This is the cake recipe I used in the grad cake in the post below. It's a wonderfully moist, fudgey cake, and dense enough to use if you're making a tiered special occasion cake. Adapted from Cooking Pleasures Magazine. Honestly, one of the most superb cakes I've made in a long time - not just the decoration part of it, but the cake itself was just to die for. I'm going to be making it again and again, and without the mint, it's a very versatile recipe.
Peppermint Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter
5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (good quality semisweet chocolate chips work, too; that's what I used)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (all purpose is fine if that's all you have; I used it and it worked)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used 1 cup 2% yogurt thinned with about 1/2 cup buttermilk)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened (light is fine; it's what I used, but DON'T use fat-free!)
3 1/2 - 4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease & flour the bottom of a 9" springform pan and cut a disc of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan.
2. Over a bain marie, or directly in the bottom of a KitchenAid Mixer bowl, melt together the butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
3. Depending on what you're using, put the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time. If using a KitchenAid, beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the peppermint and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Alternately beat the sour cream and flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, beginning with sour cream, until smooth. DON'T OVERWORK. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Remove from pan.
5. To prepare the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until very smooth. Add the peppermint extract. Add 3 1/2 cups icing sugar and combine until smooth. Keep adding more icing sugar until you get a nice, creamy, but not runny consistency.
6. Ice the cake. Eat it.
If you want, glaze with: 1 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract melted together over a bain marie until smooth.