Monday, February 2, 2015

Real Buttercream Chocolate Peppermint Cake or The Mistake Cake 2.0

Looking at the picture, I could have improved my technique somewhat.

There are random bits of Baker's Chocolate in the icing that remained solid.  If I had added some cream to the Baker's Chocolate and melted it, it would have blended more evenly into the icing. Since the cream goes into the icing anyway, I could have made a ganache by adding the cream to the chocolate, then melting them slowly together.  That resulting ganache would have mixed easier than the rather stiff Baker's Chocolate.

Three squares of Baker's Chocolate went into the icing.  You never add cocoa to an existing recipe that doesn't call for it since it will throw off the mix.  Melt chocolate in a Bain Marie, in your microwave, double boiler, then fold it in to the recipe.  You will have a much better result, and it won't be dried out.  Cocoa is a wonderful thing, but it is dry as dust and it will suck all the moisture out of your recipe.

I could have also used Chocolate Chips.  It would have made for a much sweeter icing, but that wasn't necessary.  This icing will be my "Go-To" icing from this point forward.

It REALLY is THAT good!

The Starmints were melted to "glass" and could have been sanded on the edges for a sharper look.  They weren't running into the icing, even after three days and the last pieces of cake were enjoyed.


This turned out to be one of the tastiest cakes I have made in a very long time, and I do make them often.

First of all, it is what I will call the "Mistake Cake 2.0".  When I was in Key West, FL for a visit, I went to a small shop a couple blocks off of Duval street.  The place was a wonderful shop, run by an amazing, warm, and friendly woman named Henrietta.  Her shop was called The Art Of Baking.  Henrietta had this "Mistake Cake" that was a deep, dark, and rich Chocolate cake.  I love a good chocolate cake, and this was an excellent one.


Henrietta was apologizing because she had made a mistake and dropped a teaspoon of peppermint oil into the cake batter.  She didn't know how it was, and I told her it sounded wonderful and I'd have it anyway. 

Watching me take my first forkful, Henrietta hovered like a mother watching her child take their first step.

The cake was amazing.  We enjoyed it together, and a conversation.  From that point forward I asked of her and her business, and ... well you get the picture.

What happened was she moved "back to the mainland".  From what I can tell she's in Midway, Georgia, doing private baking.  If I ever go back up there, I will certainly try to find her.  All the information after around 2009 gets a bit sketchy.


The decorations are simple and can be done at the same time as any other baking.  On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, place the needed Starmints or hard candies face down.  Separate the candies well or they will run together and create a sheet of "glass" for you - unless that is what you want.  Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 4 to 6 minutes.  At 4 minutes, check the candies - remove if done.  Trim edges with a knife.

The cake is simple, the actual recipe for the cake is my scratch chocolate cake batter, baked in 9 inch round pans for two layers.  Add one teaspoon of Real Peppermint Extract to the cake batter.

If scratch cake is a bit much, try a chocolate cake mix from a box.  But remember to add the teaspoon of Peppermint Extract.

Now for the good stuff.  The icing.  Unlike most icings that use shortening, this is a true buttercream.  There is no cooking, there are no weird preparations.  It has to be done with a mixer, and I recommend a stand mixer.  If you want to make this icing as a Yellow/White icing, leave out the chocolate.  If you want to make this without the peppermint extract, I recommend adding in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and that will give you a "proper" white buttercream icing.  Or even a banana or mango extract.


  • 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature, softened
  • 3 to 4 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract - other extracts can be substituted such as vanilla if desired
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream or Milk
  • Optional - for chocolate icing, melt separately 3 squares Baker's chocolate
  • Optional - pinch of salt


  • Cream your butter well in a stand mixer.  The more you cream the butter, the more fluffy it will be
  • To the creamed butter add in slowly 3 cups of sifted confectioner's sugar.  
  • If a sweeter icing is desired, add up to 4 cups, however I found it to be perfect with 3 cups.
  • Add to the icing base 2 to 3 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream or milk.  I recommend 3 Tablespoons heavy cream.
  • Add to the icing base any flavoring such as your chocolate, vanilla, and peppermint at this time.
  • Mix well to incorporate as much air as possible.
  • This will be very stiff in the refrigerator so only chill when needed.
  • At room temperature, this icing will be soft and creamy.

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