Mint Slice Cake

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For my brother Christian’s 16th birthday, he requested a mint slice cake. That was weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about how to execute it ever since. I was tickled pink by his request as I have loved Arnott’s mint slice biscuits since the dawn of time and as a consequence of my deep abiding love for them I no longer permit myself to keep them in the house – ours is a deeply dysfunctional romance.

In the planning stages for this cake, I thought about just making Steph’s (of raspberri cupcakes fame) gorgeous Mint Slice Cake but for me, the best thing about a mint slice is the textural differences – the crunch of the biscuit, the smooth mint fondant and the glossy firm chocolate coating. Steph’s cake looked amazing, but I realized I didn’t want to just make a cake that looked like a biscuit – I wanted to try to replicate the texture of a Mint Slice, just on a larger scale.

For the base, I didn’t think a biscuit recipe would give me the proportional thickness or crunch that I wanted, and I knew a standard chocolate cake would be too fluffy. At first I planned to have a brownie base, but I decided against this as I didn’t want it to be too fudgy. Eventually I settled on a sort of macaron/meringue torte hybrid, as I reasoned it would have the crispness i was looking for but would also be substantial enough to support the fondant layer & ganache, particularly when sliced and served. I made the batter using a bastardized macaron method, but substituted hazelnut for almond meal as I felt it was more chocolate-y (perhaps a subliminal callback to my beloved Nutella?) and added some chopped chocolate to the batter as well. At the last minute I also threw in some coffee powder to make the chocolate really sing.

For the mint fondant layer, I used this simple peppermint cream recipe – just egg white, sugar and peppermint essence, with the quantities tweaked just a bit to get the proper soft texture. I initially had looked at a lot of buttercream recipes but was wary of the fact that buttercream often has a yellow/cream tint to it. I really wanted the peppermint filling to look exactly like the real thing, as white and clean as possible. Using raw egg whites isn’t for everyone, but I reasoned that there would be no pregnant, young, elderly or otherwise immunologically weakened people eating the cake, so I went with it! It turned out beautifully, with the same soft texture as you find in a real mint slice, and no oiliness.

The chocolate coating was the simplest thing to decide – I simply used a chocolate ganache, with a ratio of 2:1 chocolate to cream to encourage it to firm up when poured. I did at one point consider using tempered chocolate to get a perfect glossy crunchy finish, but I don’t own a candy thermometer and besides, there’s a limit to even my culinary perfectionism/insanity!

Recipe with detailed instructions after the jump…

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Cake, glorious cake!

I’ve been making birthday cakes for family, friends and colleagues for a little over a year. It started with my little sister Juliet, who for her 8th birthday wanted something super special in the cake department. I decided to pander to her current obsession and make a three-tiered, heavily decorated Super Mario cake. The minute she saw it, she went completely apeshit with delight, which in retrospect probably had a lot to do with the size of the cake (enormous) and the fact that every surface of the cake was covered in candy. Nonetheless, as a first-born child with the attendant addiction to approval from any quarter, I was hooked. I made a hamburger cake for my sister Claire’s 21st birthday party, accompanied by shortbread ‘chips’ and raspberry ‘ketchup’. I made a Stig cake for by brother Christian’s 15th birthday. Even though it looked like Voldemort in an airplane sleep mask, it was eaten with pleasure. This blog is a place to share the cakes I make to celebrate happy occasions for the people I love. Baking brings me so much joy and I like to spend a lot of time and effort in planning & executing my cakes. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy making (and eating) them!