Of course it would have been easy to just use some peppermint extract in the cake and frosting, and call it a day, but that wouldn't be special, now would it? Only fresh mint picked straight from the garden seemed fitting enough for such a special day. So that's exactly what I did. I made a peppermint simple syrup which I used in the cake and in the frosting. A sprig of mint was even part of the garnish.
The inspiration for the type of cake came from Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia. On a recent episode she made a delicious looking sponge cake with citrus and raspberry whipped cream frosting. I loved the idea of the sponge cake since it is light and airy, perfect for the summer months. So I decided to re-create the cake with a peppermint-chocolate combo. It turned out really yummy, everyone including sis, loved it.
(She'll never know!)
Peppermint Patty Sponge Cake
5 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 cup sugar minus 3 tablespoons, divided
3 tablespoons peppermint simple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
chopped mint leaves from simple syrup
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Peppermint Simple Syrup
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 cups peppermint leaves, stems removed
Bring the water to a boil; add the peppermint leaves. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the sugar until it's dissolved. Return to the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the peppermint leaves from the liquid and set them aside to cool and chop for use in the cake. Place the simple syrup in the fridge to cool.12 Minute Peppermint Frosting
3 egg whites
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup peppermint simple syrup
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted for drizzle
2 peppermint patties, preferably Newman's Own Organic
Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350F
Use a stand or hand mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy; beat in half of the sugar, two tablespoons at a time, until soft glossy peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, peppermint simple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in the peppermint leaves.
Sift the flour over the whites. Add the yolk mixture and gently fold in with a spatula without deflating the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop the batter into a (un-greased) 9 x 3 inch tube pan. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles and settle the batter so it is even.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert cake pan over the neck of a bottle or, if the pan has prongs, invert it on a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Loosen cake all around the inside of the pan and around the tube with a butter knife. Gently shake cake out. Set aside.
For Frosting: Place the egg whites, sugar, peppermint simple syrup, water, cream of tartar and salt into a medium size-mixing bowl. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water; do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water. Begin beating with a hand mixer set to low speed. Beat for 1 minute; increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until frosting is stiff and holds soft peaks (about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Cut the cake into two layers.
Place one layer on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the frosting over the layer. Place the other layer on top and spread another 1/3 of the frosting. Spread the remaining frosting all over the sides and smooth.
Garnish the top with the melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and add mint leaves and mint patties for decoration. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into wedges.