Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Let me first start off with a confession. Peppermint is not my favorite flavor. When I think of it I remember those hard round candies I grudgingly ate as a child, sharp in flavor and definitely not a chocolate santa (my favorite). Fast forward to now where I’m facing my fears so to speak and making my take on a chocolate peppermint cake. In my opinion people sometimes people go overboard with adding the flavoring to desserts so for this cake I wanted to make the peppermint definitely noticeable but not overpowering. It’s chocolate cake, not a breath-mint… I thought it would be cute if the inside was a pink peppermint swirl but maybe I should have gone with the traditional red? What do you think??

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

A rich chocolate peppermint cake with a kiss of peppermint, a white chocolate peppermint buttercream filling, crushed peppermint and a silky Italian buttercream all over.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 people


For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder + 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp peppermint oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

For the Peppermint Buttercream

  • 1 cup white chocolate melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar sifted
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint oil
  • 1/4 cup cream add a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached
  • 10 drops food coloring

For the Italian Buttercream

  • 4 egg whites room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 pound unsalted butter room temperature

For the Assembly

  • 1 cup crushed candy caines (approximately)
  • 1 869 piping tip


For the Cake

  1. Butter and flour 4 six inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Sift the flour baking soda and powder, salt and cocoa powder.

  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and yolks in one at a time, then add in teh vanilla nad peppermint oil.

  4. In three batches, mix in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Don't overmix!

  5. Divide batter evenly into pans and bake at 350f for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the centers are done. Allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack. 

For the Buttercream

  1. Beat the butter and melted (and cooled) chocolate together until well combined. Mix in the powdered sugar and peppermint oil. Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

For the Italian Buttercream

  1. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartat and 1/3 a cup of the sugar on mediium high in a stand mixer. At the same time add the rest of the sugar and water to a small sauce pan and cook on medium high. Stir to mix the sugar and water and then keep an eye on the temperature ising a candy thermometer. When the sugar is at 240F and the egg whites reach the soft peak stage, slowly drizzle the sugar into the running mixer and lead the mixer running for 10 or so minutes to allow the meringue to cool. Add in the butter a tablespoon at a time use immediatelly. 

For the Assemby

  1. Pipe the buttercream on the first cake layer (you can do a two tone swirl if you'd like 🙂 Sprinkle with crushed candy caine and repeat. Crumb coat the exterior and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. 

  2. Add the Italain buttercream and smooth. Apply the crushed candy caine to the base. Using an 869 tip, pipe dollops onto the top. You can also pipe the dollops onto a piping nail, freeze and apply to the top once set. If you use the piping nail you can twirl it while you pipe to get a swirled dollop. 


Hypnotic pink peppermint swirls? Check!


My goal was to not mix another batch or buttercream just to finish the crumb coat so I was quite economical in my application. If you’re making the two tone buttercream I suggest mixing up a smaller pink batch.


OK, so this part was a NIGHTMARE! Normally I would bake and crumb coat and decorate all in the same day. But I had a cold and was swamped with holiday stuff so I baked the cake layers and wrapped them in plastic so I could crumb coat the next day. Sounded like a good idea at the time but the plastic really moistened the outside of the cake, which is totally fine on the eating end but not cool on the decorating side of things. Basically the crumb coat was VERY crumby and not willing to do what I wanted. I did my best and let it set in the fridge for a few minutes and thankfully it did it’s job and allowed me to apply a very clean layer of Italian buttercream for my final coat.


As for the crushed candy cane, I initially applied too much then had to carefully remove the top bits until I found the right proportion.


If you’re wondering why I piped the dollops separately instead of directly on the cake it’s because I wanted some nice uniform-ish swirls.


Hope you enjoy!

One Comment

  1. I love this. I will be making it today. The only thing I have never made is Italian Buttercream. I’m scared, but I’m going to try. I can’t wait to make the filling. It sounds yummy. I wanted to make a new cake for Christmas this year and thought about peppermint because it’s pretty. lol No one seems thrilled when I mention it, but let’s see what they say after this. My husband will be the taste tester. He insists I make it today. Thank you for your recipes. I’m so glad I found you. Your work is awesome.

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