I hope you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit, because if this Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake doesn’t inspire Christmas cheer I don’t know what will!
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake
This cake uses a mixture of unsweetened chocolate and Dutch-processed cocoa powder. And has mini chocolate chips baked inside!
Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder: This type of cocoa powder has a higher pH than natural cocoa powder. The higher pH helps neutralize the acids and deepens the color of this cake. Don’t substitute natural cocoa powder for Dutch-processed.
All-purpose Flour: This is a great choice for chocolate cakes and other cakes that need structure.
Baking Soda: is an alkali and must be used with another acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk, sour cream, molasses or brown sugar in order to produce carbon dioxide.
Baking Powder: is a mixture of baking soda and cornstarch. The cornstarch helps absorb moisture and prevents premature production of gas. Baking powder works when it meets liquid and again when it hits heat. Be sure to use baking powder within 6 months or it will lose its effectiveness.
Salt: Salts primary function in any recipe is to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients to heighten the overall taste of the product.
Boiling Water: helps dissolve the instant espresso powder and cocoa powder in this recipe.
Unsweetened Chocolate: provides a bold hit of chocolate flavor in this cake.
Instant Espresso Powder: helps enhance the chocolate flavor.
Unsalted Butter: the amount of salt in butter varies by brand so I always use unsalted butter. Plus, salted butter also contains more water than unsalted butter, which can affect gluten development.
Brown Sugar: helps deepen the color of this cake and enhances the rich chocolate flavor.
Eggs: bind, thicken, emulsify and leaven. I always use large eggs for consistency sake.
Sour Cream: gives this cake a slightly tangy taste and adds moistness. Sour cream can be substituted with buttermilk or yogurt in most baking recipes.
Vanilla Extract: enhances flavor.
This is a traditional American buttercream, made with primarily butter, shortening and powdered sugar. Think bakery-style frosting. It’s easy to make and use. And it’s versatile.
You can easily make this recipe using all butter or all shortening. Change up the flavors by substituting your favorite extract or emulsion for the peppermint extract to the buttercream.
This is a crusting buttercream so be sure to cover the buttercream with a damp paper towel if you aren’t using it right away.
How To Create The Striped Filling
- Attach a Wilton #12 piping tip or other round piping tip on to piping bags.
- Fill one bag with red buttercream and the other with white buttercream.
- Starting in the center of the cake pipe a dollop of red in the center. Then trace around the red dollop of buttercream with white buttercream. Continue to alternate the buttercream colors as you trace each one. You should end up with something that resembles a target.
How To Apply A Crumb Coat
After you’ve filled your cake you’ll need to apply a crumb coat.
- Separate about 2 cups of white frosting to use for your crumb coat.
- Spread reserved buttercream over the top and sides in an even layer. Remove extra frosting if needed.
- Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Crumb coating helps seal in loose crumbs and fills in any gaps in your cake, creating a base for you to decorate on.
How To Apply Stripes To The Sides Of The Cake
- With your cake on a cake turntable, take the piping bag with the red frosting and holding the bag perpendicular to the side of the cake, pipe a ring around the cake.
- Continue to move up the sides of the cake alternating the frosting colors.
- Smooth the sides of the cake by using an icing smoother to reveal the stripes. Be sure to smooth the buttercream one rotation at a time, filling in any gaps by adding more buttercream before smoothing again with a clean icing smoother. ❗️REMEMBER: The more the buttercream is smoothed, the more your buttercream colors will blend together.
- Use an offset spatula to clean the top edges of the cake by pulling excess frosting toward the center of the cake. Add more white buttercream to the top of the cake if needed and smooth the top.
How To Make White Chocolate Drip
Making white chocolate drip is no small feat. It took me more tries than I thought it would. I stopped counting after 3 failures. But that just made me more determined to get my white chocolate drip down pat! After scouring the Interwebs and trying all sorts of ratios mentioned, alas none of them worked for me 😕. My problem was the white chocolate drip never set enough for me to add additional decoration to the top of my cake.
Many of the websites I found suggested a 2 to 1 ratio of white chocolate to cream or a 3 to 1 ratio. But those didn’t work for me. What did work for me was using a 4 to 1 ratio! I also opted to go with white chocolate melts just to make it a little easier on myself. Voila! A white chocolate drip that set in just about an hour and was firm enough to add additional decoration on top of!
I used extra white chocolate melts but if you can’t find those you can use the regular white chocolate candy melts and add white food coloring to it.
The Cake Chica’s White Chocolate Drip Ratio
- 180 grams (1 cup) extra white chocolate candy melts
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Place candy melts in a microwavable bowl and add in heavy cream. Microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring between each interval until melted.
Let chocolate cool at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it reaches about 85 to 90 degrees.
Add drip to a squeeze bottle, piping bag or use a spoon to drip over the sides of a chilled cake.
White Chocolate Drip Tips
- Chop chocolate candy melts so they melt more easily and smooth.
- Microwave candy melts at 20 second intervals, whisking between each interval until melted and smooth.
- My golden ratio is 4 parts chocolate to 1 part cream.
