Friday, May 23, 2014

Thin mint cake

I’m sure you’re all still reeling from last post’s brutal honesty and uncalled-for editorializing. But I know who isn’t—Google already knew all of that shit about me.

And the NSA. Obviously. They hunter2-ed me a long time ago. source


But if there’s one coping skill my stay at the insane asylum mental health unit taught me to appreciate, it’s cake. Silly Baby June, thinking she could order chocolate cake from her little vegetarian hospital menu and satisfy that craving for home.

Never again.

So be not surprised that upon setting foot in my beloved flour-filled kitchen, my first thought was to bake a cake, a multi-layer cake filled with chocolate and pastry cream and endless fields of butter. Or Earth Balance; I honestly can’t tell the difference, once everything is all said and baked.

The flavor I settled on was that of a Thin Mint: that infamous Girl Scout cookie that has driven thousands to insanity in pursuit of those glorious green boxes. I’ll admit—I am not particularly keen on the dry, crumbly cracker-like texture of the original cookie, but I adore the slightly sweet, wonderfully dark chocolate-mint flavor. Totally worth putting in cake form. 

Why is there a pile of dirt on top? And why--okay, there are too many questions here.

Since there are no Thin Mints available during this terrible, terrible season, I ended up using Mint Oreos instead of Thin Mints. But this cake is inspired by the Girl Scout cookie, thus I kept the name the same as I had originally planned. All I have to say is, thank god for those new Oreo flavors.

But not this. NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS. source

And thank god for the internet. If you’ve been around the food blogosphere (yes I just used that word) for even a little while, you’ve probably heard of the so-called “Better than Sex Cake”. It typically consists of, um, boxed cake mix, pudding mix, Cool Whip, and sweetened condensed milk. Among other things. This is distinct from “Sex in a Pan”, which is another Paula Deen-inspired creation with a crust, a cream cheese layer, a boatload of pudding, a whole bunch of whipped cream on top, often with some chocolate wafers or Oreos mixed in. ‘Murican culinary history one-oh-one, y’all.

“Better than Sex Cake”, also known as poke cake to the silly old prudes, is produced by baking a regular old cake, poking holes into its sweet, innocent surface, and pouring a mixture of pudding and sweetened condensed milk and who knows what the hell else on top. The sugary gunk seeps through the holes and turns the formerly ordinary cake into…sex. No. Better than sex. 

Sex in a pan... source

...better than sex! source

I don’t know. Let’s not debate this.

As it turns out, I had made a batch of mint-flavored pudding to use as a sort of pastry filling for this cake, which I would be smearing on top of—a regular old cake! Aha! What do you know, an opportunity to make something better than sex! Fantastic! So I did. I poked holes in a scratch-make chocolate cake and poured scratch-made mint pudding over it like some sort of hedonistic government-hating punk rocker and covered it in cookies, and put another layer of cake on it, and covered it in chocolate fudge frosting, and poured ganache on top, and sprinkled some more crumbled cookies on top of that. 

Speechless. source

Yeah. Um. I’ll be doing a few Hail Mary’s for my blood sugar.

Unsurprisingly, the result was spectacular. My mother, who is the world’s biggest mint-chocolate fangirl, couldn’t get enough of it. Even my brother, who for some bizarre reason dislikes dark chocolate, had a few nice slices. I won’t comment on my own consumption.

If you want to join me in my chocolate-fueled coma, here’s the recipe:

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Thin mint cake

Makes one large two-layer cake with some leftover components
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Flourless chocolate cake (adapted from Veg News)

Ingredients

84 grams • nondairy chocolate chips • ½ cup

198 grams • extra-firm tofu • 7 ounces

113 grams • Earth Balance • ½ cup

150 grams • sugar • ¾ cup

43 grams • cocoa powder • ½ cup

122 grams • pumpkin puree • ½ cup

15 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 tablespoon

7 grams • water • ½ tablespoon

2 grams • baking powder • ½ teaspoon

2 grams • baking soda • ½ teaspoon

Instructions

Coat an 8-inch round baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a circle of parchment. Visit Veg News to get the rest of the recipe, being sure to stop once the batter is completed. Bake the finished batter in the 8-inch pan for the same amount of time and let cool completely before using in the layer cake. You may want to set aside some batter in a ramekin to bake as one little cupcake so the batter doesn’t overflow, as I did.
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Dark chocolate cake (adapted from Instructables)

Ingredients

197 grams • flour • 1 ¼ cups

200 grams • sugar • 1 cup

29 grams • dark chocolate cocoa powder (or regular, but dark is preferable) • 1/3 cup

