February 28, 2010
Friday was one of those rough days that you can only find around exam time. I was running on espresso and three hours of sleep and the information I was desperately trying to cram in my brain before my 1 p.m. midterm just didn't seem to stick. It didn't help that my Global Health exam was full of words like kwashiorkor and vibrio cholerae (what's wrong with just plain old cholera?). I haven't gotten my grade back so I'm not entirely sure how it went, but I didn't feel too great about it. I don't linger on bad exams, though. After all, what good would that do me? I made an A on the midterm I just took for another class so even if I completely bombed this one all is not lost. Because of my hectic study schedule all week, I hadn't gotten to bake anything which was extremely disappointing. So, I decided what I always do: my cure for the day would be chocolate. I have had my eye on this dark chocolate Peppermint Pattie cake for a good while and it seemed just the trick to make my day better.
I really liked how it turned out. I've only gotten two other reviews of the final product so far but they were rave as well. It looks very pretty on a cake plate so would be great to serve for a nice dinner and I'm sure its moist consistency would go over well with everyone. Since I was just making it to try the recipe out I didn't put too much work into the presentation, but if I was making it to serve to a party I would be sure to purchase some mint leaves to make it look even better. I also think it would go great with homemade whipped cream. Next time I make it I might try adding peppermint extract or more peppermint patties to really bring out the peppermint flavor. In the original recipe it is very subtle. I liked it just how it was, but who wouldn't want a few extra Peppermint Pattie bites?
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattie Cake
Recipe from Sweet Stuff: Karen Barker's American Desserts
Ingredients for the cake:
14 unces semisweet chocolate
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cream
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup small-diced Peppermint Pattie Candies
Ingredients for the ganache topping:
1 cup cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preparation for the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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.
2. Melt the chocolate with the butter and cream in the top of a double boiler. Reserve.
3. In the bowl of a mixer with a whip, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until very thick and light (about five minutes).
4. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix till just blended. Add the flour, salt and vanilla and mix till 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.
5. 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.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. The top of the cake will feel set, and very fine hairline cracks will start to form around the edges. Remove and cool in the pan on a rack.
Preparation for the ganache topping and assembly:
1. 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 as well. 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 as smooth and creamy.
2. 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 and room temperature.