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Chocolate Mint Layer Cake with Mint Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk, hot
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, hot
2 large eggs
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 baking sheet with waxed paper. Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk in milk and melted butter, then eggs and peppermint extract. Spread batter in pan. Bake until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack.

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in large bowl until blended.

Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto work surface. Peel off waxed paper. Cut cake crosswise in half. Using spatula, place 1 cake half on platter; spread with 2 cups frosting. Top with remaining cake half. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

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