One of my Mother’s favourite combinations is chocolate and mint, mention the word mint to her and she's like a child in a sweet shop, eyes wide open, alert and in need of a mint fix! I remember as a child and when we would buy ice creams, Cornettos in particular, they were and still are my favourite ice creams ever, I would always get the strawberry flavour without fail, and mum would get mint and then we would sing "Just one Cornetto, give it to me, delicious ice cream, from Italy", it was essential these words be said at some point during the Cornetto experience.
Now, I never really understood chocolate and mint, as a child I would question why on earth would any one eat MINT AND CHOCOLATE, what is this unfamiliar combination?! However, as I have matured, I see the mint and chocolate light, it is a fantastic and refreshing combination, and basically what it means is I can eat more chocolate and not feel heavy because the mint somewhat cuts that heaviness, tactical!
Mums love affair with mint and chocolate extend far beyond our Cornetto eating sessions, Poppets, if you ever came across them, if not, they're little spheres with a filling and a chocolate coating, she was borderline obsessed, still is at that, they're hard to come across so whenever she does come across them, I can guarantee you almost every box within her sight will be hers and will then sit in her sweet draw in the fridge (Mum's fridge is basically composed of four things, yoghurt's, salad, eggs and sweets).
So I decided to make her this, a chocolate mint cake; Mum always moans that I make cakes and being up in the Midlands means she never gets any! This cake was too keep her happy and get me off the hook for a while! So here is my recipe - I'll be honest here I had a nightmare with the first cake recipe, too much oil meant it never got to that cake like texture and was a wobbly mess, so in a rush, I went for my fail safe chocolate cake, a really simple recipe of a few ingredients that works every time, it’s a great base for when something else is the star and it takes the stars flavour on real well.
After Eight Chocolate Mint Cake
Fail Safe Chocolate Cake
2 tbsp boiling water
There are no weights!? That is because you need to weigh the eggs - whatever the weight of all of those eggs together is the weight you should use for the sugar and butter, e.g. 200 grams measured for the eggs, means 200 grams for the sugar and butter. For the flour as were making a chocolate cake, you need to take that initial egg measurement and add only 3/4 of that weight in flour and 1/4 in cocoa powder, so 150 gram flour, 50 grams cocoa powder!
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (fan) / 200°C/390°F (electric) / gas mark 6, line a cake tin with greaseproof paper - I used an 8" inch cake tin.
2. Weight the eggs, and measure out the same weights for the sugar and butter; in a cake mixer, mix on a medium speed, the sugar and butter until you get a light, fluffy mixture
3. With the initial weight of the eggs in mind, measure 3/4 of this in flour, and 1/4 in cocoa powder and sieve these into a bowl
4. On a low speed gradually add the eggs and dry mixture in alternating batches to the sugar and butter; only add the flour once each egg is fully combined into the mixture
5. Once the mixing is complete, remove from the mixer and add 2 tablespoons of boiling water cake mix and gently fold this in
6. Add the cake mix into the cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until firm and a skewer comes out clean
7. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, cut in half and then whack on some buttercream in-between and on the top of the cake!
600 grams (5 cups) icing sugar
230 grams (1 cup / 2 sticks) unsalted butter
115 ml (1/2 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
green food colouring
1. In a bowl roughly mix the sugar, butter, peppermint, vanilla and green food colouring - then, using an electric mixer mix the buttercream until smooth - gradually add the milk until the consistency you want is achieved (you don't need to use all or any of the milk if you wish)
* vaguely mixing you buttercream before you go to town with it in the mixer will stop the icing sugar puffing up everywhere and covering you in sugary goodness!
I used a chocolate ganache to drizzle all over the top of the cake to add some contrasting colours - and let’s face it, we know I have a love affair with chocolate ganache, I couldn't possibly omit from this cake! And of course, this is not a true chocolate mint without the After Eights! I chopped these up, and chucked them around the cake, added some mint leaves for decoration and then it was time to devour - Mum ate half of the cake in 2 days!
This is the cake for a fabulous woman, my Mumzy.