This Chocolate Mint Mini Cake is tender, moist, and frosted with a mint flavored Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The mini cakes are sliced to create delicate layers and a beautiful cake to celebrate a holiday, anniversary, or just satisfy a chocolate craving!
Chocolate Mint Mini Cake
I was originally inspired to make this lovely layered mini cake the celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Then I realized it would be a delicious cake to enjoy for the Holiday’s, an Anniversary, or any day that ends in ‘Y’.
Taking from the original inspiration of the Kentucky Derby, there are 2 things that come to mind: the hats and a mint julep. Since this cake doesn’t look like a hat, it plays tribute a bit to the mint julep – sans the booze. I figure you could sip on a glass of that on side, should you wish. 🙂
Full disclosure on the ‘Mint’ in this cake – we are not using actual mint. Mint extract can taste like toothpaste and be a little too astringent for me. We are using peppermint extract instead. While you may be thinking ‘that could still taste like toothpaste, Erin’, you may find not as much!
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Small Batch Mini Chocolate Cake
Is it still a mini cake when it is 4 layers? My answer is yes. We use two 6-inch cake pans and it is up to you on whether or not you want the cake to be 2 or 4 layers.
As with most chocolate cakes, this chocolate mint mini cake gets its chocolate flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder and to intensify the chocolate, we use boiling water. The result is a tender and moist cake, that is still sturdy enough to handle all the layers of frosting.
Why Peppermint and not Mint Extract
As I mentioned, I opted for peppermint instead of mint extract. Mint extract has a tendency to make whatever it is put in to taste like toothpaste. But I have also not tried mint extract in frosting, so this theory is based on all other recipes I have used.
The peppermint extract still gives you the mint flavor. Obvs. 🙂 And the flavor is a little more subtle and tolerable. It almost has a buttery undertone to it. However, still be sure to use a soft touch when using it, because it can overpower as well. It may not seem like a lot used in this recipe, but trust me, it is just enough.
Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
First and foremost, I like to think of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) as light. And my recipe may be unique and lighter in that we are using less butter than I have seen in a lot of recipes. In my honest little opinion, I find SMBC to be overly buttery. If that is a bad thing. I tend to think so when it comes to frosting.
I tested this recipe quite a few times, and each time the frosting turned out light, fluffy and still held its shape.
That said, you could add more butter if you want something that is thicker. This frosting is light and airy, which I think is a great juxtaposition to a strong chocolate cake. If you wanted to add more butter, the ratio is 3 parts butter to 1 part egg white. That’s a lot of butter to me.
And while we aren’t using the ‘proper’ ratios of butter to egg white, I am still going to call this a SMBC because of the method we use to make the frosting.
Making The Chocolate Mini Cake
One of the many things that I love about chocolate cake is that you could make it in one bowl. Even though the instructions I have list 2 separate bowls, I have grown accustomed to measuring and mixing my liquid ingredients all in a liquid measuring cup.
I would highly recommend you try it. It is amazing how versatile a good glass liquid measuring cup can be!
Another thing I love about this chocolate mint mini cake is it is pretty easy to make. There are no special or unique ingredients. No technical mixing methods, like standing on your head, and holding your breath. Kidding. But you know what I mean …
Chocolate Mini Cake with Minty Meringue Buttercream
Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes (room temperature)
- scant 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (little less than 1/4 teaspoon)
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Grease 2, 6-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, sugar, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add the liquid ingredients, plus the boiling water, to the dry ingredients and whisk until no dry streaks remain.
- Pour the batter evenly into the 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in the cake pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake pans onto the wire rack. Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cakes. Reinvert the cakes on the wire rack and cool completely.
Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Thoroughly clean a medium glass bowl and the whisk attachment for a handheld mixer. You want these to be squeaky clean and free of grease or oils so the egg whites beat up nicely into a meringue. Any oils/grease may inhibit a proper meringue.
- In a small saucepan, heat about 2 inches of water to just simmering. Do not boil. In the clean glass bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Set the bowl on top of the saucepan and whisk (using the whisk attachment for the handheld mixer) the mixture constantly for about 3-5 minutes. You want the egg whites to heat – not cook – and the sugar to dissolve. The mix is done when it no longer feels grainy when you rub it between your fingers. Or you can use a thermometer and heat to 160F degrees.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and attach the whisk attachment to the handheld mixer. Beat the egg whites at medium speed for about 5 minutes, to reach stiff peaks and for the eggs to cool. The egg whites will look glossy and smooth.
- Add the butter cubes one at a time. Continue to beat the mixture until all the butter has been added and thoroughly mixed in. Add the peppermint extract and beat for another few seconds to incorporate. The frosting will be smooth and have soft peaks. If the frosting looks soupy or too thin, refrigerate it for 20 minutes and beat again.
Assembling the Cakes
- Once the cakes are completely cool, you can either cut each cake in half to make 4 total layers or leave the two cakes intact. Evenly portion the frosting so you have the same amount for each layer. Spread on top of each cake layer and spread evenly to the edges.
- You can either leave the outside of the cake 'naked', or you can take an offset spatula and spread any excess frosting you may have, or that may have snuck out of the layers, and frost the outside with a thin, rustic layer of frosting. Serve and enjoy