Grasshopper Cake

Grasshopper Cake

With Mother’s Day on the horizon I thought it was time for a big old celebration cake.

 When my Save the Children trip was being arranged I was told that in Rwanda they eat grasshoppers as a snack.  I went fully prepared to munch on a grasshopper (all in the name of research you understand).  Whilst I was there did a see a grasshopper, be it alive or snack crispy fried version, no I did not.  Disappointed?  Yes a little but in hindsight it was probably a good thing!

Anyway I’m waffling….if you say to me Grasshopper I instantly think Grasshopper Cake (that’s the daft way my brain works) – the fab combination of chocolate and mint.  When I was young Mum taught me to melt a Fry’s Peppermint Cream Bar onto the top of chocolate cake under the grill.  This cake is just a posh version of that – perfect for Mother’s Day.

And of course there are no real grasshoppers involved!

Makes 1 x 8″ Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

185g butter, softened

330g caster sugar

3 eggs, large

70g self raising flour

230g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80g cocoa powder

250ml milk

2 tbsps vinegar

Buttercream

150g butter, softened

300g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp peppermint extract

green food colouring (optional)

Ganache

225ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

200g dark chocolate (Bournville is ideal)

To Decorate (optional)

After Eight Mints

Peppermint creams (Bassetts Clarnico Mints are ideal)

 

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.

Prepare two matching cake tins, lining the base and greasing well.

Measure the milk into a jug, add the vinegar (malt or white wine) and stir.  Set to one side.

Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and beat again.

Finally add the dry ingredients and the milk.

Give it a good mix until it is thoroughly combined.

Split the cake mix between the two tins and level roughly with the back of a spoon.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until fully cooked.  Test with a skewer – it should come out dry.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

Prepare the ganache, it will need a couple of hours to cool so that it is spreadable.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl or large jug.

Heat the cream and golden syrup in a pan until just below boiling.

Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to stand for a couple of minutes before stirring to a lovely glossy ganache.

Set the ganache aside to cool at room temperature to thicken.  Whilst hot it is very runny and you’ll get in a mess if you try to use it like that.  How long it will take too cool is a bit like how long is a piece of string – it all depends on the cream, chocolate and the weather!

You need it to still be soft but thick enough that you can scoop it up with a palette knife without it all running off!

If the ganache sets too much you can heat it very gently in a microwave in short bursts until the correct consistency is achieved.

And it’s on to the buttercream.  Beat together the softened butter and sifted icing sugar.  Add a teaspoon of peppermint extract and taste.  If you want it extra minty add a little bit more.

I’ve added a little green food colouring to give it a pale green hint but that’s completely optional!

Take the cooled cakes and trim off the domed tops, so that the cakes are flat.  These never go to waste in our house, boys are quite happy to eat cake off cuts, or you could freeze them for a batch of cake pops later!

Spread the top of one cake with a thick layer of buttercream.  Apply a very scant layer the the top of the other cake.  Don’t use it all though, we’ll need some to coat the cake.

Using the After Eight mints create a complete layer on top of the thickly buttercreamed cake.  The chocs can easily be trimmed with a knife or scissors to fit the awkward bits!

Sandwich the two cakes together.

To prepare the cake for the ganache layer it needs to have a crumb coat of buttercream first.

Apply a thin layer to the top of the cake.

Now turn your attention to coating the sides.  A palette knife is the easiest tool for the job, working your way around the sides and using the edge of the knife in a plastering action to create a smooth finish.

Neaten up around the very top edge with the palette knife and place the cake in the fridge for 45 minutes or so until the buttercream sets firm.

Once the buttercream layer has set and the ganache is good to go, prepare your serving plate.  It’s best to ganache a cake in situ rather than trying to transfer it later.

So you don’t mess up the serving plate cut three long strips of baking paper and arrange on the plate.

Set the cake on top of them and centrally on the plate,  adjust the strips if need be.  They should cover the exposed part of the plate and sit just underneath the edges of the cake.

