My husband, Toby, suggested we take our turn hosting his family for Christmas Eve dinner this year. He has five brothers and sisters with spouses, children, their spouses and grandchildren, so we will be hosting dinner for 30 people tomorrow night. I hear myself say it and I can’t believe how calm I am. It’s probably because I’ve decided to keep the menu very simple with a couple of “show-stopper” desserts to end the evening on a jubilant note. I love the challenge of baking a beautiful, yet tasty, cake. The Peppermint Ice Cream Candy Cane Lane Cake is this year’s “show-stopper”. Honestly, just the name says it all. It’s made of delicious layers of brownie-like chocolate cake and peppermint ice cream topped with white frosting and festive candy brittle. It’s GORGEOUS! I can’t wait to present it to the family tomorrow night.
This is actually a really simple recipe, but there are a few critical moments when you might want to have an extra set of hands to help you. When you are spreading the softened ice cream onto the frozen layers of cake, you need to work quickly. One person can spread the ice cream and the other can place the layer of cake. You’ll also want to call on an assistant to spread the candies onto the hot sugar syrup and to help you re-warm the syrup and press in the candies, as the syrup cools VERY quickly. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
|Peppermint Ice Cream Candy Cane Lane Cake||
- 1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3½ quarts (about) peppermint stick ice cream, slightly softened
- Vanilla Frosting (see below)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1½ Tbsp. light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 cups assorted candies (I used gummy bears, jelly beans, peppermints, cinnamon candies, Sprees – all in red, green and white)
- ½ cup water
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- pinch table salt
- 12 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pan coating on a rimmed baking sheet (half sheet pan, 18x13x1); line with parchment. Butter parchment.
- Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
- Melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips; stir until melted. Whisk in ¾ cup water, cocoa, and vanilla until blended. Whisk in egg. Add to dry ingredients; whisk to blend.
- Pour batter onto prepared baking sheet. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 minutes. Cool cake on baking sheet on rack 15 minutes.
- Make frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, egg whites and salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently until slightly thickened and foamy. Temperature should reach 150 degrees. Place the bowl in the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until it is the consistency of shaving cream. Cut the butter into 12 pieces and add, one at a time, mixing until frosting is smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy. Set aside.
- Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto sheet of foil; cool. Cut cake crosswise into 3 equal strips (mine were 5” wide and I had a 2” strip left-over). Freeze cake strips 1 hour.
- Place 1 cake strip on platter. Working quickly, spoon 3½ cups of softened peppermint ice cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake strip; spoon 3½ cups ice cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with third cake strip; freeze 1 hour. Spread enough vanilla frosting to cover top and sides of cake. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours.
- Make candy brittle: Place 20-inch-long sheet of foil on work surface. Mark off 16×12-inch rectangle. Stir sugar, ½ cup water, and corn syrup in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat and boil without stirring until candy thermometer registers 300°F, tilting saucepan slightly to submerge bulb, about 15 minutes. Being very careful (syrup is extremely hot), pour boiling syrup in wide zigzag lines across foil. Working quickly and using offset metal spatula, spread syrup evenly to generally cover the 16×12-inch rectangle. Immediately sprinkle generously with candies, pressing larger pieces into syrup with large, flat spatula to adhere (do not touch hot syrup). If syrup hardens before all candies have been applied, slide foil with brittle onto large rimless baking sheet and place baking sheet directly over burner set on high heat to soften syrup, about 10 seconds, rotating sheet, then remove from heat and immediately apply remaining candies. Cool completely. Starting at 1 end of brittle, break off irregular pieces, peeling foil as you go. Press brittle upright, candy side out, onto top and sides of cake and freeze.
- Make chocolate sauce: Bring water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth.
- DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen. Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm sauce before continuing.
- Slice cake and serve with sauce and enJOY!