This Mint Chocolate Chip Cake is a mint lover’s dream! Layers of decadent chocolate cake topped with a silky mint chip buttercream.
Did you know that there is only one Olive Garden restaurant in Vancouver? It’s not really even in Vancouver, it’s in a suburb called Langley about 40+ mins outside of the city. Further research tells me there is actually only ONE Olive Garden in all of BC. Meanwhile, just south of the border it seems like there’s one every few blocks.
The one location we do have is about 20 mins from where we live, and always has at least a 1 hour wait. With such high demand, you think they’d expand to more locations?! So, I think I’ve only been to Olive Garden two or three times in my entire life. Sad, right??
One of these times was actually just a few weeks ago, when Ryan and I spontaneously decided to go there for a late dinner. Very out of character for us — both the spontaneous Olive Garden trip and the late dinner. The wait was only 45 mins this time. It was worth it though — we got a great table and the food was delicious. Those breadsticks and dipping sauces (five cheese marinara, omg yum) and I finally got to try the infamous Zuppa Toscana. Maybe only infamous to me though. As a food blogger I see that recipe everywhere. Now I see why. I could happily have had free refills of that as my dinner and been content. Well, that and the breadsticks.
Anyhow, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and what on earth it has to do with this Mint Chocolate Chip Cake. Well, I had forgotten that at the end of the meal they give you these Andes Chocolate Mints and omg they are GOOD. I love the combo of mint and chocolate (hello After Eights ♥), but these mints are honestly the best. The BEST. Someone tell me where I can get these in Canada! I was hoping I’d find a giant tub of them in Costco, but no luck. I need these in my life, and my once-in-a-blue-moon trips to the Olive Garden aren’t going to cut it.
So, inspired by the delicious Andes Chocolate Mints, and in an attempt to recreate this flavor and try to satisfy my craving, I bring you this Mint Chocolate Chip Cake!
For the cake layers, I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It truly is the best if you like a rich, chocolatey flavor. I debated putting mint extract into the actual cake batter, but I stuck with vanilla. I wanted the frosting to contrast with the cake, and didn’t want the mint flavor to be too overpowering.
The frosting is a classic Swiss meringue buttercream but with mint extract instead of vanilla, some green color gel, and chopped chocolate added in. I recommend using good quality chocolate for the chips and the ganache. It really makes a difference! I use Callebaut, but you can use any good quality chocolate that’s available to you. If you’re limited to a grocery store, Lindt is your best bet.
To me, this cake tastes just like those delicious Andes Chocolate Mints, but in cake form. A worthy substitute until I can get my hands on some. If you love mint chocolate candy, ice cream, or any other form, you will love this cake!
Tips for this Mint Chocolate Chip Cake:
- To enhance the chocolate flavor of the cake, you can use strong hot coffee instead of hot water.
- Use good quality chocolate if you can. I use Callebaut, but Lindt will do if it’s easily available to you.
- I used Kelly Green color gel to color the frosting.
- For the ganache, I let mine set overnight (with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface). It will be too thick at this point, so I microwave it for 5-10 secs and stir it until it’s the right consistency.
- The drip technique works best on a chilled cake so that the drips set quickly.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
Mint Chip Buttercream:
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
- 1 tsp mint extract
- 3 oz good quality dark chocolate chopped
- green color gel
- 2 oz good quality dark chocolate finely chopped
- 2 oz heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350F, grease three 6″ round baking pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment.
- Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine.
- In a medium bowl whisk all wet ingredients (pour hot water in slowly as not to cook the eggs).
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.
- Pour evenly into prepared pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. A total of 30-35mins.
- Cool 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Mint Chip Buttercream:
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch — approx. 5-10mins).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth. Add peppermint extract.
- Stop the mixer. Dip a toothpick into the green color gel then dip it into the frosting. Whip until smooth and evenly green. Add more color gel if desired.
- Fold in chopped chocolate.
- Place chopped chocolate and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until ganache is smooth and silky. Set aside to cool completely and thicken slightly before using on cake. See notes.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving dish. Top with about 2/3 cup buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers. Frost and smooth the outside with a thin crumb coat. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Using a small spoon, place dollops of ganache around the top edges of the cooled cake, allowing some to drip down. Fill in the top of the cake with more ganache and spread evenly with an offset spatula.***
- Top with fresh mint if desired.
** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
*** You may have some ganache left over. For the ganache, I let mine set overnight (with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface). It will be too thick at this point, so I microwave it for 5-10 secs and stir it until it’s the right consistency.
Shelia Davis says
Can I double the recipe?
Hi Sheila! Yes, that will work no problem. Be sure to increase the pan size. I recommend three 9″ pans.
This was my first time making SMBC. The texture was amazing! However, i used over a tablespoon of pure mint extract, and it still wasnt very noticeable. I could taste it mildly in the frosting on it own, but it was completely lost when eaten with the cake. It also had a strong butter flavor. My egg whites were definitely stiff peaks, but im wondering if i should have mixed the butter in more? Is it possible to over whip the frosting?
It looks like noone else has had this problem so im guessing i did something wrong. Any ideas?
Hi Molly! So glad you tried SMBC and loved the texture! It is my favourite kind of frosting. It is more buttery than an American buttercream but should not taste like you’re eating a stick of butter. It sounds like it just needed more whipping. If you haven’t already, take a look at my detailed tutorial here: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/
As for the mint flavour, that could just be down to the brand of extract. I find some are stronger than others. You could try using a peppermint oil too which is more concentrated. I hope that helps!
