Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 2011

Chocolate Mint Cake
I finally tried the Chocolate Mint Cake recipe my friend, Diana, gave me. I took it to a Christmas party and it was a total success! After frosting the cake with mint icing (be sure to use the peppermint flavor from Wilton, it really gives it a POW! ... availabe at any WalMart in Wilton cake decorating supplies) I drizzed on the the ganache and let it drip down the sides. I placed half a peppermint patty between piped shells, but it would be just as easy to chop the peppermint and sprinkle around the edges!

1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peppermint Frosting (recipe follows)
Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
Peppermint or Creme de Menthe candies for garnish

Melt chocolate morsels in microwave safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth.

Beat softened butter and brown sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended after each. Add melted chocolate, beating until incorporated.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream while beating. Add vanilla. Spoon batter evenly into two greased and floured 10 in. round cake pans. Tip: Using cake pan bottom as template, trace two 10 in. circles onto brown paper bag or parchment paper.  Trim and place circles into bottom of cake pans before pouring in batter. After cake cools, peel off circles for a perfect finish for icing cake!

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool completely. Spread Peppermint Frosting between layers, on sides, and top of cake. Spread Chocolate Ganache evenly on top of cake, letting it drip over edges and down sides. Garnish with chopped peppermint patties or chopped creme de menthe candies.

Peppermint Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil

Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar and milk, alternately, beating well after each. Add peppermint oil; mix well.

Chocolate Ganache
1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons butter

Microwave semisweet chocolate and whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth; whisk in butter. Let stand for 20 minutes before using. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer about 3 minutes until soft peaks form.

Well, I finally made something that I pinned on Pinterest !
I seem to spend more time browsing Pinterest for ideas than I do actually working on projects...until now! I actually combined two pins: this one for a DIY wreath ( and this one for needle craft wreathes ( I already had red, green and gold Christmas yarn left over from stockings, so I just wrapped a small amount around styrofoam balls to create my 'ornaments.' After using hot glue to attach the larger yarn balls to the wreath, I began filling in with the small ones and finishing with tiny, inexpensive dollar store ornaments. Finally, I added some left over poinsettas and a pair of knitting needles. I love to knit, so this wreath has become my new Christmas favorite!

Southern Living