Peppermint-Hot Chocolate Cake

Britainy Shaw's Peppermint-Hot Cocoa Cake, right, is a runner-up in Southern Living's annual white cake contest. The Southern Living staff dressed Shaw's cake up by wrapping it in cookies. At left is the second-place cake. (Photo provided by Southern Living)
Britainy Shaw's Peppermint-Hot Cocoa Cake, right, is a runner-up in Southern Living's annual white cake contest. The Southern Living staff dressed Shaw's cake up by wrapping it in cookies. At left is the second-place cake. (Photo provided by Southern Living)

By Britainy shaw

Peppermint-Hot Chocolate Cake

Makes 10 to 12 servings. Recipe is by Britainy Shaw.

For the cake:

1/2 cup boiling water

1 (4-oz.) milk chocolate baking bar, chopped

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

Fudge filling

Peppermint-Cream Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.

2. Pour boiling water over chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after every addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating until blended. Combine remaining dry ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition.

4. Beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely, about 40 minutes.

Fudge Filling

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12-oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate morsels

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Combine milk and chocolate in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 4 to 6 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in extract.

Peppermint-Cream Frosting

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

1 (8-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1⁄8 tsp. peppermint extract

Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until stiff, glossy peaks form.

To assemble the cake, spread the fudge filling between layers and frost with the Peppermint-Cream Frosting.