4 grams • baking soda • 1 teaspoon

3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon

224 grams • warm water • 1 cup

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

72 grams • vegetable oil • 1/3 cup

5 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 teaspoon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch round baking pan and a few muffin tins. Sift together flour, sugar, dark chocolate cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, then mix until combined. Pour batter into round baking pan until half full, then add the remaining batter to the muffin tins. Stick ‘em all in the oven at once like a rebel, and take out the muffins after about 15 to 20 minutes and the big one after 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before using.
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Mint pastry filling (adapted from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan)

Ingredients

24 grams • cornstarch • 3 tablespoons

607 grams • soy milk • 2 ½ cups

133 grams • sugar • 2/3 cup

21 grams • Earth Balance • 3 tablespoons

1 gram • mint extract • ¼ teaspoon

Instructions

Go to Hell Yeah It’s Vegan for the recipe, being sure to substitute mint extract for vanilla and adding an extra tablespoon of butter. Because…yeah. Butter.

Actually it’s because I was trying to replicate the texture of pastry cream as opposed to a looser and sweeter pudding, but whatever. It don’t matter none anyway.
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Chocolate buttercream (adapted from Sweetapolita)

Ingredients

227 grams • vegan buttery spread, softened • 1 cup

156 grams • powdered sugar • 1 ¼ cups

6 grams • vanilla extract • 1 ½ teaspoons

145 grams • nondairy bittersweet chocolate • 5 ounces

60 grams • soy milk • ¼ cup

Salt to taste

Instructions

Finely chop the chocolate, add to a small saucepan or double boiler, and heat very carefully and slowly until melted. Allow to cool until room temperature.

Place softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft and fluffy and beautiful. Slowly add powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and melted chocolate. Whip and whip and whip while pouring in soy milk until desired consistency is reached. Let sit at room temperature until needed.
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Assembly

Ingredients

1 8-inch flourless chocolate cake layer

1 8-inch plain chocolate cake layer

1 recipe chocolate buttercream

About ¾ to 1 cup mint pudding

About one box of Thin Mints, mint Oreos, or other mint-chocolate cookie

145 grams • nondairy dark chocolate, finely chopped • 5 ounces

60 grams • coconut milk, full fat • ¼ cup

Instructions

Place the plain chocolate cake layer on a large cake-serving plate. Poke a bunch of small holes in the surface with a knife, then spread the mint pudding all over it. Chop or crumble up some Thin Mints (or other cookie) until broken up into chunks and crumbs, then sprinkle over the pudding. You can add as many or as few cookies as you want. Add some more pudding, even—this is where you fulfill your heart’s desires and live your dreams. Slap that other layer of cake on top. The flourless layer, that is. Frost that bitch with chocolate buttercream. Mmm…but you’re not done. Stick it in the refrigerator while you’re doing the last little bit.

Put chopped dark chocolate into a bowl. Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan on the stove and heat until the edges are lined with little bubbles and it is steaming. Pour the heated milk over the chocolate and stir until everything is melted and smooth. Ta-da; you have ganache! Drizzle the ganache over the cake and top with more crushed cookies, if you feel like creating the illusion of a dirt-covered cake. Serve that mofo right into your mouth.
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One of the secrets to this cake is the textural contrast. There’s the crunch of the cookies in the center, the mousse-like pastry filling, the rich, dense cake layers, the silky ganache and frosting. Many texture. Such stimulate. Wow. 

Someday I will frost a cake, and it will be smooth.

Not only is it fucking delicious, but it’s vegan! Hell yeah, as one of the blogs I stole—I mean, adapted a component from would say. Oreos and Thin Mints alike are free of animal products, if you don’t mind the risk of sugar processed with animal carcasses. You could always make your own biscuit cookies, using a recipe such as this or this.

Cheaper than therapy? I don’t know. But if it makes you happy, then why not try?

8 comments:

  1. Fruit Punch Oreos! What in the world? That's crazy. I do love me some thin mints though. And this cake sounds magnificent!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad you think so. :)

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  2. Oh my gawd! That sounds good, but what is up with fruit punch oreos?!? No way. I admit I have indeed made the "better than sex" cake a couple of times, the first time was way back in 2001, I was newly married and thought the secret to learning to cook was by taking out a subscription to Betty Crocker magazine, they had the cake, only it was called "better than homework" cake. ; )

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    1. Haha, that is an interesting euphemism they chose. :) Thanks for reading!

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  3. Thin Mints are favorites at our house. I know I'd love your cake. Very creative!!

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    1. I'm sure you'd love it! The tough part is having enough leftover cookies to make the cake. :)

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  4. Okay, so I'll go your brother one more and say that I admittedly don't care for chocolate in any form (I'll make deserts with it every now and then of course) but this looks insane!!! I could definitely eat all of this in one sitting. And vegan?! Seriously, awesome. I am bookmarking this one and definitely trying it!

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you do try it. You could substitute milk chocolate for dark if you don't care for an intense chocolate flavor because this is definitely a chocolate lover's cake, but I think you'd love it either way. :)

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