Mint chocolate cake

Mint chocolate cake (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

8. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans, smooth the surfaces with a spatula and bake in the center of the oven until the surface springs back when touched and the cake has started to pull away from the walls of the pan, about 30 minutes.

9. Transfer the cake pans to cooling racks or folded towels for 10 minutes, then overturn the pans onto a rack or plate and tap lightly to remove the cakes from the pans and paper. Turn the cakes right side up again and cool to room temperature.

Simple mint frosting and assembly

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 (1-pound) boxes confectioner's sugar, sifted

Heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt

Scant 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, or to taste

Prepared cake layers

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes over low speed. Add confectioner's sugar and continue to beat until evenly incorporated. With mixer running, add salt and peppermint extract and mix. Add one-fourth cup of the milk and beat into the frosting, adding additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting has a light, fluffy, spreadable consistency. This makes a scant 8 cups frosting.

2. Assemble the cake: Put 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate. Cover the exposed surface with about 2 cups frosting, and spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake to make the filling. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting.

Each of 16 servings: 664 calories; 4 grams protein; 104 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 28 grams fat; 17 grams saturated fat; 109 mg. cholesterol; 294 mg. sodium.