Fresh mint leaves, not mint extract, make the flavor of this layer cake truly special. Because the flavor of the mint is so natural and subtle, we added it to the rich devil’s food-like cake layers and the fluffy buttercream frosting. The trick to extracting the most fresh mint flavor is to bruise the mint leaves by slapping them a few times between your hands. This helps the oils in the leaves come out more easily. Then, steep the mint sprigs in hot water (for the cake layers) and cook them in butter (for the frosting). The flavor of this cake can’t be beat. If you’re a fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream, this might become your new favorite dessert.
Baking spray with flour
1/2 cup boiling water
4 mint sprigs, bruised
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (about 5 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (16 oz.) unsalted butter
12 large mint leaves, bruised
4 cups (about 12 oz.) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Mint green liquid food coloring
Mint sprigs, mini chocolate chips
Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper.
Place boiling water and mint sprigs in a heatproof bowl. Let steep 10 minutes. Discard mint, and stir in chocolate chips; let stand 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk in oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in wet ingredients. Pour batter evenly (about 2 cups per pan) into prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Prepare the Frosting: Place butter and mint leaves in a small saucepan over low. Cook, stirring often, until butter is melted and begins to foam, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; discard mint. Transfer mint butter to a heatproof bowl, and refrigerate until re-solidified but still soft, about 1 1/2 hours.
Beat mint butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the cream until combined. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes, adding remaining cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency if needed. Beat in 1 drop liquid food coloring, adding more, if necessary, until desired color of pale green is reached.
Spread 1 cup frosting between cake layers; spread a thin layer on top and sides of cake, smoothing with a spatula. Chill cake and remaining frosting 30 minutes. Spread remaining chilled frosting on top and sides of cake. Chill cake until firm enough to cut, about 1 hour. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
As posted on SOUTHERNLIVING.COM.