Kitchen Adventures: Peppermint and chocolate goodness

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

At Christmastime, there are so many great baking ideas to celebrate the season. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which ones you want to try.


I ran across a recipe for candy cane cake that caught my attention. After deciding to make it, I looked at the recipe more closely to discover it was made with an angel food cake. For some reason this did not sound like a tasty combination with the peppermint so I went an entirely different direction.

Instead of the angel food version, I made a mocha peppermint cake and made up the recipe on the spot.

Chocolate peppermint bark is always tasty so a chocolate and peppermint combination sounded like it would work well. Adding the taste of coffee to anything chocolate always sounds like a good idea to me.

The mocha peppermint cake project was a go.

I learned a coffee substitution trick from a recipe for mocha cookies and decide to use it with this cake. Take regular chocolate or devil's-food cake mix and, in place of the water called for in the instructions, use coffee. You don’t have to make a whole pot of coffee for this step. If you make a pot in the morning just keep enough from the pot to set aside for the cake.

After making the cake I thought covering the entire thing with whipped cream icing might be a bit too much. Instead, you can spread the icing in-between the layers of cake and on top of the cake but not the sides. Not only do you not get icing overload but it also gives the cake an artistic touch.

The result was a great-tasting cake with Christmas flair.

After making this cake, I went to a ladies event at church and tasted a cake I wish I had known about before fixing the mocha peppermint cake. This one was a peppermint hot chocolate cake featured in “Southern Living” magazine.

The mocha cake was good and very easy, but this one was delicious.

I have not made it so I cannot tell you how easy or difficult it is to make, but it was too good no to share. The lady who made it for the event said it wasn’t hard; it just had a lot of steps. In one step, she even forgot to add one of the ingredients and it turned out fine.

All I can tell you is it is scrumptious.

I included the recipe in case you want to give it a try. I know I will sometime in the future.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.


Mocha Peppermint Cake
1 box of chocolate or devil's-food cake mix plus the ingredients listed on the box to prepare the cake
Enough leftover coffee in the pot to substitute for the water needed in the box ingredients
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar 
8 ounces peppermint candy canes

Prepare the cake per the instructions on the box but substitute the coffee for the water.
Pour into two greased round cake pans and bake per the instructions on the box.
When the cakes have baked, cool completely.
To prepare the whipped cream frosting, first let the bowl and mixer beaters chill in the refrigerator. After they are chilled beat the cream with the ¼ cup of sugar until soft peaks form.
Ice the cooled cake.
Crush the candy canes in a sealed plastic bag until they are in small pieces. Then sprinkle the frosting with the crushed candy canes.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup boiling water
1 (4-ounce.) milk chocolate baking bar, chopped
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk 

Fudge Filling
1 (14-ounce.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oounce package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
1 (8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract 

Rolled wafers and crushed peppermints for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
Pour boiling water over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating until blended. Combine flour and next three ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
Beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form; gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Fudge Filling.
Combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate morsels in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, four to six minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in peppermint extract. Cool filling to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Spread filling between cake layers.

Next prepare the frosting. Beat marshmallow crème, whipped topping and peppermint extract at high speed with an electric mixer one to two minutes or until glossy, stiff peaks form.
Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. Top with crushed peppermints.
Place rolled wafers vertically around the sides of the cake for a decorative touch. 

Britainy Shaw, Burleson, Texas, “Southern Living”