Since we already got the holiday ball rolling with last week’s post (and it’s only the day after Thanksgiving!), I feel it’s only appropriate to continue with the theme this week. And since a blogger holiday dessert contest opportunity (more on that later) presented itself in the meantime, I’m definitely going to proceed with my version of holiday cheer.
This dessert began as a birthday cake for the youngest of our four spawn. Hard as it was for us to grasp (me in particular), we no longer have children. That’s right. We’re now the proud owners of four teenagers. The baby of the family turned thirteen and the event has forever tainted my image of motherhood. I feel my parental duties have evolved into the equivalent of zoo keeping skills and not much more. Keeping the kitchen stocked with a constant supply of food for three boys is no easy task (thankfully our oldest, the daughter, is now taken care of by dorm meal tickets and a nearby Trader Joe’s). They all have their own very specific food preferences, making my job as the family meal planner a complicated one.
It seems the only time my job allows for much creativity is when someone’s birthday rolls around. I’ll take a dinner request from the birthday person (which for the kids always seems to be the same dinner; I’ll be posting about that soon) and ingredient requests for the official birthday dessert (the creative part). For some reason, the newly–minted teenager wanted a bundt cake for his dessert choice this year. I’m guessing it had something to do with the persimmon bundt I made recently. Apparently, it was a bigger hit than I imagined it would be, so who was I to question his choice?
Keeping his favorite flavors in mind (chocolate, cinnamon and mint); I devised a recipe for a bundt cake that would not only blow his socks off, but satisfy my holiday dessert requirements. Luckily, it wasn’t much of a stretch…all three flavors are staple holiday baking ingredients. In fact, all I had to do was add cinnamon to an old favorite recipe for chocolate cake that I have. The icing recipe comes from Bon Appétit (which, by the way, also lists their recipe for a Chocolate-Cinnamon Bundt Cake—I chose to use my tried and true recipe for a simple buttermilk chocolate cake instead). Adding cinnamon to the cake recipe was a cinch, but I wanted to do more than just add mint extract to the icing to fulfill the mint request. So what did I do? I relied on my old friend Trader Joe to help me out on that one.
TJ’s already has their holiday selection of goodies lining the shelves, so all I did was peruse this year’s assorted holiday offerings. Lo and behold, they had a White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Bar that worked perfectly. It looks and tastes like the candy bark you see advertised everywhere this time of year (although the peppermint candy is more finely chopped and imbedded in the chocolate rather than sprinkled on top). I liked the way the chocolate pieces appeared two–toned after I chopped up the bar—white on one side; brown on the other. Unfortunately, the colors of the peppermint candy didn’t shine through as much as I wanted, so I looked through my baking supplies and found some little red cinnamon candies to add some holiday flair to the picture. I also discovered some clear glitter flakes and some chocolate pearls lurking towards the back of my cabinet (I’ve really got to organize my shelves someday!). Once I drizzled on the icing and sprinkled on all of the above, my monotone cake transformed into the holiday–themed dessert (and birthday cake) I envisioned.
Now, about that holiday dessert contest I mentioned earlier. Bon Appétit is having a Blog Envy Bake–Off. They’re collecting holiday dessert recipes from bloggers and asking people to vote for the tastiest looking ones in each category. The first stage of this contest is based on popular vote as the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen is going to bake the top scoring recipe in each of the four categories. They will then select the overall winner and grace them with a trip for two to New York City to have dinner with a couple of esteemed editors from Bon Appétit. How’s that for a dinner reservation! The Wine Imbiber and I could really use a little jaunt like that! And to think you all can help make it happen. Just go to the Bon Appétit contest site and look for my recipe in the Cakes category—the first category to come up. And there’s a bonus for your effort…when you vote, you’ll become eligible to win (from Bon Appétit) an epicurean adventure in the U.S. city of your choice or a Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center (not to mention the undying gratitude you’ll be getting from me!). So make a mama happy and get a votin’. You have until December 13th. I’m a little late to the game (this contest opened on November 1st) so I need all the votes I can get ASAP! And without further delay, here’s the recipe.
WI wine recommendation: With its cinnamon spice as a base and the mocha mint on top, this cake pairs well with an off–dry Riesling.
Cocoa Cinnamon Cake With Mocha Mint Icing
(Icing recipe from Bon Appétit)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light–colored oil (I always use grapeseed oil)
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2–3 ounces of chopped white/dark chocolate peppermint bark
1–2 tablespoons of little red cinnamon candies
1–2 tablespoons of chocolate pearls (I used the crispy variety)
1 tablespoon of clear glitter flakes
Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously grease a large (12–15 cup) bundt pan with cooking spray or oil.
Bring the butter, oil and water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sift the next six ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot butter mixture into the bowl and stir well.
Mix together the last 3 ingredients in a small bowl and then add into the bowl of batter and stir.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes (or until a toothpick tests clean).
Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before attempting removal (otherwise it could break).
Meanwhile, stir the brown sugar, espresso powder and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add butter and the chocolate chips; stir until butter and chocolate melt. Cool slightly.
Once it has cooled, turn the cake onto a serving plate and drizzle the icing on with a spoon. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate peppermint bark, cinnamon candies, chocolate pearls and glitter flakes on top of the icing before it has a chance to set up. Serve it up!
December 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm
Tweets that mention Wine Imbiber » I'm Dreaming of a Dinner in New York City! -- Topsy.com said:
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bon Appetit Magazine, Amber McKnight. Amber McKnight said: RT @bonappetitmag: Yum! COCOA CINNAMON CAKE W/ MOCHA MINT ICING from The Wine Imbiber. http://bit.ly/4xfGcO Link to vote http://bit.ly/3 … […]
Sue B said:
Wow~What a beautiful cake! I think I might try this for our Christmas brunch this year. Thanks!
Kathy Grossman said:
I have a suggestion for the devoted mint lovers out there. Try chopping up some of those York Peppermint Patties for a topping, or even some crushed candy canes. Yum!
Jay B. said:
Can’t wait to try this recipe out.
The pictures look so delicious.
– Jay B.
Awww, sorry to see that I missed the deadline to vote for you! Your cake looks awesome and will be a perfect dessert for my family’s holiday dinner.
Good luck in the contest!!!