Judy L Voss says
I’m going to make this mint chocolate chip cake for my friends birthday, but she don’t like dark chocolate. is it ok to make it with semi sweet chocolate?
Hi Judy! Yes, semi-sweet will work fine. The drip will be a bit lighter though.
Nora K says
I made this for Christmas and it was a huge hit! I made a couple of changes (8 inch, 2 layer instead of 6 inch, 3 layer) and I used Olivia’s Ermine frosting recipe as the base rather than Swiss Meringue. With the Ermine frosting, only 1/2 tsp of mint extract was needed for a light mint flavor. This is a great recipe and such a pretty cake! Liv for Cake recipes never fail me, I always check this site first when planning to make a cake.
Hi Nora! Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback and your tips!
Can’t find whipping cream. What can I replace this with? Thanks
Any heavy cream will work.
Is it OKAY to use dark chocolate dutch processed cocoa powder? Thanks
Hi Barb! Yes, that should be fine.
Can green food coloring be used in place of icing color? Also I can’t find Dutch proceeded cocoa powder. What can I substitute?
You can use regular cocoa powder and it will be fine 🙂 A slight change to the flavour but likely not noticeable.
Is green food coloring ok to use?
Hi Barb! Ideally use color gels or powder. The liquid can cause the buttercream to split. You can try adding the tiniest bit at a time and whipping it well, but I can’t guarantee the results.
Oh yum, yum! This cake was super delicious and light and moist. First time making and trying swiss buttercream and it’s so delicious and light compare to American buttercream (which I think it’s too sugary and heavy), but this buttercream is more like a whipped cream and easy to work with. This chocolate cake and buttercream will be my go to recipe and it’s going in my recipe book.
One question though, my husband who has such a sweet tooth told me the buttercream needed more sugar ( in my opinion it was perfectly sweet for me) but is there anyway I can add more sugar to the buttercream without compromising the texture?
Thank you for your recipe!!
Hi Cass! I am so happy this was your first time trying SMBC and that you loved it! RE: adding more sugar, I wouldn’t add more during the meringue stage though you could increase that slightly. The best/easiest option would be to add some powdered sugar in at the end. If you don’t add too much it shouldn’t affect the texture much. I would just add about 1-2 Tbsp of sifted powdered sugar at a time, whip well, and taste. Add more if needed.
Do you use a 2 or 3 inch deep six inch cake pan for this recipe? Thanks 🙂
Hi Jennifer! My pans are all 2″ deep but the cakes bake right to the top.
The turtle cake looks divine. It’s July in Atlanta so I’m going for the mint chocolate cake
Thanks for sharing
Hi Michele! I hope you love it and try the Turtle one soon!
My grandson requested a mint chocolate chip cake for his birthday so I picked this recipe. It was easy to make and came out perfectly! He loved it as did everyone who tasted it. It was my first time making Swiss buttercream and the recipe was easy to follow with great results. The tutorial gave me good tips. Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi Martha! So happy everyone loved it and yay for your first go at SMBC! 🙂
Morgan Grubb says
I made this cake for my wife’s birthday and it has now spoiled me for other cakes.
We have some friends getting married and they’ve requested cupcakes so I’ve made a batch from this chocolate cake and that’s set the bar so high that not even your Best Vanilla Cake recipe can compare but we still need a corresponding vanilla cupcake recipe.
I can use hot water instead of coffee but what could I replace the cocoa with (or would I just leave it out completely?). Would that result in a similarly moist vanilla cake?
Hi Morgan! I am so happy you loved it. I have never tried changing this into a vanilla version and I’m not convinced it will work or someone would have done it already. I had meant to try but haven’t gotten around to it. You would probably need to replace the cocoa powder with more flour. At least that’s what I would do if I was experimenting. Let me know if you try it!
Thank you so much for sharing this most delicious cake recipe. Loved it!
Hi Patricia! I’m so happy you loved it 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!
Hi… Can I use 2 – 8 inch pans instead of 6 inch pans? I do not have and want to make the cake a bit smaller..
Hi Phyllis! Yes, the recipe as is will work in two 8″ pans. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
Hi! I was wondering how can I make this cake a day before? I’m planning to bake it for my daughter’s school thing and is it possible to bake the cakes a day before and frost them on the next day? How would you recommend storing the cakes to keep them fresh? Thank you!
Hi Amber! For sure! If just a day in advance you can wrap them in plastic wrap and leave them at room temperature. For ease of decorating though, I would pop them in the fridge overnight. Chilled cakes are easier to work with.
I would like to make a three layer cake in 9 inch pans. Would you recommend using the x3 recipe? And, do you have any idea about baking time?
Hi Jill! Converting pan sizes is always tricky. Here are some sites I use as a guideline:
For three 9″ pans I would probably 2.25-2.5x the recipe. Be sure not to fill the pans more than half full as the batter rises a lot. Baking times are just a guideline as every oven bakes differently. If changing the pan size you’ll need to adjust and monitor the cake as it’s baking.
How would you change the recipe for 3 8inch cake pans instead of 6inch?
Hi Dianna! I would 1.5x the recipe for three 8″ pans. The cake layers will be slightly thinner though so you’ll need to adjust the baking time. You could also 2x the recipe for taller layers but be sure not to fill the pans more than half full as the batter rises a lot.