In the process of making this cake I got covered in chocolate. C.O.V.E.R.E.D. Oh and it was 7:30 am. I have mentioned before that Little gets up earlier than anyone should be up. Hence why I was impatiently messing with ganache early one morning.
Word to the wise- wait for the ganache to get thick before pouring it on the cake. When I say thick I mean thick. Be patient. Unless you prefer to be covered in chocolate in which case have at it. I don’t judge. Just don’t do it first thing in the morning. I ate more chocolate than was prudent before finishing my first cup of coffee. It happens sometimes.
I made this cake for my dear friend Mike. He and his lovely better half Bev joined our family of friends a few years back and are two of the kindest, most thoughtful, generous people I have ever met. Mike works in Afghanistan roughly six months out of every year and is heading back soon. We threw a big barbeque at our house so we all had a chance to say “we love you and come back safe!”
In trying to decide what to make for dessert I remembered Mike’s favorite candies are York peppermint patties. Like devour 40 in day kind of favorite. So what better way to send him off but with a cake studded with his very favorite. It was a hit. He devoured a double sized slice in under 5 minutes. The lucky guy even took the leftovers home. Mostly to save me from eating more chocolate than than anyone should first thing the next morning. I appreciated the gesture. Way to take one for the team.
This cake is rich. It is practically a brownie. The whipped cream to top it with is a must as is the mint sauce. Both cut the richness and add great depth. Only make this if you are feeding a crowd. Or want to eat more chocolate than you should. Either is a good choice.
Peppermint Pattie Cake (16 servings)
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (6 ounces) small-diced peppermint pattie candies
1 cup cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Whipped cream, for serving
Mint Syrup, recipe follows, for serving
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Butter a 9 1/2 to 10-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, and flour the pan, tapping out the excess flour.
Melt the chocolate with the butter and cream in the top of a double boiler. Reserve.
In the bowl of a mixer with a whip, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until very thick and light (about 5 minutes). Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix until just blended. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla and mix until combined, scraping the bowl once or twice. Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and stir in the Peppermint Pattie pieces. The mixture will be quite thick.
In a clean mixing bowl, with a clean whip, beat the egg whites to medium soft peaks. Lighten the batter by stirring in about one-third of the egg whites. Fold in the remaining whites and place the batter in the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. The top of the cake will feel set and very fine hairline cracks will just start to form around the edges. Remove and cool in the pan on a rack.
To make the ganache topping:
Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan to just under a boil. Add the chopped chocolate and, over very low heat, constantly stirring, cook the mixture until it is completely smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable. This can take several hours. You can make the topping up to 3 days ahead, refrigerate it, and allow it to come to room temperature for several hours before using. You can also hasten the cooling process by placing the melted ganache over an ice bath and gently stirring it till thickened; however, the resulting texture may not be quite as smooth and creamy.
Place the cooled cake upside down on a cardboard cake circle or a service plate. Remove the sides and bottom of the springform pan. Remove the parchment liner. Using an offset spatula, decoratively spread the ganache over what is now the top of the cake, drawing the ganache all the way out to the edges of the cake. Using the offset spatula, level the edges to give the cake a finished look. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and Mint Syrup.
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and simmer several minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely. Reserve.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Have a strainer and a bowl of ice water at the ready. Working quickly, place the mint leaves in the boiling water and blanch until just wilted (about 10 seconds). Immediately strain the mint and place the leaves directly in the ice water to set their color. Strain the mint again, pressing to remove excess liquid.
Place the mint leaves and half of the reserved syrup in a blender. Puree the mint, stopping several times to scrape down the blender bowl. Add the remaining syrup and blend for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a clean storage container and allow to sit overnight, covered, at room temperature.
Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solid mint puree. Store the syrup, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. Shake or stir lightly before using.
Ps. I know this cake has what feels like 90 million steps and will most likely dirty every dish in your kitchen. It is time consuming and yes it will wreck your kitchen but trust me- it is completely worth it.