Dark Chocolate Mint Cake

Makes 3 9-inch layers


[li]2 sticks butter
[/li][li]4 cups granulated sugar
[/li][li]Pinch of salt
[/li][li]4 eggs
[/li][li]2 tsp. vanilla extract
[/li][li]6 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
[/li][li]2 cups buttermilk
[/li][li]4 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring)
[/li][li]1 cup boiling hot water
[/li][li]2 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Add salt and eggs and cream together until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla extract, melted chocolate, buttermilk and flour. Continue beating until very smooth. Dissolve baking soda in boiling hot water and add to batter. Beat until well blended. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Mint Filling:

[li]½ cup (1 stick) butter
[/li][li]½ cup shortening
[/li][li]3 cups confectioners’ sugar
[/li][li]1 tbsp. heavy cream
[/li][li]½ tsp. peppermint extract
[/li][li]Few drops green food coloring

Beat butter and shortening together for approximately 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar and cream; continue to beat for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring. Frost the tops of two of the cakes, stack and leave the top cake and all sides unfrosted.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

[li]10 oz. package dark chocolate
[/li][li]½ heavy cream
[/li][li]3 tbsp. butter

Melt ingredients over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let sit for 20 minutes. Beat with electric mixture until slightly stiffened. Frost top and sides of cake. Decorate with peppermint candies if desired.