Breaking (sort of) from my tradition (and mission) to bake only from vintage recipe cards and original source cookbooks, I bring you this impressive and delicious cake from my Christmas gift (thanks, Alyssa!), a wonderful new book called Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.
I made it at the request of my children for our family Christmas dinner, and I'm glad I did; it was a huge hit. And looked better than my usual "homemade" looking confections. (It does taste like a peppermint patty, btw, and I should know, having eating a two-pound bag of them during a recent visit with my mother.)
It's not super easy to make, but certainly worth the effort. Basically, it's a flourless chocolate cake topped by a layer of peppermint flavored white chocolate ganache and then a bittersweet chocolate ganache.
Unlike many other recipes in the book, it's not actually a reformulated vintage recipe, but the author's ode to the popularity of peppermint flavored cakes in general, which gained popularity in the 1940s and 50s.
I'm paraphrasing the recipe below, but I do encourage you to buy this fabulous cookbook.
The cake must be prepared the day before you plan to serve it.
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbls. vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 c. plus 2 tbls. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 350.
Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by lining the bottom with a parchment paper circle. Do not grease.
Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on low speed and slowly add 1/2 c. sugar. Turn the speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, about six minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy, then slowly add the remaining 2 tbls. sugar, whipping until the whites hold medium soft peaks.
Carefully fold the whites into the chocolate batter.
Pour into the prepared pan, and place in the middle of the oven.
Bake about 45 minutes until the top is cracked, loses its shine and is firm to the touch. The center can still be wiggly.
8 oz. real white chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint oil or 1 tbls. peppermint extract
Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer, but not boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and cover with a lid for five minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and peppermint.
With the cake still in the pan, pour the white chocolate mixture on top. The cake should have a depression in its center, and the white chocolate should fill it. Place it in the refrigerator overnight, covered with plastic wrap.
Run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the pan.
1/2 c. heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Place chocolate in a small bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. Pour over chocolate and cover with a lid for five minutes. When it's still warm, pour over the white filling.
Top photo, courtesy of my wonderful and talented brother-in-law Bob LaRosa.