Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cake of the Week: Mint Chocolate Pound-ish Cake

People go crazy for mint chocolate. Just think of all the candy devoted to this delicious duo: Junior Mints (my movie theater candy of choice, thanks to my dad), Andes Mints, Peppermint Patties. There’s also mint mochas (omg, yum!), mint chip ice cream, grasshopper pies, Thin Mints, brownies, cookies, mint mint mint mint!

So let me add just one more to your minty chocolatey arsenal – Mint Chocolate Pound-ish Cake.

This recipe turned out FABULOUSLY. Let me explain:

I started with the Chocolate Pound Cake recipe from my new book, All Cakes Considered. I’m sure the recipe is great as written (I have a lot of faith in all things NPR), but obviously I had to make some of my own adjustments. I wanted to cut down on some of the fat (the prescribed 1 stick butter plus 1 cup shortening seemed like just too much).

So I made a few adjustments, involving apple sauce and a bit of extra baking powder. The resulting cake was light, much more sponge/angel food cake-ish than pound cakey.

 And then of course, the minty goodness. You may remember that I received some fantastic peanut butter for my birthday…well let me tell you what else I got. Erin sent me five different cake flavoring oils! I’ve never even heard of these before, and I couldn’t find any recipes or instructions on how to use them. So I thought a simple chocolate cake would be the perfect template for my flavor experimentation. Just three small drops of mint chocolate flavoring oil was plenty for this entire cake. Any more would have been over-kill.

Topped with a light milk chocolate glaze, this cake is pretty darn perfect.

Also you may notice that my cake pictures look better than normal today. That is because after much swearing and frustration, I asked one of my roommates (who knows/cares much more about photography than me) to be my cake photographer. Because food photography is much harder than you think. Lighting and flash and colors. Ugh! I don't even want to go there. (Usually I take about 30 pictures, then go through and find the few that turned out ok by chance.) But these pictures are beautiful right? All hail the PhotoMan! Glory and riches and honor to him!

Here is the original recipe, with my changes highlighted in green.

Chocolate Pound Cake

Recipe by Melissa Gray in All Cakes Considered

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup shortening - I did 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce instead

1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon baking powder - I did 1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 large eggs

- Three drops mint chocolate cake flavoring oil (add just a bit, then mix it in and taste. Be careful, this is an instance when less is more! The flavors will intensify with baking.)

1. Position a rack so the cake will sit in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of your tube pan with parchment paper and spray the sides and bottom with baking spray. (I don't have a tube pan, so I just used a bundt cake pan.)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, dry whisk the flour, sugar, and cocoa together.

3. Gradually add the butter, shortening (or applesauce), and milk and beat on medium speed until smooth.

4. Add the baking powder and salt, and beat until incorporated.

5. Still on medium speed, add the vanilla extract and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the flavoring oil to taste.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick or thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and flip it onto a rack or plate. Continue cooling the cake.


3 tablespoons butter

1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 cup milk

2 cups (maybe a little more) confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Soften butter. Beat ingredients together, adding milk until it reaches a consistency half-way between spreadable and drippy. 

Spoon over cooled cake. 

Even if you don't like mint chocolate, this cake is great! Make it just normal chocolate, or experiment with other flavorings (get excited, I have 4 more flavorings to try!).