No problem, I thought. And when Hubby found a picture of one, I figured I could handle it. But Hubby wanted me to use the recipe that went along with the picture. A recipe that several commenters had specifically said they had troubles with.
Hubby tends to latch onto something and get excited about it.
So I planned to do just that. I would follow her recipe. After all, she had dozens of cakes and such on her blog that she had made. She probably knew what she was doing.
And, to be fair, I often have found that people who are newer to baking don't speak quite the same language as people who are experienced bakers. I get that. I started out not knowing a lot and have gotten better with more experience too. In a few more years, I hope to be even more so.
And, as it so happened, all we really needed was the peppermint extract and the candies. We had everything else on hand. It's sounding better and better.
So here it is:
(It did not turn out very pretty. I was somewhat disappointed. I think it would have been prettier had I done the things below.)
Her recipe is here. However, let me just say that, while she is apparently pretty talented at making beautiful cakes, I'm not sure she is much on the recipe front. I have decided that I will use her blog for inspiration and ideas but not necessarily her recipes. Again, I highly recommend that you don't use this particular recipe as it is on her blog.
I think that I should have gone with my instincts and just used my tried and true recipes. For instance, I would have used this one for the chocolate cake. I did not add chopped candies into my cake as the recipe called for since so many people said they sank and stuck. After mixing up her cake 'batter' which looked like chocolate water to me, I can see why they would sink. The candies weren't the only thing that might sink either. My cake layers looked like craters from sinking in the middle. I managed to cover a lot with buttercream.
If you wanted to add the candies to your cake though, I think you could get away with it in a proper home made cake batter. They tend to be more dense. You would want to coat the candy pieces in flour and only very gently mix them in right before you poured it into the pans. You could probably even wait and sprinkle them on top of the batter in the pan if you were concerned.
And then I wish I had used the good old Wilton Buttercream recipe with a teaspoon of peppermint extract or so to flavor it. The frosting she used was very bland, seeming to rely on the peppermint rather than a good foundation buttercream.
To make up for not putting candies in the cake, I put a layer of the buttercream on top of the bottom cake round, then chopped up some Andes mints (about 6-8) to sprinkle all over it before placing the other cake round on top. We should find those candies in between cake layers that way with each bite.
As for the ganache, I'm not sure what I would use or if I even would use it. If I wanted to use it, I would look for a recipe that was a lot less runny. Even after an hour or more in the refrigerator, this was so runny it just made a mess. I halved it since I was using 9-inch pans and knew I didn't want to use much of it anyway. I still ended up washing some down the sink. I probably only used about a 1/3 of the ganache recipe but it still was so runny it made a mess. Here's one that sounds more like what she wanted to accomplish. I'm not sure why it didn't work but I think maybe she just had entirely too much liquid.
What sounds better to me is to maybe use some hot fudge or even just melt some chocolate and drizzle it.
Obviously, this is the only recipe from this site that I have tried but it didn't make a good impression. I have one other that I would like to try. I am a little leery now though. In case you wanted to try it my way and just so this can be a true "Monday's Menu," I've put the recipes for the chocolate cake and buttercream below. If you try her recipe and have better luck, let me know. Maybe I can figure out what went wrong.
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans or line muffin tins with paper cups. Mix together shortening, sugar, and cocoa. Add water and beat until smooth. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to shortening mixture and beat until blended. Add egg, vanilla, and sour cream and beat until creamy. Spoon into prepared pans or fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until pick inserted comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
For Mint Chocolate cake: Frost bottom layer with peppermint buttercream. Chop about 1/8 cup Andes mints and sprinkle over buttercream. Top with another cake layer. Frost entire cake. Garnish with Andes mints and decorate as desired.