next time I bake it I’ll take better pics and fix it.)

Apple Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 apples, cored, sliced – about 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a round bundt pan. (Though I used a 9″ round cake pan and a jar which I’ll explain below.) Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a mixer – I used my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment – beat together the vegetable oil, sugar and eggs on high until it’s well-blended. Turn your mixer down to medium and mix in the dry ingredients just until blended. Mix in the sliced apples and vanilla. Pour the batter into your pan, bake for an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half. (75 to 90 minutes or so), or until your cake tester comes out clean and dry when you insert it in the middle. Cool it slightly while in the pan on the rack, then after 15 minutes or so, turn it out of the pan to cool the rest of the way.

Side Note: Normally I’d use a round bundt pan but this time I poured a large mason jar about 1/2 full of batter and the rest of the batter in a 9″ round cake pan, and baked them at the same time so I can send a jar cake to my husband in Afghanistan. Here is a tutorial on how to bake jar cakes to send to soldiers overseas.

Cake 19: Cherry Upside-Down Cake

This is the cake using the other tied ingredient you voted on – balsamic vinegar. (The first one was beer which I used in chocolate beer cake)

This cake could be made in the traditional upside down cake fashion – in a cast-iron skillet in the oven. However, I do not own one, so I had to use my regular 9-inch round cake pan and it turned out just fine. Just line the 9″ pan with parchment paper.

I apologize for the lack of photos. I left my camera in Kansas City and won’t be back there to pick it up until next week. I promise I’ll edit the post and add photos soon!

Cherry Upside Down Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.75 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 0.25 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups whole pitted cherries
  • 1.25 cups all purpose flour
  • 0.25 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 0.75 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 0.5 cup whole milk
  • 0.25 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cherry Upside Down Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, melt 1/4 cup of the butter, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar together over medium heat and stir together until sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to high and stir in the cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir together. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Whisk the dry ingredients – flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt – in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of butter, then the sugar, until light and fluffy, or for about three minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Alternate adding the dry ingredients mixture and the milk about half of each at a time.

In a clean, dry bowl with clean, dry beaters, beat your egg whites until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiffer. Fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the batter with a spatula at a time.

Pour the cherry mixture into your 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper and greased for baking. Spoon the cake batter over the cherries then spread it evenly (the batter is thick). Bake about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and as usual, your tester comes out clean.  Cool right-side up on a rack for about 5 to 10 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place your serving platter upside down on top of it, and flip it over. Leave the pan on it for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan, fix the inevitable dropped cherries and cool the cake completely.

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