What a time of year. So many tiny and not-so-tiny celebrations to help us through these winter days. And then a long stretch of nothingness until spring. I'm not feeling as reflective as I've felt in years past. Truthfully, I'm just ready to ring in the new year.
With that, I wish you a festive and joyful start to 2012 and much happiness thereafter. If only we could sit and have a slice of chocolate-peppermint cake together. That would be grand.
From Everyday Food
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a boil. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl; set over (not in) water. Turn off heat; let stand until melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir to combine. Remove bowl; cool 5 minutes.
3. Whisk in sugar and vanilla, then eggs and buttermilk until combined. Fold in flour mixture until combined.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake pulls away from sides and a toothpick inserted in center has a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert onto a wire rack (and leave inverted) to cool completely, about 1 hour.
5. Set cake on a serving platter. Tuck parchment or waxed paper under sides of cake. Pour chocolate icing onto center of cake and spread evenly over top and sides. Let set, about 40 minutes. Serve cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or peppermint candies, if desired.