- Use a candy thermometer to ensure the perfect drizzling consistency. I drizzled mine at about 92 degrees.
- Make sure your cake is chilled before applying the drip. A chilled cake helps control the drips.
- I like to use a spoon to strategically drip, but other options are using a squeeze bottle or a piping bag.
How To Decorate Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake
After your stripes and white chocolate drip have been applied, it’s now time to finish it off!
- Once your white chocolate drip has set firm enough to decorate on top of, fit a piping bag with Ateco piping tip #827.
- Cut the couplers and piping tips off the piping bags with red and white buttercream.
- Stick both of the piping bags into the piping bag with tip #827.
- Pipe 8 swirls on the top edge of the cake.
- Sprinkle bespoke sprinkles over the swirls and add more to the center.
- Finish each swirl off with a Lindt white peppermint truffle.
Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake Baking Schedule
- Day 1: Bake cake layers.
- Day 2: Prepare the buttercream, assemble, decorate and serve.
- Cake layers can be made up to 5 days in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Cake layers can also be frozen for up to one month, wrapped in plastic wrap and then in foil. Thaw cakes at room temperature.
- Assembled cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container or at room temperature for 1 day.
You May Also Like
- 3 8-inch round cake pans
- Nonstick baking spray
- Red gel food coloring
- 8-inch round cake board
- Cake turntable
- 3 Piping bags
- 2 Wilton #12 piping tips
- Icing smoother
- Small offset cake spatula
- Ateco piping tip #827
- Bespoke sprinkles from Spinklepop (optional)
- Lindt white chocolate truffles (optional)
DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
- 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups boiling water
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (1.5 ounces) Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces)packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 7 tablespoons (plus more if needed) water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 pounds (12 cups) powdered sugar
WHITE CHOCOLATE DRIP
- 180 grams (1 cup) Wilton Very White chocolate candy melts
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
- Adjust your oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl add the boiling water, chocolate, cocoa powder and instant espresso powder, whisk until smooth.
- Attach the paddle attachment to a stand mixer and beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition until combined. Beat in sour cream and peppermint extract until incorporated.
- With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Add the mini chocolate chips and give the batter a few final stirs by hand.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with an offset cake spatula or rubber spatula. Gently tap the cake pans on the counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Rotate cake pans twice through baking.
- Let cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert cakes on to wire racks to cool completely, about 2 hours.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter, shortening and extract on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the water, peppermint extract, salt and half of the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- On low speed, slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Use frosting immediately or cover with a damp cloth, as the frosting will start to harden as it sits.
- Place one cake layer on a cake board and place on a cake turntable.
- Reserve about 2 cups of the frosting to use for your crumb coat.
- Divide remaining frosting between 2 bowls and color one bowl of frosting with red gel food coloring. Fit two piping bags with Wilton #12 piping tips. Place white frosting in one piping bag and red frosting in the other piping bag.
- Create a stripped candy effect by piping a silver dollar sized circle in the center of the cake layer that’s on the cake turntable with red buttercream. Them trace that circle with white buttercream, followed by another layer of red and another layer of white, until you reach the edge of the cake. It should look like a target. Repeat this process with the second cake layer.
- Place the last cake layer on top, (bottom side up) and use the reserved frosting to apply a thin crumb coat of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to catch any loose crumbs. Once your crumb coat has been applied, chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Starting at the bottom of the cake, pipe a ring around the cake with red frosting, followed by the white frosting and work your way up, alternating with the frostings.
- With an icing smoother, smooth the sides of the cake rotating the cake on the turntable one rotation at a time. Check to see if you need to fill in any gaps with red or white frosting and with a clean icing smoother, smooth the frosting one more time. The more you smooth the cake the more the frosting will blend together, so don’t over smooth.
- Use a small offset spatula to clean the top edge of the cake by pulling any excess frosting towards the center of the cake. (Add additional white frosting to the top of the cake if needed.) Chill the cake in the refrigerator while you prepare the White Chocolate Drip
WHITE CHOCOLATE DRIP
- In a microwavable bowl combined candy melts and heavy cream and microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring between each interval until melted.
- Let chocolate cool at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the melted chocolate reaches 85 to 95 degrees.
- Add chocolate drip to a squeeze bottle, piping bag or use a spoon to apply to the sides of the cake. Pour remaining white chocolate drip in the center of the cake and spread to meet the edges of the dripped chocolate.
- Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour so the chocolate drip can set before adding additional decoration.
- Fit a piping bag with Ateco piping tip #827. Cut the piping tips off of the piping bags used to create the striped effect on the sides of the cake. Place both of those piping bags in the one piping bag with Ateco piping tip #827.
- Pipe swirls on the top edges of the cake and top with festive sprinkles and peppermint truffles.
Storage: Cake layers can be made up to 5 days in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cake layers can also be frozen for up to one month, wrapped in plastic wrap and then in foil. Thaw cakes at room temperature.
Assembled cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container or at room temperature for 1 day.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 7587Total Fat: 466gSaturated Fat: 274gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 157gCholesterol: 395mgSodium: 1586mgCarbohydrates: 801gFiber: 5gSugar: 777gProtein: 81g
*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*