Chocolate-covered mint leaves and fresh raspberries make delicious garnishes for this mint-flavored chocolate cake.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 x 2-inch (6-1/2 cups) heart pans. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper; grease paper; dust pans with flour.
2. Prepare Basic Chocolate Cake, substituting 1 to 2 teaspoons mint extract for vanilla, and pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 45 minutes. Unmold and cool, following recipe directions.
3. Reserve enough of largest mint leaves to fill top of cake. Wash, drain and thoroughly pat dry.
4. Meanwhile, mix semisweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening in small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth. Repeat in another pan with white chips and remaining shortening.
5. Brush tops of half of mint leaves with semisweet chocolate, and other leaves with white chocolate. If chocolate hardens, return saucepan to low heat, stirring.
6. Place leaves over rolling pin to give rounded shape to coated leaves. Set aside to harden. Recoat if desired.
7. While cake layers are cooling, prepare Chocolate Ganache Frosting and Glaze, substituting 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract for vanilla.
8. When cakes are completely cooled, slice off rounded top if necessary to flatten (reserve trimmings for snacks ). Invert one layer on serving plate. Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of refrigerated ganache over top of layer. Place second layer on top, bottom up. Spread remaining refrigerated ganache over sides of cake, using a long, thin metal spatula to smooth as evenly as possible. Chill for 1 hour.
9. Pour the room-temperature glaze over the top of the cake. The glaze should be thick, but pourable. If too thick, gently fold in 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream; avoid creating bubbles. Smooth carefully with long, thin metal spatula to coat top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. Spoon raspberries onto top center of cake. Arrange the chocolate mint leaves all around the remaining top of cake. Makes 16 servings.. Note:
10. If 2-inch-deep heart-shaped pans are not available, fill two 8 x 1-1/4 inch (4-1/2 cups) heart-shaped pans with 3 cups batter each. Spoon the remaining batter into 8 greased 2-1/2-inch muffin-pan cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake cakes, including cupcakes, in the heated 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cakes and cupcakes from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Frost and decorate if desired (additional frosting must be made if decorating cupcakes, or use prepared frosting).