Candy Cane Cake

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      Candy Cane Cake

      For the Chocolate Cake:
      12 tbs butter, at room temperature
      3/4 cup granulated sugar
      3/4 cup brown sugar
      3 eggs, at room temperature
      1 tbs vanilla extract
      1.5 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
      2 cups all-purpose flour
      1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      1.5 tsp baking soda
      3/4 tsp salt

      For the Frosting:
      3/4 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites
      6 cups powdered sugar
      1/2 tsp salt
      6 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
      1 tbs vanilla extract
      2 tsp peppermint extract
      6 oz​ unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
      1 cup candy cane bits
      3 cups chocolate curls or chocolate sprinkles

      To Make the Cake:
      Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350°.
      Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 min. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, and beat well until everything is fully incorporated.
      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, add a quarter of the sifted flour mixture. When the flour streaks have almost all disappeared, add a third of the buttermilk to the mixing bowl. When that’s incorporated, continue to add the dry and wet in an alternating pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
      When the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated, stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and finish mixing the cake by hand. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the cakes for 22-25 min, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the cakes completely before using.

      To Make the Frosting and Assemble:
      Combine the whites, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix everything together on low speed, until the sugar is moistened and no dry patches remain. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat on medium for 5 min.
      After 5 min, turn the mixer to medium-low and start adding the softened room temperature butter, 1-2 tbs at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and peppermint extract and mix it in. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides once more. Turn the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 10 min.
      Divide the buttercream in half. Add the candy cane bits to half of the frosting, and mix in the melted, cooled unsweetened chocolate to the other half.
      To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake cardboard, and put it on a cake turntable, if available. Scoop half of the candy cane frosting on top of the cake, and spread it into an even layer. Place a second cake layer on the frosting, and spread the remaining candy cane frosting on top of the cake. Finally, add the third cake layer on top. Spread a very thin layer of chocolate frosting all over the top and sides of the cake—this is the “crumb coat,” to lock in any stray crumbs from the cake. Refrigerate the cake briefly, for about 30 min, so the crumb coat can firm up.
      Spread a thicker layer of frosting along the top and sides of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, as any imperfections will be covered up! Place the chocolate curls or chocolate sprinkles in a large shallow pie tin or bowl. Hold the cake in one hand, keeping it over the pie tin, and use the other hand to scoop up handfuls of chocolate sprinkles and press them into the sides of the cake, letting the excess drop back into the container.
      Transfer the remaining chocolate frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe rosettes of frosting all along the outer edge of the cake. Press a mini candy cane into each rosette, and serve! Serves 16
      1heartjar smilie

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