Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Cake, as seen on Channel 3

Sweet Marias Bakery Waterbury. (Facebook)

This devils food cake with peppermint buttercream is a sweet way to celebrate the season. It can be simply decorated in a “naked cake” style or a “drip” cake.

Make one 9-inch round cake, about 15 servings.

for Cake: 1 cup cocoa 1 cup water, boiling 2 cups flour 1 ½ cups sugar 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 cup buttermilk ½ cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extractIn a small bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa. Stir until mixed. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Set aside.

In an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until blended.

Add eggs and cocoa mixture. Blend on low speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.

Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into pans.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tester comes out with a fine crumb. Remove pan from the oven.

Remove cakes from the pan and cool on wire cooling rack. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting ½ pound butter, softened 6 cups confectioners sugar 1 teaspoon peppermint extract ¼-1/2 cup waterIn an electric mixer on low speed, cream the butter. Add 4 cups of the confectioners sugar, vanilla and water. Beat until well blended. Gradually add the remaining sugar.

Beat on high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container. Bring frosting to room temperature before using. If necessary, add additional water for easier spreading.

Ganache for Drip (optional) 1 cup heavy cream 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, ( or white chocolate) finely choppedMake ganache. In a small saucepan, heat cream until boiling. Pour over chocolate. Whisk until melted and smooth. (Can be made 2 to 3 days in advance. Store refrigerated, in an airtight container. Gently microwave to re-heat .)

Assemble cake.

Trim the tops of cake layers, if necessary. Place one layer, cut side down onto serving plate.

Pipe a dam of buttercream around the edge of the layer. Spread additional buttercream in the dam.

Base coat the entire cake with buttercream. No need to fuss with the icing and any crumbs. That’s the casual look of this cake. (or simply pipe a dam, fill dam with buttercream, simply ice the top of the cake.)

Refrigerate base coated cake for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you are doing a drip cake, Pour spoonfuls of ganache onto the top edges of the cake. For proper dripping consistency the ganache should be like thin pudding. If it’s too runny, refrigerate. If it’s too thick, simply microwave to desired consistency. Let ganache drip down the sides of the cake.

Top with festive holiday cookies, and crushed mints. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Maria Bruscino Sanchez

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