Cakes are not really my thing. I like cakes, I think they’re really pretty. I covet them on Pinterest, gawk at them in the wild, and every so often I convince myself I am capable of a fancy cake project. I always emerge from the experience sufficiently humbled and filled with an enormous amount of respect for those who can wield buttercream with a deft hand. Today’s Inside Out Peppermint Patty Cake was no exception to this rule. Cakes are hard. Like, so hard!
This Inside Out Peppermint Patty Cake was my most successful (and ambitious) cake attempt by far. I had never attempted a three layer cake before because, quite frankly, they scare me. This experience has by no means quieted that fear but it is comforting to know that I can survive it. I may not always be so lucky but knowing it’s possible is nice.
Honestly, icing this cake was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done in my kitchen. Believe me, I was a misery to put up with while I was frosting this baby. The crumb layer went on without a fight and this success lulled me into a false sense of security. The subsequent layer was a total b*tch! My self-esteem collapsed. I deflated and tapped into the whiniest side of myself. It wasn’t pretty but somehow I managed to power through and (miraculously) keep my boyfriend in the process. But I’m still a little dismayed by the somewhat lumpy finish of the buttercream. That being said, I learned a lot about buttercream, so I think once I regain my courage and attempt this again, it will be a smoother experience. For the next little while, though, I think I’m going to stick to pie.
Although my decorating skills are quite obviously fledgling, the cake itself is fantastic. The Midnight Cake is a coffee-soaked, rich chocolate affair that is complex and flavorful rather than decidedly sweet. And I was not shy with the butter or the peppermint in the Peppermint Buttercream. So regardless of your decorating skill, you’re destined to wind up with a tasty cake at the very least.
If you’re not into using 8 cups of icing sugar for the buttercream (I feel ya, I had a hard time with that too) you can halve the recipe and go for the naked cake look. Honestly, given the amount of cursing that went into frosting this sucker, that probably would’ve been the better choice for me.
Cart this Inside Out Peppermint Patty Cake to your holiday table and see if you don’t win a few extra fans. It’s simultaneously seasonal, rich and refreshing. What more could you ask for?
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark (65-70%) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 8 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heaving cream
- 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Grease three 10-inch cake pans with butter and set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Pour the Greek yogurt into another medium-sized mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot coffee to prevent the yogurt from curdling. Add the butter and vanilla extract. Next add the eggs one by one, whisking continuously.
- Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans, about 630 grams of batter per pan. Fit each pan with a damp Bake-Even Strip and place in the oven. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes or until the cakes are set and a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
- Set the cakes on a cooling rack. Once cooled, place the cakes in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before icing.
- Place the butter in the mixing bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the butter until relatively smooth.
- Begin adding the icing sugar in 1/4 cup increments, adding more once the previous 1/4 cup is integrated into the butter.
- Add the salt, then add the heavy cream in tablespoon increments.
- Next, add the peppermint extract and whip on high for 3-minutes.
- Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If you choose to refrigerate, let the buttercream warm up before using. You may want to give it a quick whip in your stand-mixer as well.
- Take a 1/4 cup of the Peppermint Buttercream and add a small amount of light blue colour gel. Whisk to integrate.
- Using a piping bag, tine the edge of a cake layer with white Peppermint Buttercream. Using a large offset spatula, spread additional buttercream in the center of the buttercream circle. The cake layer should be covered in an even layer of white buttercream.
- Place another cake layer on top of the buttercream and repeat.
- Place the final cake layer on top of the second layer of buttercream. Cover the entire cake in a thin layer of buttercream, this is called a crumb layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 20 minutes.
- Once the cake is chilled, cover the cake in the rest of the white Peppermint Buttercream. If you find your spatula is sticking, heat it up under hot water and wipe it clean before proceeding. You'll want to do this quiet regularly.
- Add smears of the blue buttercream at random to the cake. Use an icing smoother to integrate streaks of the blue buttercream into the white.
- Decorate the top of the cake with sprinkles, buttercream flourishes and pomegranate arils.