Peppermint Candyland Cake

Oh. My. God.

I HAVE to make this. This insane thing makes me want to have a child just so I can make this cake for her birthday.

And this photo seriously doesn’t do it justice. The one in the magazine took up an entire page — it was huge — and it called to some magical childhood place in me. Peppermint! Candyland! Pink! Silvery sparkles! Chocolate! Crystal clear glassy sugar candy!

peppermint ice cream candyland cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
3 1/2 quarts (about) peppermint stick ice cream, slightly softened

Candy Brittle:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 to 2 cups assorted candies (such as sliced gummy candies, spice drops, Swedish mints, butter mints, rock candy pieces, and candy cane pieces)

Chocolate Sauce:
1/2 cup water
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips


For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15x10x1-inch baking sheet; line with parchment. Butter parchment. Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips; stir until melted. Whisk in 3/4 cup water, cocoa, and vanilla until blended. Whisk in egg. Add to dry ingredients; whisk to blend. Pour batter onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 22 minutes. Cool cake on baking sheet on rack 15 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto sheet of foil; cool. Cut cake crosswise into 3 equal strips. Freeze cake strips 1 hour.

Place 1 cake strip on platter. Working quickly, spoon 3 1/2 cups peppermint ice cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake strip; spoon 3 1/2 cups ice cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with third cake strip; freeze 1 hour. Spread enough remaining ice cream over top and sides of cake to cover generously (about 6 cups). Freeze until firm, about 3 hours.

For candy brittle:
Place 20-inch-long sheet of foil on work surface. Mark off 16×12-inch rectangle. Stir sugar, 1/2 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat and boil without stirring until candy thermometer registers 300°F, tilting saucepan slightly to submerge bulb, about 15 minutes.

Being very careful (syrup is extremely hot), pour boiling syrup in wide zigzag lines across foil. Working quickly and using offset metal spatula, spread syrup evenly to 16×12-inch rectangle. Immediately sprinkle generously with candies, pressing larger pieces into syrup to adhere (do not touch hot syrup). If syrup hardens before all candies have been applied, slide foil with brittle onto large rimless baking sheet and place baking sheet directly over burner set on high heat to soften syrup, about 10 seconds, rotating sheet, then remove from heat and immediately apply remaining candies. Cool completely.

Starting at 1 end of brittle, break off irregular pieces, peeling foil as you go. Press brittle upright, candy side out, onto top and sides of cake and freeze. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.

For chocolate sauce:
Bring water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

• If you can’t find peppermint ice cream, make a quick version by mixing 3 1/2 quarts softened premium vanilla ice cream with 2 cups coarsely crushed red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies and 2 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract.
• Before making the brittle, break or slice the candy into pieces.
• For the sugar syrup, use a heavy-duty saucepan with a sturdy handle.
• Mark off a 16×12-inch rectangle on the foil to easily spread the sugar syrup to the correct dimension.
• Sugar syrup will be extremely hot: Use caution when pouring and spreading it.
• Brittle will harden quickly: Be swift when applying the candies.
• When breaking the brittle into pieces, peel it off the foil as you go (don’t worry if a few pieces of candy fall off).

Bon Appetit, December 2007

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