Chocolate peppermint cake.

Chocolate peppermint cake.

While it’s in the oven, this cake makes everything smell like a Thin Mint.

It tastes different. Nothing — no imitation — quite tastes like any given Girl Scout cookie — including copycat Girl Scout cookie recipes. But it’s a very good cake nonetheless — and egg free into the bargain for those who are allergic.

It doesn’t just smell good. It’s moist and has great flavor too.

Just don’t be overeager and frost it before it’s completely cool or you’ll end up with frosting melted all over the cake — not a good look.

Cake

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

‘1/2 vegetable oil

2/3 cup low sugar homemade applesauce *

1 tbs. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

1 cup hot water

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

Frosting

1 cup room-temperature butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

3 tbs. milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two nine-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients — flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and salt — with a whisk or a fork.

In another bowl, beat oil, applesauce, vanilla, peppermint extract and buttermilk until well-mixed. Add flour mixture a cup at a time to wet ingredients, mixing until combined after each addition.

Dissolve instant espresso powder in cup of hot water. Add espresso mixture to cake batter. The batter will be runny, but that’s ok — it’s supposed to be that way.

Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes in the pans and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. This could take several hours. Be patient.

To make the frosting:

Cream the butter using a mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix on low until fully incorporated. Still on low speed, add vanilla, peppermint extract and milk until frosting is at the proper consistency. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk and if the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Place cake rounds in the freezer for a few minutes before frosting to ensure good, even coating.

Makes 10 servings.

* You don’t have to use homemade applesauce. You can. I used it in mine just because that was what I had in the pantry. Store-bought applesauce — sweet or unsweet — would work just fine.

LYDIA KAUTZ is the Managing Editor of the Junction City Union.

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