Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

Oy. Why is it so hard to bounce back after the holidays? Somehow the scent of an evergreen tree and a few twinkling lights signal to my brain that I should never have to work again. O, delicious laziness. Then the calendar changes, the supply of be-sprinkled Christmas cookies dries up, and cold hard reality finally sets in.

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake |

Sadly, other people are being productive again. And they expect the same from me. Like, on a daily basis. And my stash of cookies is long gone. Reality bites indeed.

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake |

I know everyone else has been blogging and going about their lives like champs for nearly two weeks now, but I’m still in mourning for the laziness that was. Time to console myself with cake.

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake |

I don’t have a favorite dessert, but I would say that my favorite flavor combination is chocolate and mint. My go-to birthday pick is always warm brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I can positively murder a bag of Andes mints if I’m left unattended with them. So obviously, this cake is my jam. It’s made with moist devil’s food cake, and filled with a smooth, creamy mint buttercream flecked with bits of dark chocolate.

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake |

This poor cake barely lasted two days in our house. First of all, I obviously ate this entire huge slice during the course of photographing it. Obviously. Then afterwards, I would invent ridiculous reasons to go into the kitchen (“I need more tinfoil for this hat of mine! Off to the kitchen I go!”). Three or four slivers of cake later, I’d leave and promise myself I was done….only to come back 20 minutes later and repeat the whole process.

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake |

I have no regrets, though. Regrets are so 2012. Instead, I’m auld lang syne-ing and remembering this bad boy with fondness, and vowing to make it at least once or twice more this year. And may I suggest that you do the same?

Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
yield: one 9-inch layer cake [I made two 6” cakes, which is why the one in the picture looks smaller]

Print this Recipe!

For the Cake:
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 oz butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup water, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Andes mints, plus additional for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray them well with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk or sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine the butter and the granulated sugar. Beat them together on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes, until they’re light, fluffy, and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until they’re fully incorporated.

Combine the water and the milk. With the mixer running on low speed, add about a third of the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl. When they are almost completely mixed in, pour in half of the water-milk mixture, and let it mix together Add half of the remaining drys, then when those are mixed, add the remaining wet ingredients. Finally, finish off by adding the last of the drys. Stop when the streaks of flour are almost completely gone. Add the miniature chocolate chips and chopped Andes mints, and stir everything together by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is well-mixed.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the pans and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes, until the tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes our clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert from the pans and let cool completely.

For the Mint Chocolate Chip Buttercream:
4 oz dark chocolate
9 egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 lb butter, at room temperature
2 tsp peppermint extract
A few drops green food coloring

Using a box grater, grate the dark chocolate until it is in small chunks or shards. Set aside for now.

Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar.

Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment. Beat the whites on high speed until they are no longer warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the room temperature butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Add the mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring, until you get a nice light mint green. (A drop or two of yellow might help as well, depending on your food coloring.

Stir in the shredded chocolate by hand. The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.

For the Optional Ganache Topping:
3 oz heavy cream
3 oz (about 1/2 cup) finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and heat it over medium-high heat until it simmers and is just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for one minute to soften the chocolate. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth and shiny. Set aside until it is warm and still fluid, but not hot. This can be made in advance and re-warmed in the microwave before assembling the cake. You will probably have some ganache left over after decorating the cake, and you can either serve it with the cake, or chill it and roll it into balls to make truffles.

To Assemble the Cake:
Chill the layers—I like to wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until they are cold but not rock-hard. When they are slightly frozen they are sturdier and easier to cut and move without crumbling.

Use a long serrated knife to cut the cakes in half. Place one half on a cardboard cake round, and spoon about a cup of frosting on top of it. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top, going all the way to the sides of the cake. Place another cake round on top of the frosted one, and make sure the sides line up evenly. Add more frosting to this top round, and continue to layer the cake and spread frosting. Once all the layers are stacked, use a spatula to spread more frosting on the top and sides of the cake. This frosting won’t ever get super-smooth, due to the chocolate chip bits, so you don’t have to worry about getting the sides perfectly even.

If you would like to decorate the cake as pictured, spoon the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes around the border of the cake, making sure they touch each other. Warm up the ganache, if necessary, until it is pourable and smooth. Pour a thin layer into the center of the cake and spread it to the inside edges of the rosettes. Top the cake with more Andes mints if desired. Chill it to set the ganache, for about an hour, then bring it back to room temperature so that the frosting is soft and supple. (The ganache will keep its body once it has been chilled.) Enjoy!

28 Responses to Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
  1. Danguole says:

    Mint and chocolate is definitely up there for me too! Though it may be a tie with orange and chocolate. Beautiful cake!

    P.s. I’m glad you were lazy, because I was definitely lazier. Slacker high five!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Wow! Found this beauty on Foodgawker, thank you!!

  3. Wow, a perfect cake with lovely frosting! You made it so flawlessly…

  4. OMG! I’m trying to stay on a diet here!! This cake is killing me, I love chocolate and mint together too. That’s ok, I’ll dream about it tonight.

  5. Saw your photo on FoodGawker and had to come and see the most seductive and mouth-watering cake I have seen in a long time. Love your photos. Happy New Year!

  6. marla says:

    Such a fun layer cake!!

  7. kate lindsey says:

    The heating of the egg whites is throwing me for a loop. Is this a way to ‘pasteurize’ the eggs?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Kate, I’d say the big benefit behind heating the whites is to give the frosting stability, to allow it to thicken and hold its shape properly. You may have seen other meringue-based frostings tha call for adding a hot sugar syrup to whites, and that’s a similar idea. (And marshmallows also start this way.) It does cook the eggs somewhat, but that’s a side benefit.

