Butter Late Than Never: Mint Chocolate Cake

A cooking series for college students with toddler-level culinary skills


My great grandmother used to say that food had a “life force” of its own. She believed in it the way she believed in love — it was capable of something amazing, even if you didn’t know it.

To her, food was what brought families together. It was like a magic glue.

My mother adopted her affinity for homemade dishes. My childhood was blissfully sprinkled with parmesan cheese, basil and a delicate array of spices. If you asked my mother if she considers herself a cook, she would undoubtedly answer “no.” She would blush and shake her head, insisting that most of her dishes “are nothing fancy.”

But if you were to ask me, I would tell you that her home made ice cream cake was the reason my 10th birthday was unforgettable. Her chicken parmesan was the comfort I needed after those painfully dramatic middle school days.

I would tell you that her banana bread and chocolate chip cookies got me through high school, midterms and college finals. It repaired the seemingly permanent damage after horrific first dates and countless broken hearts. It brought the people in my life around one table and allowed me to make the most beautiful memories over the conversation of silverware and the cheers of glasses.

My mother’s cooking made my house a home. It made me the woman I am today.

After 21 years of basking in the holiness that is my mother’s cooking, one might think that I inherited some of her culinary abilities. This could not be further from the truth.

My mother tried her best to teach me her ways around the kitchen, but I failed at even the most basic tasks. At the time, I paid little attention because I couldn’t imagine a time where I’d have to cook for myself.

That time has arrived.

I just moved into my first apartment. I have my own kitchen and it took me less than 24 hours to realize that I have the cooking skills of an 11-year-old. It turns out that making a meal requires more than just a microwave.

So as I sit in my apartment and stare at the kitchen begrudgingly and wonder for the third time this week if I should have oatmeal or cereal for dinner, I find myself wishing I picked up a recipe or two from the master herself.

This brings me to my current endeavor: Cooking my way through the rest of college and adulthood — or at least trying to. Through Pinterest recipes and some of my mother’s dishes, I will attempt recipes until my culinary skills have evolved past cereal and macaroni and cheese.

Join me in trying to maneuver the world of food. It’s going to be a delicious journey — I hope.

You Want a Piece of Me?

It was my roommate’s birthday this week. What better way to start my journey than to bake her a cake?

As I stood in the baking aisle ready to begin, I realized the mint chocolate cake Pinterest recipe was far beyond my cooking level and budget.

So here is my highly modified, toddler-level recipe that won’t break the bank. It only takes about an hour to make. It was a huge hit with my friends and I recommend making it for the mint enthusiast in your life.


1 box of Betty Crocker Triple Fudge Cake Mix

1 package of crushed Mint Oreos (double stuffed because they are superior to all others)

1 bag of Nestle Semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 container Betty Crocker Chocolate frosting

One 9-inch x 13-inch pan

Pam Non- Stick Cooking Spray

½ cup Vegetable Oil

1 ¼ cups Water

3 eggs

1 Gallon size Ziploc bag

Step 1: Read and execute the directions on the back of the “Fudge Cake” box

This is the easiest and most essential step in the process. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and pour all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix them. The box calls for the use of a mixer to beat everything together. But in college, the only way I could ever afford one of those is by selling some of my organs.

So mix it by hand and stop when it looks creamy.

Step 2: Keep reading the instructions on the box

Don’t question Betty Crocker.

Step 3: Crush it

While your dessert is rising in the oven, take a handful of mint Oreos. Throw them in a Ziploc bag and seal it. Repeatedly pummel said Oreos with any dull blunt object within reach until they are completely crushed up. I used the spine of my old math textbook.

Step 4: Treat yo’ self

Because it takes about 30 minutes for the cake to bake you will have some down time before it is done. Crack open the frosting and eat a spoonful. This is not required, but I recommend it.

Step 5: The cool down

Once that half hour is up, stick a toothpick in the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Or, if you’re super excited to put on the frosting and the toppings like me, you could wait just five minutes before you begin spreading the frosting. You run the risk of botching the top of the cake, but you can just cover up the mistakes with more frosting.

Step 6: Pizzazz

Once the cake has cooled, spread all the chocolate frosting . Take the bag of crushed mint Oreos and a handful of the chocolate chips and sprinkle them over the frosting. For a little extra razzle-dazzle, break apart some whole Oreos you might have left and stick them on the top of the cake. Make a design with them. Whatever floats your boat.


Email Rachel at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @RachelEAyotte.

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