Ganache the cake in the same way you applied the buttercream, starting with a good coating to the top and then working your way around the sides.  Smooth the finish with your palette knife as you work, adding extra ganache in any places where the buttercream is peeping through.

When you are happy it is all covered and you have tidied up any messy spots carefully slide out the strips of baking paper.

For decoration I have added some extra After Eight mints cut into quarters and crumbled two Clarnico peppermint creams for the top.  Personally I don’t mind eating the rest of the bag but don’t go out and buy them specially!

And if that’s not enough inspiration for you, you can check out Edd Kimber’s Grasshopper Cake here  - and no, he doesn’t use real grasshoppers either!

And lastly if you haven’t already signed the petition for Save the Children’s Name a Day campaign, please visit the link and pledge your support x

Save the Children – Name A Day

It won’t cost you any money, just simply a little bit of your time and it could make all the difference.

Grasshopper Cake

Grasshopper Cake

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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21 Responses to Grasshopper Cake

  1. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Chocolate and mint – what better combo and this cake looks perfect for Mother’s Day in the UK.

  2. Jean says:

    I read the title and wondered what on earth it could be – cake with green icing perhaps – but this is fantastic. What a great idea. I’m putting a box of After Eights in my shopping basket this weekend !!

  3. Sallie says:

    I am going to bake this today for my son’s birthday cake.Thank you Ruth for posting it online and I have no doubt it will be just as delicious as all the other recipes I have tried of yours!

  4. kathryn v says:

    This looks yum. Love mint and choc, will have to leave this recipe lying about around Mother’s day as a big hint.

  5. Dawn says:

    Unfortunately my mum doesn’t like cake, BUT I do, I might just give this one a go, it looks lovely xx

  6. Heather says:

    This looks superb even though I’m not a peppermint fan myself I can see myself making it for those in the house who are. Could easily be adapted for other flavours. Thank you :)Best wishes from Auckland New Zealand

  7. I know a couple of people who would kill for this cake. What a great idea ( as usual) thats why I love your blog

  8. Eileen Wightman says:

    Oh Ruth! this cake sounds delicious…what a fabby partnership….chocolate and peppermint!!!! Going out today to buy some After Eight Mints and going to make this cake. Thank you!

  9. Ooooh I like the look of that bad boy!

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  11. I love the name of this cake! Do you know the origins behind it Ruth?

    • Yes, and for those that don’t ‘Grasshopper Cake’ was an eggless cake recipe devised in America – at the time grasshoppers were demolishing crops and greenery making provision of chicken feed very difficult, until then no eggs had meant no cakes – until the creation of Grasshopper cake an eggless cake recipe! x

  12. Gina says:

    I made this last night, and were having it after lunch today for my friends birthday! It turned out beautifully (as all the recipeson this site do! ) and I’m very excited to tuck into it later!

  13. sallie says:

    Hi Ruth, my cakes were quite heavy and solid and i wondered if it was because i used baking powder instead if bicarb of soda?

    • Most likely. This recipe needs the bicarbonate of soda to rise, don’t use baking powder because although it contains bicarbonate of soda it’s in different proportions. Xx

  14. hera howells says:

    I made this cake for my work mates last week.They loved it.Especially my boss who is now calling me the “best baker in the world”lol

  15. Judith says:

    I made this cake to take to a to a Birthday party, and every one thought it was lovely. To make it easier for cutting,I made it in a oblong shape.

  16. Karen Richards says:

    I entered a work cake bake-off competition for a bit of fun, after being renowned for not being able to make cakes! I started with the caramel dime bar cake, next round attempted the carrot cake, then the gingerbread cakes with little gingerbread men on top and my finale was the chocolate grasshopper cake. To my great surprise, and that of my family and friends too, I won! So thank you Pink Whisk, I couldn’t have done it without you! :)

  17. Pingback: Grasshopper Cake « Tilly Mint Boutique

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