We’ve got a lot of energy to direct these days. It’s like a symphony of wrapping presents, hanging holiday decorations, keeping your cat from dangling from all of the hanging holiday decorations (personal problem), gathering, inviting, baking, potlucking… this time of year is ample in its commitments and enjoyment, really.
I have a proposal. Let’s spend some of our good energy making this extra delicious, over-the-top holiday cake. Think chocolate on chocolate, with melted chocolate and fluffy peppermint. It promises to be a show stopper, and why not go for it?
It’s that time of year when the symphony is more grand, the chocolate darker, and our dessert plates topped with that much more decadence. And for that, only one chocolate will do… we’re using DOVE® Chocolate and tripling down.
This post in partnership with DOVE Chocolate // Photography with Jon Melendez.
Now let’s make a cake!
We’ll start by making the homemade marshmallows.
It’s really not as hard as it seems! The satisfaction of making homemade marshmallows far outweighs any intimidation factor. And lemme tell you, you think licking a spatula of cookie dough is good living… licking a spatula of warm marshmallow goop is 8.32 times better. (Science)
It starts with cold water, in two parts.
Gelatin is poured over half of the cold water in the mixer, allowing it to absorb and bloom.
The remaining water is placed in a small saucepan.
To the water we’ll add sugar and corn syrup. This mixture is going to simmer to 240 degrees F. We need the sugar mixture at a specific temperature to keep it pourable and maintain the texture of our marshmallows. You’ll need a candy thermometer so be sure you have one on hand. It’s too hard to tell what 240 degrees looks like with just eyeballs.
The sugar mixture is boiled to temperature then streamed (yes, it’s hot as heck but we’re brave and capable) into the mixer with gelatin. As the mixture is whipped, it becomes white and gooey-fluffy. It’s marshmallow magic really.
Vanilla extract is streamed in towards the end of whisking.
Marshmallow fluff, the sort that runs like a river. It’s a beautiful state.
The the marshmallow (and yes, this is a sticky endeavor) we’ll stir in crushed peppermint candy and coarsely chopped Silky Smooth DOVE Dark Chocolate PROMISES® pieces. A perfect combination that we’ll spoon into a very generously (powder) sugared square baking pan.
As the mixture goes to rest, dry, and settle, it’s showered in one last dose of powdered sugar.
See? All is well and good in the world.
The marshmallows will rest for at least 4 hours… overnight would be perfectly fine too.
Plenty of time to put together our chocolate cake layers.
Let’s start with the dry ingredients in a sifter over a large bowl.
Flour + cocoa powder + baking powder + baking soda + a shake shake shake + salt and a stir.
If we’re talking about dry we’ve got to talk about wet ingredients.
Milk + vegetable oil + eggs + vanilla extract. It’s all very fine and good.
Wet ingredients meet dry ingredients… and how about a little extra dark chocolate. Just for good measure we’ll melt Silky Smooth DOVE Dark Chocolate PROMISES® and add the melted chocolate to the cake batter.
Along with a good dose of strong coffee because the bitterness of coffee is just the right compliment to our creamy dark chocolate.
Pourable and extra chocolate-y. These cakes bake up incredibly moist and delicious.
This recipe has three steps, but we’re in it for the long haul. We’re committed!
We’re making a light, fluffy and super spreadable chocolate frosting using butter, cocoa powder, salt (we all need balance), and melted DOVE Dark Chocolate PROMISES.
The secret to this frosting is adding heavy cream just after the powdered sugar is mixed in. Heavy cream will lighten and aerate as the mixture is whipped, creating the most fluffy frosting. It’s going to be the perfect topping to our cake.
Cake layers are cooled completely (slightly warm would be a disaster so let’s not even go there), and the frosting is spread atop the first layer.
Peppermint marshmallows are sliced and diced, we’ll alternate between big chunks of marshmallow for the top of the cake and smaller, diced marshmallows to fill the space in between the cake layers.
If frosting a cake is intimidating to you, not to worry… there’s a tutorial here! It’s all about confidence, a clean knife, and a good twirl.
More is more is more… or at least that’s what I’ve heard about dark chocolate.
Dove® Dark Chocolate PROMISES dark chocolate is melted over a double boiler and drizzled over the edges and across the top of the cake.
And now the marshmallows.
Listen… this was a long fought battle, but my goodness this cake is all the way worth it.
Soft and tender cake layers surrounded in smooth DOVE® dark chocolate frosting, drizzled with even more dark chocolate and topped with fluffy peppermint marshmallows. It’s one of the more over the top cake endeavors, and really, it’s the holidays and let’s go over the top with our cakes and our Christmas trees!
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, for coating the pan and topping the marshmallows
- 4 ounces DOVE® Dark Chocolate PROMISES pieces, coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces hard peppermint candy, crushed to medium coarse in a plastic bag with a hammer
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces DOVE® Dark Chocolate PROMISES pieces, melted
- 1/2 cup hot black coffee
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces DOVE® Dark Chocolate PROMISES pieces, melted
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream, depending on desired thickness
- To make the marshmallows, pour 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment. Pour the two gelatin packs over the cold water and let sit for about 10 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt and the remaining cold water to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring mixture up to 240 degrees F. There’s no need to stir the mixture, just let it get hot hot hot!
- When the sugar is heated to 240 degrees F, turn the mixer with the gelatin and water on low speed. Carefully stream the hot sugar mixture into the bowl as the whisk moves. Be careful not to pour into the whisk and spatter the hot sugar all over the sides of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until you’ve added all of the hot sugar mixture. Beat on high for several minutes until a thick, fluffy, white marshmallow batter has formed, about 8 minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes.
- Fold the chocolate and peppermint pieces into the marshmallow mixture and spread into prepared pan and smooth with a clean, wet spatula to prevent sticking. Top marshmallow with powdered sugar and let set and rest for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- When set, remove marshmallow from the pan and place on a large cutting board coated with powdered sugar, Use a pizza cutter or large, coated with non-stick cooking spray to slice marshmallows. Coat the knife blade in a bit of powdered sugar if it begins to stick to the marshmallows during slicing.
- To make the cake, place a rack in the center and upper third oven the oven and preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour two round 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a large, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine well and add to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. In a liquid measuring cup of small bowl, whisk together milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Reduce speed and carefully add hot coffee to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute. The batter will be loose.
- Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding vanilla, half of the melted chocolate, and a slash of the heavy cream. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minute, adding more cream as necessary.
- To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on a flat plate or serving tray. Top with a good dollop of frosting, spread to even and place prepared marshmallows atop the frosting. Add remaining cake layer.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with frosting. Drizzle melted chocolate down the sides and across the top of the cake. Top with large marshmallow chunks and refrigerate until ready to serve.