Grasshopper Cake

Every year for my dad’s birthday….

Every year for my dad’s birthday – and sometimes also for Father’s Day – my mom makes a ‘Grasshopper cake.’ It’s a cake-take on the Grasshopper drink – typically made with Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao, and heavy cream. 
The Grasshopper cake has a mint green cake layer, a layer of chocolate fudge, and is topped with mint whipped cream. Having grown up with this cake as a yearly tradition, it’s a classic in my mind – annnd sometimes bakers get odd urges to tweak around the classics just a bit 😉 That’s where this cake cake from!

My mom’s cake recipe calls for a white cake mix, and you replace ½ cup of the water with Creme de Menthe. Doesn’t sound like much, but I tried more than this once, and the mint was so strong it was almost bitter. I also think using buttermilk instead of water and butter instead of oil gives the cake a richer more bakery-like texture without changing the flavor. I’ve used chocolate ganache instead of the chocolate fudge the recipe calls for before, and thought it kept the same flavor and was a bit easier to work with. Options!

You can absolutely frost this cake with buttercream / cream cheese frosting, but I love using stabilized whipped cream to decorate since it’s light, tastes amazing, and captures the classic flavors of the cake I grew up with!
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes!!


Cake:

2 boxed white cake mixes (these are my favorite, and available on Amazon!)
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks), melted
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
1/2 c Creme de Menthe liqueur
8 egg whites (I used egg whites from a carton to not waste the yolks)  

Filling: 1 12-ounce jar of Hot Fudge topping
(or if you’d rather fill with chocolate ganache: 1 c (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips + 1 c (8 oz) heavy whipping cream)

Stabilized Whipped Cream:
(Note: using my favorite Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting – replacing the vanilla with Creme de Menthe – is also an option!)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup water + 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
¾ – 1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 T Creme de Menthe liqueur (to taste)
Green food coloring
Chill your mixing bowl and beaters/mixer attachment for 15 minutes before whipping cream.
Place water in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle powdered gelatin over the top; allow to sit for 5 minutes to soften. Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted and allow to cool; gelatin must be liquid but not hot when added to the whipping cream.
Add whipping cream, powdered sugar, and Creme de Menthe to mixing bowl; beat on medium-high speed just until beater marks begin to show distinctly (about 1 minute in my stand mixer). Add gelatin mixture to cream, pouring in a steady stream while beating constantly. (Try to avoid pouring directly on the beater so it doesn’t splatter). Beat until stiff peaks form. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
– 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle or square (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles) or an 8” acrylic cake disc (I started using these so I wouldn’t waste so many cake circles!) I used a square acrylic cake disc in the video/photos – these look super cool but are a little more difficult to frost. Shape is up to you! Using circular pans won’t change the recipe or baking times at all.
– Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites!
– Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper – not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
9-10 Andes Mints (or more if you tend to eat them as you’re baking….) 

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.
Combine melted butter, buttermilk, egg whites, and Creme de Menthe in a bowl, and blend in packaged cake mixes. (Essentially you’re making a boxed mix but replacing 1/2 c of the water with mint liqueur, the oil with butter, and the remaining water with buttermilk. Feel free to follow the box’s recipe if it doesn’t match mine.)
Beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height. Spread batter and bake for time specified on box; mine took about 25 minutes. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans – it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the perimeter of the pan first. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

(If filling with ganache, melt your chocolate chips and heavy cream in 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring well in between until melted and smooth. Chill until thick enough to spread, but don’t let it solidify completely.)

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of chocolate on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Pipe a border of whipped cream or frosting around the outer edge of the layer, and fill with hot fudge topping or chocolate ganache. Add a sprinkle of chopped Andes mints, and place the next layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you’re ready to crumb-coat . If you’re unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it’s just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of whipped cream or frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part.

Now the fun part – decorating! Transfer your whipped cream or frosting to a large piping bag, and your remaining chocolate fudge or chocolate ganache to another piping bag (I used a large bag + star tip for my whipped cream and a smaller bag + Wilton 1M tip for my chocolate). Pipe in rosettes, swirls, squiggles, or whatever shapes you’d like until the cake is covered! I covered mine with halved Andes mints for a bit more texture.

 

Make this recipe? Let me know how it went – or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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