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A photo showing a chcoclate peppermint cake with a piece being removed.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

A rich chocolate peppermint cake with a white chocolate peppermint buttercream filling, crushed peppermint and a silky Italian buttercream all over.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 290kcal


For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 240g
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar 300g
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 227g, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk 236mL
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder + 1 tbsp 58g
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 2g
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 3g
  • 1 tsp salt 5g
  • 2 tsp vanilla 10mL
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract 5mL
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

For the Peppermint Buttercream

  • 1 cup white chocolate 170g, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 115g, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar 454g, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 2mL
  • 1/4 cup cream 60mL, 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 300g
  • 1/3 cup water 80mL
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 pound unsalted butter 454g, room temperature

For the Assembly

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


For the Cake

  • Butter and flour 4 six inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Sift the flour baking soda and powder, salt and cocoa powder.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and yolks in one at a time, then add in the vanilla and peppermint extract.
  • In three batches, mix in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Don't over-mix!
  • 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 Peppermint Buttercream

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

For the Italian Buttercream

  • Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/3 a cup of the sugar on medium 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 using 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 immediately. 

For the Assemby

  • Pipe the buttercream on the first cake layer (you can do a two tone swirl if you'd like :) Sprinkle with crushed candy cane and repeat. Crumb coat the exterior and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. 
  • Add the Italian buttercream and smooth. Apply the crushed candy cane 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. 



  • If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
  • If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set online or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
  • To pipe the two-tone frosting you fill one bag (1/2 way full) with white frosting, one bag with blue frosting and then put both bags in a third piping bag. No need for a tip, just snip about an inch off each bag.


Serving: 113g | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 2.3mg