So, you say you are looking for a show-stopper of a dessert that is both dramatic and delicious? Something chocolately and pepperminty, something that looks like like you spent hours in Santa’s kitchen when really you spent almost no time in yours? Please meet Peppermint Brownie cake, which is an easy, elegant conglomeration of brownie, meringue, chocolate, peppermint and happiness. All in one cake!
But before I get into the details on how you put it together, just a little background on it. We have a longstanding Christmas tradition with our dear friends Janet and Bruce. Every year they come over for an after-Christmas dinner. It’s usually a few days after Christmas, after everything has settled down from the last frenzied round of shopping and wrapping and cooking and unwrapping and ho-ho-ho. It’s one of my very favorite parts of Christmastime, because it extends the merriment a little, but in that relaxed yet hilarious way that you only get with old friends who know and love you inside and out. And so because of that, I always look around for an extra-merry dessert for our extra-merry friends.
This is from their Christmas card, which arrived in the mail the other day. It said “Hoping You Segway Into A Happy New Year.” Now you love them too, right? But you can’t have them…they are MINE. All mine. 🙂
Anyway, Janet and I are sisters-in-chocolate, so I knew whatever I made had to have a serious dose of that, and of course nothing says Christmas like peppermint. So the bottom of the cake is basically a round circle of homemade brownie. The top is a chocolate peppermint meringue which gets swirled onto the baked brownie layer and baked for another 20 minutes or so until it is softly hardened into meringue. Don’t be afraid of the meringue part – it’s super-easy.
You make this deliciousness in a spring-form pan, so that when you are ready to serve it you just pop open the sides, lift off the top of the pan, and slide the bottom onto a pretty plate. Simple as simple can be!
The center of the meringue will sink just a little bit – not to worry about that part, it’s supposed to be that way. Slice it up and give each person a serving of chewy brownie, airy meringue, peppermint chocolate scrumptiousness. It’s the perfect festive holiday treat for those folks who make you feel merry all year round!
Adapted just a bit from Everyday Food
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 8 ounces semisweet mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup flour
- 4 ounces semisweet mini chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Put butter and 8 ounces of chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler over simmering water and stir until everything is just melted.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the sugar and salt. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the flour. Spread the batter in the springform pan and bake for 20 minutes. The brownie layer won't be quite done, but don't worry - it's going to bake a little longer once you add the meringue.
- To make the meringue, mix the remaining chocolate chips with the cornstarch and set aside. Using a mixer, mix the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until it is nice and frothy. Pour the superfine sugar into the egg whites in a slow stream and mix on high until the meringue is glossy and a little stiff about 6 minutes. Fold in chocolate mixture and peppermint extract.
- Spread meringue on top of cake and bake until thenmeringue is lightly browned and cracked on top, 25 to 27 minutes more. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. The merigue will fall a bit in the center - this is totally normal! Run a knife around edge and remove ring. Let cool completely, and then serve with a flourish!