Mint Chocolate Cake

by Jillian
Irresistibly moist layers of chocolate cake filled with fluffy mint Oreo mousse, frosted in mint buttercream, and enrobed in dark chocolate ganache!

Irresistibly moist layers of chocolate cake filled with fluffy mint Oreo mousse, frosted in mint buttercream, and enrobed in dark chocolate ganache!

Mint chocolate is probably one of the most exquisite flavor duos in the dessert arena. When you combine the deep richness of chocolate with the cool, yet refreshing sweetness of mint, you really can’t go wrong. And with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I can’t think of a more perfect flavor combo to devote my next dessert to.

Friends, I give you one of the most scrumptious cakes to ever grace you with its presence…

Sumptuously moist, lusciously rich, and magnificently minty, this cake is as much of a show stopper for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. This minty masterpiece contains perfectly moist chocolate cake layered between light and fluffy mint Oreo mousse, which is frosted with creamy mint buttercream, and generously drizzled in a glistening cloak of ganache. If you have a mint chocolate fan in the household, THIS is the cake of their dreams!

As far as the cake goes, I used my trusty chocolate cake recipe. I’ve used this in both my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and my Ghostly Black Velvet Cake, and it has NEVER failed me. Here’s what makes it so great:

  1. Cocoa Powder AND Semi-Sweet Chocolate: It contains both cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate, giving it the most intense chocolate flavor. This chocolatey richness is enhanced even further, thanks to the addition of instant espresso powder and hot water.
  2. Vegetable Oil and Buttermilk: Although butter is great for flavor, vegetable oil achieves a moister cake. Another crucial ingredient for producing that moist and tender crumb is buttermilk. It also adds flavor and gives cakes a higher rise and lighter texture. However, if you’re like me and never have buttermilk on hand, just make your own! All you have to do is add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a glass measuring cup and pour in enough milk to equal 1 cup. Stir it together and allow it to sit for a few minutes before adding it to the batter.

Tips for Making Prettylicious Cakes:

  1. Level the Cakes: Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a sharp serrated knife or a cake leveler to cut the humps off of the cakes. Not only does this result in a perfectly flat top, but it also makes the cake much studier and more stable. Save the scraps for a late night snack… 😉
  2. Skewer the Cake: With tall, narrow cakes like this one, I like to ensure that they won’t shift or topple over by inserting a few long bamboo skewers. This also makes it easier to frost, since the cakes won’t move as you spread the frosting onto the cake. I usually insert three skewers in the formation of a triangle, about an inch apart from each other. 
  3. Chill the Cake: Once filled, chill the cake for at least an hour. The more solid the cake is, the more stable and EASIER it is to frost it.
  4. Crumb Coat: A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting spread around the entire cake. This helps to lock in any loose crumbs and smooth out any imperfections. That way, when you frost it with the second coat of frosting, the cake will look perfectly polished and professional. 

Although this cake contains a lot of different components, the good news is that the filling and buttercream are made together. You’ll start by making the mint buttercream first. Just beat some butter, a dash of salt, and several cups of powdered sugar in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Then add some heavy cream, vanilla, and mint extract, beating until nice and fluffy. You can either use peppermint or mint extract. Just make sure not to add too much, or you’ll end up with toothpaste instead of frosting.

Now that you’ve got your frosting, remove a cup of it. (This will be incorporated into the Oreo filling later on.) To the big bowl of frosting, add green food coloring. I used Wilton’s gel colors. I also added a little bit of blue food coloring to create a “mintier” pastel shade. Be sure to start off small! You can always add, but you can’t take out.

The filling could not be any easier to make. Just combine that reserved cup of frosting with some cream cheese, fold in some whipped cream, then toss in some chopped mint Oreos. That’s it! Easy peasy, minty squeezy, and BOY does it taste PHEnomenal!

Drip Tips:

  1. To prevent the ganache from dripping too quickly down the sides of the cake, I recommend placing the ganache into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. You want it kind of thick, but still drizzleable, if that makes sense. You can also test it out on one side (the ugly side, of course) of the cake to see if it’s ready to drizzle.
  2. When you’re ready to drizzle, make sure to start with the sides of the cake before covering the top. This will ensure that you have a nice seamlessly smooth finish on the top of the cake. 
  3. Use a Lazy Susan/turntable, if you have one. This will make the drizzling process SO MUCH easier since you can use one hand to continuously turn the cake and the other hand to pour the ganache along the edges. For this cake, I used a regular utensil spoon to drizzle the ganache along the sides.

Once the cake is enrobed in that luscious ganache, crown it with a minty flower crown of buttercream. And if you really want to up the minty ante, top it with some Andes mints. Not only does it add an elegant touch, but it’ll leave you with the best breath after enjoying a slice of this luxurious cake.

Irresistibly moist layers of chocolate cake filled with fluffy mint Oreo mousse, frosted in mint buttercream, and enrobed in dark chocolate ganache!

Mint Chocolate Cake

Irresistibly moist layers of chocolate cake filled with fluffy mint Oreo mousse, frosted in mint buttercream, and enrobed in dark chocolate ganache!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Slices

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Mint Buttercream/Filling:

  • 1 ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon mint extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Green and blue food coloring**
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 8 Mint Oreos, coarsely chopped

Ganache:

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • cup heavy cream

For Assembly:

  • Mint Oreos
  • Andes Mints

Instructions
 

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line four 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease with butter or nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir the boiling water, espresso powder, and semi-sweet chocolate together until chocolate has dissolved and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until combined.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla together. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add the cooled espresso-chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.
  • Divide batter evenly among the four pans and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before flipping out of pans and onto a wire rack.

Make the Buttercream/Filling:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on high until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix on high for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, mint extract, and heavy cream and continue beating until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove 1 cup of the frosting and set aside for the filling. Add food coloring to the bowl of buttercream and beat until combined. Transfer buttercream to a separate bowl, then return bowl to mixer.
  • In the mixer, beat the cream cheese and reserved 1 cup of buttercream on high until creamy. Add half of the whipped cream, and continue beating until combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in the rest of the whipped cream along with the chopped Oreos.

To Assemble:

  • Place one cake layer on cake pedestal or plate. Top with 1/3 of the filling. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and filling. Place filled cake into the freezer for at least an hour to firm up the filling as well as to ensure easier frosting.
  • Remove cake from freezer, frost top and sides with a thin layer of buttercream--this will be the crumb coat. Return to freezer for 30 minutes or until buttercream is solid. Remove cake from freezer and frost with another layer of buttercream.
  • Make the ganache by placing the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the heavy cream into a glass measuring cup, and heat in the microwave until it just starts to boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and stir until smooth.
  • Using a small spoon, carefully pour the ganache along the edges of the cake, allowing the ganache to drip down the sides.**** Once the sides are done, pour a few tablespoons of the ganache into the center of the cake, and use an offset spatula to fill in the top of the cake.
  • Decorate the cake with remaining frosting and Andes mints. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
  • If not serving right away, cake can be wrapped loosely with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

*Buttermilk can be substituted by adding 1 Tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a glass measuring cup, and then pouring in enough milk to the 1 cup measuring line.
**I used a mix of green and blue food coloring to achieve a "minty" pastel color.
***If your cake feels unstable/wobbly after it's fully-frosted, stick 3 long skewers into the cake--it should form a triangle. This will ensure that your cake doesn't lean or shift.
****If the ganache runs down the sides of the cake too quickly, return the cake to the freezer for about 15 minutes. Chilling the cake will slow down the drip.
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