"Dang... that girl looks mean." This was my first thought when I saw Yen-Nei, one of my bestest friends. She was two seats ahead, one row over, in the front of the class wearing this ridiculous head band. For some reason, she stuck out. Maybe it was that damn headband. Serious- she wore it religiously. Either way, I had no one to talk to and crossed my fingers she'd acknowledge me. College was kind of rough because I transferred. Most people have the convenience of making those freshmen bff's and stuck together the rest of academia.
Fortunately, b-girlin gave me an extended family and as fate would have it, Nei became friends with two of the guys that danced. They asked if it was cool if she and Asako, the third part of our whole, could come along for Spring Break. In 5 minutes of talking to Yen-Nei and Asako... I wanted to be their friend.
It goes without saying that's exactly what happened and I am grateful to have them in my life. We shared an apartment in college and enjoyed many a night eating peppermint icecream (though Asako prefers vanilla) over our books. Now we are miles apart: Nei in California, Ako in Michigan, and yours truly reppin' that VA flavor. It's rough but makes you appreciate the time you do get to spend together all the more.
A few weeks ago, Nei came for a visit and I took it as an opportunity to make the birthday cake she didn't get in July. In honor of those long study nights, I went with peppermint. This is actually the cake I referenced in a previous chocolate cake post. It was impressive then- but with a few adjustments and peppermint? Good grief.
This cake... is effing delicious. You don't have to take it from me- I'm no biased baker! Everyone at our little dinner party paid heavy compliments and this was a crowd of blunt, old friends. No one smooths edges or holds back! It was the perfect balance of chocolate and mint- no listerine after taste. On point!
The garnish is Andes mints chopped up in the food processor. What's great about these mint candies is their subtlety; they're not overpowering and only heightened the flavor. The cake is moist and light; the frosting smooth and fluffy.
Anything for you Nei! Mwah!
Crazy Mint Chocolate Cakefrom SixOneSeven
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon red vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones, and mix until smooth. (I beat it for about 1 minute with a mixer.) Prepare pan(s) by greasing and flouring lightly. Pour into two 9-inch round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done all the way through. Cool. Ice with favorite frosting.
Basic Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1-2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup milk
Mix butter and sugar in a mixer until smooth. And yes, sifted sugar makes a difference in frosting- that's where those lumps come from.
Add vanilla and gradually add milk, until it's the consistency you desire.