Friday, March 16, 2012

Mint Chocolate Leprechaun Cake

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When I was little, my favorite color was purple. I loved purple shirts, purple crayons, purple freeze pops, purple people-eaters... And then, suddenly, I was just tired of it, so I changed my mind and decided my favorite color was green. An excellent choice, if I do say so myself. The only bad thing is, I choke on green freeze pops pretty much every time I eat one. Lame.

Every St. Patrick's Day, I get all decked out in as much of that blessed Irish green as possible or suffer the pinches of a handful of eager siblings and our dear father. This year is no exception. I have some green shoes and several appropriately colored shirts just kickin it in my closet, begging me to wear them now!

But I'm not stopping there this year. It's time to go green from the inside out. It's time for a striped leprechaun cake! The bonus being you get all that green goodness without the chokeable aspect of those lime-flavored tubes of ice.

This cake is striped vertically (to make leprechauns feel taller) with super moist chocolate and mint cake, covered in the fluffiest vanilla buttercream I ever made in my life, coated with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with shimmering gold dust. Seriously, what leprechaun wouldn't be attracted to this!

So Happy St. Patty's Day (tomorrow)!

Mint Chocolate Leprechaun Cake [click to print]
Makes one super thick 9" round layer (which I strongly recommend) OR three 8" round layers

  • 4 large eggs, whole
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. mint extract
  • green gel food coloring
  • edible gold pearl dust
Line cake pan(s) with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F if using 9x3" round cake pan or 350 F if using 8x1" round cake pans. 

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, vanilla and 1/4 c. buttermilk. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, powder and salt. Add remaining buttermilk and butter; beat on low speed until combined then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Add egg mixture in about three additions and continue beating until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Divide batter in half. Add cocoa to half the batter and stir until evenly distributed. Add mint extract and food coloring (I used about 1 tsp) to the other half of the batter and stir to combine. 

Starting with chocolate, pour about 1/2 c. batter into center of pan, then pour 1/2 c. mint batter directly in center of chocolate to create a second layer. Continue alternating batters, always pouring in center of pan, allowing a few seconds between each addition for batter to start spreading (by itself, don't you dare spread it out with your cute little spatula!) towards edges of pan. Once your pan(s) are filled, bake 9" layer for 65-75 minutes or bake 8" layers for 28-32 minutes. 

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream
Makes enough to frost top and sides of 9" layer cake, you might want to double it if you are filling and frosting three 8" layers instead.
  • 3-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3-5 T. milk
Combine sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in large mixing bowl and beat on low until just combined, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency. You want this stuff to be able to hold a peak and not just run right off the cake. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 

Semisweet Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 1 cup, just enough to smother the top of this cake!
  • 3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c. heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate in small bowl and set aside. Heat cream on stovetop until just frothy and steaming. Remove from heat before it boils and pour over chocolate. Allow mixture to sit about 2 minutes and then whisk until smooth. 

Allow ganache to cool to room temperature and thicken just enough to coat a spoon. 

To Assemble the Goodness

When cake is completely cool, spread a nice thick coating of frosting and allow to set about 15 minutes in refrigerator. Pour ganache in center of cake and spread over surface, allowing it to drip down over edges.

Sprinkle gold dust over surface of cake and enjoy!

Source: Cake adapted from Sweetapolita, Ganache from Betty Crocker


  1. Bet you had all kinds of tiny footprints running around your place trying to get their hands on this one! It's a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Even one of my friends who claims he doesn't like cake (ridiculous) ate a piece and liked it, but of course, who wouldn't when it's sprinkled with gold!


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