Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Peppermint Mocha Cake

Happy New Year! After a little holiday break from blogging, it's nice to be back here. I have a growing list of blog post ideas, so let's get 2013 started!

I know early January is a time for resolutions and plans to become a better person during the coming year, but most resolutions are broken before the year is over. So why not indulge a few days early in the peppermint mocha cake I baked for Christmas with John's siblings? We can always go to the gym afterwards ;)

Instead of messing with a good thing, I used my now favorite chocolate cake recipe as the base and added some minty goodness in the frosting. It turns out John and my brother-in-law have quite the affinity for candy canes, preferrably those "seasoned" on a Christmas tree (even for a few hours), so this cake was a big hit.

Peppermint Mocha Cake
Cake adapted from The Brooklyn Kitchen
Frosting adapted from Eat Live Run


1 cup flavorful dark beer – I used Stone Brewing Co. Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. You can also use something like Rogue Mocha Porter, Lagunitas Cappucino Stout, or Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder)
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I used Medaglia D'Oro)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.

Combine the beer and butter in a large sauce pan and heat to melt.

Remove from heat; whisk in the cocoa, sugar, and espresso.

In your mixer, beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Add the beer mixture a little at a time. It'll still be warm (or hot) and you don't want scrambled eggs.

Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter. Mix until combined.

Divide evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 35 minutes. Test with a toothpick to be sure they're baked through.

Cool completely on a rack.

Peppermint Frosting
Note: Make more frosting if you want to frost the sides of the cake too.

1 stick butter, softened
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
Crushed candy canes (about 2)

Beat the butter in a mixer with the whisk attachment until soft.

Add the milk, peppermint extract, and the powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) to the butter and continue to beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.  

Frost liberally and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.
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