Monday, December 6, 2010

'Tis the Season for Chocolate, Peppermint and More Chocolate


As my first semester as a graduate student comes to an end, my Education Psychology Professor announced we would be having a potluck for the last class. Since I haven't baked in a while, I thought this would be a nice time to do it. So I made a triple-chocolate cake with chocolate-peppermint filling (Bon Appetit 2001).

Maybe I'm still tired from the weekend or a little brain-fried from the semester - working full time and being a full-time student is no easy task I've discovered, but I missed some steps in the recipe. I think the cake will still taste ok, but I guess my Education Psychology class will find out tomorrow. I completely forgot to put vanilla in the cake and I failed to notice that the cake should be baked as one layer and divided in half (I used two pans). Whoops! With three types of chocolate and almost three sticks of butter, how could this taste wrong?

This recipe is a little high maintenence, but it looks awfully festive and from what I tried of the glaze, it is going to be delicious.

Ingredients:
8 ounces imported milk chocolate (such as Lindt) finely chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cake:
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze:
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

12 whole red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, chopped (I used candy canes)

For Filling:
Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan. Pour hot mixture over chocolate; add extract and let stand 1 minute. Whisk until mixture is smooth. let filing stand at room temperature while cake is baking and cooling.

For Cake:
Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 350F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch high sides. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust pan with flour. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in both sugars, then vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each. Mix in chocolate chips.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack. Peel off parchment. Col completely.

Using electric mixer, beat filling until fluffy and lightened in color, about 30 seconds. Using serrated knife, cut cake horizontally in half. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on rack set over baking sheet. Spread filling over. Top with second layer, cut side down. Chill filled cake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze:
Stir chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Mix in extract. Cool glaze until just lukewarm but still pourable, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Pour 1/2 cup glaze over center of cake. Spread over top and sides of cake. Chill until glaze sets, about 15 minutes. Pour remaining glaze over center of cake, then spread quickly over top and sides. Chill until glaze sets about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Before continuing, let stand at room temperature until softened, about 4 hours.)

Sprinkle candies around top edge of cake.