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Ellen’s Kitchen & Garden

Peppermint Chocolate Layered Cake can become a “Drum Cake”

Posted Thursday,
December 17, 2015
Like 2 · 0 ·
Photos/Ellen Fox Emerson
With extra icing, candy canes and cherries, the cake gets an entirely different look.
In its simple, classic form, the cake works well for Christmas dinner dessert.
Click here for information about Ellen’s new cookbook, “No Sacrifices — Entertaining Gluten-Free.”
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Peppermint and chocolate seem a perfect pairing among so many options for holiday desserts.

This a cake will work for Christmas dinner or, with a little adaptation, for a young boy’s birthday party. The same recipe, with extra frosting and some candy canes, gives it a completely different look.

I first thought about making this for Christmas — a chocolate cake with peppermint icing. Then, I remembered a special young man’s birthday this Saturday, Dec. 19. A good friend’s grandson, Jackson has Celiac disease. I know it must be so much harder gluten-intolerant children — especially on special occasions.

So, after finishing holiday dessert, I took it a little further and made it into a birthday cake, fashioned after a drum. I saw a picture of this cake in one of my mother’s cookbooks when I was a little girl. Being a tomboy, I had hoped my mother would make it for me. That never happened. So, finally I have the opportunity to make it for someone else.

As it turns out, peppermint ranks among Jackson’s favorite flavors. How fortuitous is that?


Chocolate Layer Cake (Gluten-Free)

2 cups gluten-free flour *
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup coffee
4 extra large eggs

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and then lightly dust with flour. Measure all of the ingredients. Bring the buttermilk and eggs to room temperature before starting. (Batters made with ingredients brought to room temperature blend more evenly.)

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on a low speed and using the paddle attachment, add the water, buttermilk, vegetable oil and coffee to the dry mixture. Add the eggs one at a time and, after all is blended, continue beating at a medium high speed for 2 or 3 more minutes. (I do this while I’m getting the cake pans ready. This adds more air bubbles for a higher rising cake.)

Once mixed, divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake layers. If it comes out cleanly, they’re done. Let cool completely, at least two hours. Once completely cooled, cut the cake layers in half horizontally and then frost each layer of the cake. With each layer, sprinkle with the crushed candy cane. This gives it a little surprise and extra burst of peppermint.

*Flour blend:

1 ¼ cups sorghum flour
1 ¼ cups white rice flour
1 cup potato starch (not flour)
1 cup sweet rice flour

Peppermint Butter Cream Frosting
Yields about 4 to 5 cups

1 cup softened sweet cream butter, unsalted
6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
8 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
6 candy canes (crushed)

In the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, cream the butter 3 to 5 minutes until light in color and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add one cup of sifted sugar at a time to the butter, alternating with one tablespoon of cream. When all of the ingredients are blended add the peppermint. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.

This frosting can be made a week in advance and kept refrigerated or stored in the freezer up to 3 months. Just bring to room temperature before using and re-beat.


Frosting for Peppermint Drum Cake
Yields about 7 cups

24 tablespoons butter
¾ cup whipping cream
3 teaspoons peppermint extract
12 to 14 straight candy canes
7 to 8 maraschino cherries

Make the cake as directed above. This second frosting recipe provides enough to cover the sides as well as each layer.

Frost each layer. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane and then frost the sides of the cake.

Carefully place the candy cane sticks in upside-down V-shapes and top each point with a maraschino cherry.

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