Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and cover with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit pan with a little excess overhang for easy removal from pan.
Spoon cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top. Bring the water to a boil, then pour over chocolate mixture. Cover and let rest for 2 minutes. Stir in pepper- mint extract (mixture will be a thick paste). Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add butter, extra fine sugar and brown sugar, and beat
on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer running on medium, add eggs 1 at
a time until each is fully combined. Add salt and 1⁄3 cup flour, and mix on low to combine. Scrape bowl and
add remaining 2⁄3 cup flour in 1⁄3-cup increments.
Pour about 1⁄4 of batter into prepared pan, and smooth out in a thin layer. Run a spoon down center of batter in pan to create a well.
Remove green trees from freezer and arrange standing in a row down center of pan in the well, pressing flat sides of each tree up next to each other, but leaving enough room at either end of pan for some cake batter. Pour remaining cake batter around and over top of trees. Bake at 325 degrees until a wood skewer inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and set on a wire rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours.
2 oz. (1⁄4 cup) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Red, white and green sprinkles for garnish (optional)
Stir mini chocolate chips together with cream in a small microwavable bowl. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth. Let cool a few minutes to thicken slightly so glaze will adhere to cake without completely running off. Pour glaze over top of cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. To serve, cut to reveal Christmas trees hiding inside.