Does anyone else require a Xanax to order a drink at Starbucks? It’s just me? I think you’re lying. It happens every time. I go in with the intent of getting one of those fun sounding drinks and then when it’s time to order, I freeze, as if George Clooney just asked me what I wanted. Small? Wait, no, tall. Cappuccino? Latte? What’s the difference anyway? So out of pure ignorance and mild anxiety, I always order a tall coffee. Boring.
Recently, I was feeling bold and wanted to face my frappuccino fear. I had a plan. I went in, walked straight to the back, pretended to look at all the merchandise and watched other people order. Tall peppermint mocha. Venti peppermint mocha no whip. Tall non-fat peppermint mocha. Noted – this peppermint mocha is either free or really something impressive. I kept listening. Another one. And another. Decision made, I’m ordering a peppermint mocha. So I waited in line. “What can I get started for you?” she yelled across the store, pointing her Sharpie at me. “A tall coffee please.”
Unbelievable. Did I really just do that? I was NOT prepared for the advanced down the line order-taking. That is so not what I wanted. Everyone else’s drink looks so much better than mine. A severe case of drink envy sets in. Should I re-order? Probably not, because I really don’t want to risk a second tall boring coffee. I want peppermint, chocolate and coffee, together as one, topped with a sweet creamy cloud. And that, my friends, is just what I got. I went home and decided to make my own version. A round 9 inch layered one.
Peppermint mocha cake… there is NOTHING boring about this. The cake is moist and chocolatey with a hint of coffee. The peppermint frosting is the perfect sweet, creamy finish. One bite of this and my drink envy quickly turned to cake pride. Let me tell you, a peppermint mocha done right needs a fork, not a cup.
So save your Xanax for Christmas with the family and sign up now to bring dessert to all of your holiday potlucks and parties. Starbucks can keep its Tai Chi lattes, wait Chai Tea lattes. Whatever, I’ll have a grande slice of peppermint mocha.
Recipe adapted from Mrs. Winter’s famous Chocolate Birthday Cake
½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
4 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup of water
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Chocolate shavings and/or crushed candy canes for decorating (optional)
A few lessons learned worth mentioning:
Posted on December 1, 2010