I cannot think of anything more comforting than a mug of hot chocolate after a long day of sledding. Feeling the warmth emanate from the mug as you wrap your chilly fingers around it and draw it near. Steam rising as you gently blow. Marshmallows bobbing on top in a slow steady melting dance of yum. It’s quite possibly my favourite tradition of winter. And this Mint Hot Chocolate Cake is everything you need to chase away those winter chills.
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Cold Days: Warm Hearts
After a rather early and surprising snowfall this year my children have been out in the backfield sledding all day long. They come bursting in the back door with rosy cheeks and runny noses asking for a cup of hot chocolate as they strip off mittens, toques, snow pants, and scarves.
Straight to the table to they go awaiting that first sip of hot chocolate to warm them inside out. I grab a kitchen pot and fill it full of water. On to the stove, it goes to heat up and come to a gentle boil. With a splash of cold almond milk, a healthy scoop (or two) of hot chocolate mix, and a sprinkle of mini marshmallows I have 3 happy little snow-chilled children.
How We Hot Chocolate
We recently expanded our hot chocolate world and tried out a few fun new premium vegan hot chocolate flavours by Castle Kitchen Foods and as soon as we had the first sip of the Marvelous Mint we all agreed that it needed to be “CAKED.” Using my go-to chocolate cake as a base, I subbed in this amazing vegan mint hot chocolate mix for the cocoa powder and used almond milk instead of the usual hot coffee.
And on that note: do you make your hot chocolate with milk or water? I used to, while in the depth of my eating disorder (read about it here) that I would only make my hot chocolate for my kids with water. Mostly because if I should happen to have a sip, there would be fewer calories in it.
But now, a few years into recovery, we are all appreciating a bit more food freedom around here and that means making hot chocolate with milk. It really does add that extra level of yum, right?! So the next time the forecast looks a tad bit wintery, get out your hot chocolate mix and marshmallows and bake up this totally delicious Mint Hot Chocolate cake and let it warm you from the inside out!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add all the dry ingredients and give a quick whisk together.
Add in the milk, vegetable or canola oil, and vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated.
Pour in the vinegar and mix until fully incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix the batter at this stage.
Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.
Marshmallow Fluff Filling
In a medium pot bring the water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and place the candy thermometer in.
Prepare your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment by quickly wiping it down with vinegar and a paper towel to get rid of any oil.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
When the sugar syrup mixture reaches 225°F start the stand mixer on low and increase to medium. Stop when soft peaks are achieved which should take approximately 3-4 minutes.
Remove the sugar syrup mixture from the heat once it reaches 240°F and very carefully pour the syrup into the stand mixer while mixing on low.
Once the syrup is in the mixer turn the speed up to medium-high and let whip for approx 6-8 minutes or until the mixture is thicky and glossy.
Add in the vanilla or almond extract and mix until combined.
Allow to fully cool before filling the cake with marshmallow fluff.
Mint Hot Chocolate Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5-10 minutes.
Add in the icing sugar, mint hot chocolate mix, salt, vanilla extract, and milk and mix on low until combined.
Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Chocolate Ganache Drip
In a microwave-safe bowl heat the chocolate and milk in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Stir between each interval.
Depending on the kind of milk, the drip may require a touch more milk to thin or a few more pieces of chocolate to thicken. *I always test my chocolate ganache drips over the edge of the kitchen sink before applying to a cake to check the consistency.
Place one leveled layer of mint hot chocolate cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately 1 ½ cups of buttercream.
Pipe a buttercream border around the edges and fill with approximately 1 cup of marshmallow filling.
Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides of the cake with the cake comb to create a textured finish. Put back in the refrigerator to chill.
On a well-chilled cake, with a spoon or a piping bag, drip the warm chocolate ganache over the edges of the cake and put it back in the refrigerator.
Decorate as you please. I used mini marshmallows around the top edge and sprinkled a bit of mint hot chocolate powder inside the marshmallow border. Enjoy.