In many ways, my relationship with this cake can be likened to my journey with graduate school. I’d come across Bon Appetit‘s peppermint devil’s food cake time and time again: reading about it in food blogs, getting a taste of it at holiday parties, discussing it with more ambitious (and often traumatized) bakers. I knew I wanted it — I knew it was perfect for me — and I was so afraid. Last year, however, I decided it was time. I was going to tackle this culinary Mount Everest.
I readied myself for the uphill climb. I studied the texts, prepared the materials, steeled my mind. I lost myself in the process, going fully off-radar, before re-emerging victorious. The end result, monstrously imperfect as it was, was beyond words. Yes, the behemoth of a cake looked impressive, towering at a foot tall and weighing as much as a newborn baby. More importantly, though, it was delicious. How could it not be? Three intensely chocolate-y layers of cake alternated with rich, dark chocolate ganache and smooth, whipped white chocolate cream. Not pictured is the veritable blanket of peppermint frosting smothering the cake. (Here I will add that the frosting was excellent but structurally unsound, transforming the cake into an alarmingly gooey blob. A really great-tasting blob. Blobs still count as successes in my book.)
It’s only fitting that I share this now: my first recipe post-graduate school acceptance. I actually made this cake a while ago, around Christmastime for a birthday in Jay’s family. While everyone fully enjoyed their slices, mine tasted especially sweet. The taste of victory.
Devil’s food layer cake with peppermint frosting