Dark, fudgy layers of chocolate cake hidden beneath minty, green, chocolate flecked buttercream. Think of Mint Choc Chip ice cream turned into a layer cake.
Confession time. Several weeks ago it was my birthday. Though I’m slightly too old to drum-roll the fact these days, I celebrated with this cake. It is based on my childhood favourite ice cream: mint choc chip. It even comes complete with green coloured icing for that authentic retro look. In this cake I have managed to combine 3 of my all-time favourite ingredients – buttermilk, chocolate and mint. What a birthday cake – there’s 3 layers hiding in there – total joy.
And the story of this Mint Choc Chip Layer Cake just keeps getting better and better. This is one giant cake if you want it to be – the recipe is enough for either a 4-layer cake using 6 inch tins or a 3-layer cake using 8 inch tins. All covered in that glorious mint-choc-chip icing that takes you back to seaside holidays as a kid, only without the sand in each mouthful.
I’ve used dark muscovado sugar in the cake mix to enhance the deep colour and provide a dense, fudgy texture, which matches perfectly with the minty fresh buttercream.
Talking about the buttercream, those flecks of chocolate in it do make this cake a very forgiving one. Anybody who gets a bit intimidated by the thought of covering a layer cake should give it a go. There’s really no need to worry about cake crumbs mixing in with the icing, nobody will notice.
If you are not expecting a small army to visit and help demolish the cake with you, you can do like me and store a layer in the freezer ready for when you need a speedy, indulgent accessory to go with berries & ice cream.
I’ve been verging on obsessed by the combination of mint and chocolate for as long as I can remember. And the fixation doesn’t stop at ice cream – After Eights, Mint Aero bars, Fry’s Peppermint creams (♥♥♥), Mint Poppets – all the usual suspects. Do you have a childhood favourite you cannot give up? Have you managed to bring those flavours into a grown-up recipe? I’d love to hear from you.
- 225 g/8 oz Doftened unsalted butter
- 350 g/ 12 1/2 oz Dark muscovado sugar
- 3 Large eggs
- 3 tbsp Cocoa powder mixed plus 3 tbsp boiling water
- 75 g/ 3 oz Dark chocolate - melted
- 150 ml/ 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Buttermilk
- 350 g/ 12 1/2 oz Plain (all purpose) flour
- 4 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 275 ml/ 1 cup + 2 tbsp Water - just boiled
- 250 g/ 9 oz Softened butter
- 75 ml/ 5 tbsp Double (heavy) cream
- 500 g/ 17 1/2 oz Icing sugar
- Colouring gel - mint green (optional)
- Peppermint extract - to taste (I used Star Kay and needed 3 1/2 tsp for a fresh minty taste)
- 75 g/ 3 oz Dark chocolate - chopped fine
- Put some water on to boil in the kettle and preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ GM 4
- Grease and line 4 x 6 inch tins or 3 x 8 inch tins* see notes
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until well combined, then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between each addition
- Mix the cocoa powder and water together to form a smooth paste then add this to the cake batter and beat until well combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix again
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
- Pour half of the buttermilk into the cake batter mix and fold in, using a large metal spoon. Then add half of the flour mixture and fold in. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk and flour
- Add 275ml recently boiled water and stir well. Pour equal amounts into the cake tins and put into the over the bake: around 25-30 minutes for the 6 inch cakes and 30-35 minutes for the 8 inch cakes
- Check that the cakes are cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the centre - it should come out clean. Once cooked, take the cakes out of the oven and let stand for 2 minutes, before removing from the tins and allowing to cool on a wire rack
- Go ahead and bake any remaining cake batter if necessary
- Put the icing sugar, cream and butter into a large bowl and beat until smooth
- If using colouring, add very small amounts of the gel (using the end of a cocktail stick or small knife) mixing well after each addition until you reach a shade that you are satisfied with
- Next, add the peppermint extract. The strength of the peppermint flavour does vary across brands, so do taste as you go. I used 3 1/2 tsp
- Finally, fold the chocolate into the icing until evenly distributed
- To assemble the cake lay one of the layers of cake onto a board and spread a couple of spoonfuls of the icing on top. then add another layer of cake
- Add an equal amount of icing, spread it out and add the third layer of cake. If you are making the 4 layer 6 inch cake, repeat with the final layer of cake
- Once the final layer of cake has been added, carefully spread a thin layer of icing all over the top and sides of the cake - a palette knife is good for this
- This thin layer gives a good base to add the rest of the icing. I found that adding about half of the remaining icing in the next layer, followed by the rest in a final layer produced a good end result
- Move your cake onto a serving plate and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then use your palette knife to put a neat pattern onto cake - I gently pulled my knife from the bottom to the top of the cake all around the sides to give a subtle line effect all around. On the top I pulled the knife from the centre to the edge in a wide arch
1. The quantities listed are enough to make 4 layers in 6 inch tins or 3 layers in 8 inch tins. 2. If, like me, you only have cake tins in pairs, the mixture is fine to sit for the time it takes for the first 2 cakes to cook. Once baked, remove the cakes from the tins as soon as possible. Wash, dry, grease & line the tin/s as before and bake the remaining cake/s.