So what had me craving cake? Probably the fact that my newest issue of Food Network Magazine (one of the best magazines out there) had a whole section of different types of cakes. This Grasshopper one caught my eye, partly because it was one of those "naked" type of cake, plus it's chocolate and peppermint, which I've been in a major chocolate mode lately for some reason. So I figured, what the hell, I might as well make myself a cake.
I started by preparing my 8inch pans by spraying them with Baker's Joy and then cutting out circles of parchment paper to put in the bottom of the pans. That was one of those tricks I learned when I was preparing to make my friends' wedding cake. It makes it so much easier to get the cake out of the pan, and not lose a big chunk of the bottom.
Since I was making a chocolate cake, I had to prepare the chocolaty part! I whisked together 1 cup of cocoa powder and 1.5 cups of boiling water. I then set it aside for the very end of the batter prep so it could cool.
This was a very different recipe than I'm used to when it comes to making a cake. I had all the dry ingredients and then added all the wet ingredients into them to finish it off. I always feel like it's the other way around, so I'm doing something wrong. But this was not wrong and so very easy.
I combined 2.5 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1.5 tsp baking bowder, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt together. Just whisking them so they were mixed together evenly.
Then I added in 3 room temperature eggs, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tsps vanilla extract.
Once all those ingredients are mixed together for a few minutes on medium speed, you slow it down to low speed and slowly add in the chocolate! Mix for a minute or two and then finish off by mixing with a spatula. And then you're ready to pour the batter into the pans!
Of course, you have to pick up and drop the pans onto the counter to pop all the air bubbles. I did it many times just because air bubbles kept coming up to the top! But it's good practice to make sure there are no holes in your cake. Luckily, I did not end up with batter on my ceiling (which has happened before). I then baked the cakes for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees! When I took them out to cool, I tried a little Pinterest trick I had seen, where you put a piece of bread on top of the cake while it cools to keep the top of the cake soft. I don't know what does it, but the bread keeps the tops soft and the bread literally feels like it was toasted. It was AWESOME. Science at work people.
Meanwhile, I went ahead and prepped the filling for in-between the layers. You start by bringing 1.5 cups of whole milk to a simmer in a heavy saucepan.
Then in another bowl, you'll combine 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 3/4 tsp peppermint extract, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk.
Once the milk has simmered, add half to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, mix together and then add back to the saucepan. You'll then bring that to a boil while whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Once that's done, pour it into a new bowl, add in 3oz (or 3/8 cup) of white chocolate and 1 drop of green food coloring to give it that "natural" minty color.
Then cover with plastic wrap (pushed all the way down to the top of the mixture) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
[Side note: at this point, I went to a yoga class and when I came home, I walked in and was hit in the face with the smell of chocolate cake. It was pretty much the most amazing thing ever because sometimes I don't notice the baking smell since I'm around it the whole time.]
So back to the cake and putting it all together! I sliced off the top of the bottom layer using my fun little cake leveler tool that I love.
Then I mixed in a bunch of mini chocolate chips into the middle minty mixture and poured it onto the bottom layer.
When I put the second layer on top (which I decided not to level because I kind of wanted to go for the dome look), I realized I clearly put too much of the minty filling on because it started exploding out the sides. Whatever! It'll still be delicious and gave it a....uh....unique look to it! Right, unique. We'll go with that.
For the topping, I made homemade whipped cream by combining 1.5 cups of cold heavy cream, 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar, and 1/8 tsp peppermint extract. I plopped that on and then went a little overboard topping it with some mini chocolate chips.
It doesn't look pretty by any means, but it sure does look delicious, and it tastes amazing too!! Craving satisfied.
[Final Side Note - which is more of a question: How is it that someone who can bake a cake can NEVER seem to be able to bake a potato all the way through, no matter how long it bakes for??? Serious FAIL.]