  8. Rachael says:

    I love this idea! It looks perfect, and I’d love to eat it for every meal of the day…probably with a side of mint chocolate chip ice cream to boot.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. Lisa says:

    I actually made this cake and I LOVED it, but….my finely chopped andes mints and mini chocolate chips sank to the bottom of my cake pan. It wasn’t awful, but there was definitely a crunchy candy layer. Also, I made the buttercream the night before icing (I ran out of time) and discovered it had broken overnight and needed to be re-whipped before icing the cake. Any ideas why?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Lisa! So sorry to hear that your chips sunk–that’s a bummer. Mine didn’t sink, but when that happens to me in other recipes, I try this trick: don’t mix the chips in with the batter. Instead, pour the batter into the pans and then sprinkle the chips on top. Swirl with a knife to mix them around so that they’re not all on top. This seems to help, since even if they sink they started out toward the top, so they end up somewhere in the middle of the cake.

      The buttercream problem sounds pretty standard. Meringue-based buttercreams tend to get really spongy when they sit overnight, so I always advise to re-whip them if they’ve sat for any significant amount of time–even a few hours can make them spongy and weird. Did you keep it chilled and then have it come to room temp before using it? If it sat at room temperature that could account for it being broken.

      Glad you enjoyed it despite the hiccups!

      • Lisa says:

        The “chip sprinkle” technique is GENIUS! I would have never thought of that. I wasn’t too worried about the broken buttercream. It did sit out overnight because I knew I’d be a work all day and it would have been too cold if I took it out when I got home. Lesson learned though, I will not add things to buttercream until I am absolutely ready to use it.

  10. Laura says:

    I just discovered your blog and am LOVING it! Mint chocolate is my favorite too… so I am totally lusting after this cake.

  11. Gail says:

    Made this cake for my daughter’s birthday.i added more butter because 4oz. sounded like an odd amount (is that correct?) and didnt look right when creamed together with the sugar. I’m quite curious to know if it turns out well with only 4 oz. of butter… Anyway the cake was absolutely delicious. Made a stabilized whipped cream frosting using the same add-ins as the buttercream and it was a nice balance to the rich cake. Thanks for the idea, we will be making this cake again. YUM!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Gail!

      So glad for the feedback and that you enjoyed the cake. I think whipped cream is a great buttercream alternative and might try that myself sometime! 4 oz is actually the correct amount of butter in the cake, but I think the problem might be in my description–when combined with the sugar it is still somewhat sandy, perhaps not “light and fluffy” like the recipe states. Apologies. But I am glad to know that it works with more butter–do you remember the amount you used?


  12. wowhh..gorgeous…
    perfect mint chocolate cake…yummmmm!!!!

  13. Johlene says:

    When I saw this cake I just knew I had to make it and I´m going to..!! It looks soooooo YUMMY!!

    Greetings from Spain,
    Johlene recently posted…Dark chocolate Bundt Cake with caramelized orange

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  15. Made this today. Assembled it a bit different. Wish I could add a picture.

    Accidentally mixed sugar and butter together for icing and pasteurized the egg whites alone… Still turned out UNBELIEVABLE!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Carla, I’m so glad to hear that! Sorry that I don’t have the ability to have viewers load their own pictures, but if you’d like to send me one I would love to see it! elizabeth at Thanks for the comment!

  16. margaret says:

    I just baked this cake and had a huge problem, it began overflowing from the pans in the oven, smoke everywhere.
    I had to shut off the over and take out the cakes, regretfully, threw one out, the other although burned on top, uncooked inside but like a pudding so we ate it. it was delicious but not what it was suppose to be. what could have gone wrong?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Margaret, I’m so sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t work for you. Can you confirm what size pan you used? It calls for 9″ pans–any chance you used 8″ instead? What size is the height of the sides? A standard 2″ height should be fine, so I can’t imagine that’s the problem, unless you have freakishly short cake pans, which doesn’t seem likely. The other option is a mistake in the leavening–if too much baking soda was used, that could cause it to expand too much. And you didn’t use self-rising flour, right? That would also be a problem with the additional baking soda.

  17. Renee says:

    Hi! Fantastic site…just doscovered it and I’ll definitely be a regular :) about to try this cake and see a contradiction which poses a question.. In the beginning of the cake portion of the recipe is see a water/milk mixture (1/2 cup each)…below that it instructs when/where to add the “water/coffee” mixture….yet coffee is not stated in list of ingredients :( help! I don’t want to make it wrong. Do I put coffee instead of milk or is milk needed as well? I do know coffee is pretty standard in a chocolate cake…. as is milk!

    Planning to put this together in a few hours. Thanks!

    Also…is this better chilled before serving if made ahead of time?


    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Renee, So sorry for the confusion, and thank you for catching that typo! It should say “water/milk” mixture–so the ingredients are correct. You can actually substitute room temp coffee for the water if desired, but definitely make sure that half of the liquid is milk and half is either water or coffee! Does that make sense?

      This cake is definitely better at room temperature. If you are making it in advance and are worried about it getting too warm you can refrigerate it, but I would definitely leave it out of the fridge for at least an hour before serving so that the frosting is creamy and the cake is moist, instead of both being hard and cold. :) Enjoy, hope you love it!!

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