Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Claire's Chocolate Peppermint
Dragon Princess Cake: Recipe

My niece was very specific about what kind of cake she wanted at her 9th birthday last weekend. Chocolate cake with pink peppermint frosting with a dragon on top. I had my marching orders and made this cake. It was a hit with kids and grown-ups alike... We finished every morsel.

The cake is adapted from a recipe by Edna Lewis, and the frosting is your basic 7-minute boiled frosting with peppermint oil and a drop of red food coloring.

Claire's Chocolate Peppermint Dragon Princess Cake

THE CAKE:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup strong coffee
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped, preferably Scharfenberger
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

THE FROSTING:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint oil (or to taste)
A couple dashes red food coloring

IMBIBING SYRUP:
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3-4 Tbsp vanilla, rum, brandy, bourbon or liqeuer



For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Sift together sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

3. Pour the hot coffee over the finely chopped chocolate, and allow chocolate to melt completely.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil, followed by the sour cream, vanilla, and coffee-chocolate mixture.

5. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients by thirds, stirring well after each addition until completely blended.

6. Divide the batter evenly between two buttered and floured parchment-lined 9-inch cake pans. Drop each cake pan once onto the counter from a height of 3 inches, to remove any large air pockets, which could cause holes or tunnels in the baked cake layers.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cake springs back slightly when gently tapped in the center or a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Remove immediately to cooling racks, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before turning out of the pans. Allow to cool completely before imbibing and frosting.

For the frosting:

1. Mix together the egg whites, salt, tartar, water and syrup in a heat proof boil or the top of a double boiler.

2. Set the bowl or boiler-top over a pan of rapidly simmering water. Beat constantly for about 7 minutes until the frosting is thick.

3. Remove from the heat and beat to cool. Add the peppermint oil to taste and the red food coloring drop by drop until you have achieved the shade of pink you want.

For the syrup:

1. Heat the water, then pour it over the sugar to dissolve. Stir in the rum.

2. Spoon the mixture evenly over the unfrosted cakes. It will absorb instantly and make the cake deliciously moist.

3. Frost the cake and top with a princess, a dragon and candles. Voila!

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