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The ultimate Christmas Cake! This Chocolate Candy Cane Cake is a soft and sweet chocolate cake frosted with a creamy peppermint frosting and topped with crushed candy canes. It’s the perfect show stopping dessert for the holidays. I use my Classic Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Buttercream as the basis for this gorgeous cake.
A Decadent Christmas Cake
While I can appreciate all the Christmas cookies and treats I make during the holidays, there isn’t anything quite like the chocolate and peppermint combo to really make December sing. Enter this Chocolate Candy Cane Cake. Since I hate eating candy canes by themselves (and already have stuffed them into cookies), why not add them into a beautiful, chocolatey, moist cake? It truly is the most delicious cake.
How to Make a Chocolate Candy Cane Cake
While this may seem like a lot of steps, I promise it’s not too terrible! Yes, it will take 2-3 hours, but most of that time is baking and cooling time. Also, make sure you have room in your freezer for this cake! Adding a crumb coating and freezing all those brown, chocolate crumbs into place makes decorating a breeze!
Make the Chocolate Cake
In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together to combine. Set aside. Then in a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk, vanilla and instant coffee granules (if using) together. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, mix oil and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg white, one at a time, until mixture becomes lighter in color. Alternate adding in dry and wet ingredients, being sure to start and end with dry. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter. Divide evenly between cake pans and bake.
Make the Peppermint Frosting
While the cakes are baking, make the peppermint frosting by stirring butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and peppermint extract together to break up the butter. Slowly add in heavy cream until the frosting forms. You want it to be thick and smooth. You should be able to drag a butter knife through it easily. Set this aside.
Cool Chocolate Cakes
After your cakes have baked completely, cool to room temperature. The cakes need to be completely at room temperature before you frost them to prevent the frosting from melting off the cake.
Layer Chocolate Cakes with Frosting
Frost the cake by layering cake with frosting and crushed candy canes in between each of the three layers, then doing a crumb coating and freezing for 15 minutes before adding the final layer of frosting. You will still see some of the chocolate cake edges because the cake is darker than the frosting, but this is totally normal. Nothing to worry about! Add crushed candy canes to the bottom half of the cake and top. Finish off with rosettes or dollops of frosting around the top. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
What is a Crumb Coating?
A crumb coating is a thin coating of frosting around the entire cake. This helps ‘lock in’ the crumbs so that the second layer of frosting can get applied completely smoothly with no crumbs to be found. Be sure to freeze that crumb coating layer onto your cake before adding the second layer. It makes a big difference!
Garnish with Crushed Candy Canes
After you’re finished frosting the cake and you’re happy with the finished look, garnish with crushed candy canes. I like a messier look, adding them around the bottom half of the cake, but you can decorate however you’d like. Add rosettes or dollops of frosting to the top and add more candy cane pieces. Cut into pieces and serve!
Other Christmas Treats You Will Love
While I know you all will LOVE this Chocolate Candy Cane Cake, here are are other options that are really popular on my site this time of year:
- Homemade Egg Nog
- Gingerdoodles (soft ginger cookies)
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Shortbread Cookies
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies (one of my most popular cookie recipes for Christmas!)
Anyways, I hope you love this Chocolate Candy Cane Cake recipe as much as we did! It’s a beauty! Have a great day, friends!
Chocolate Candy Cane Cake
For the Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules such as Folgers (optional)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg white
- 9" round cake pans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper and/or spray well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. (See notes.)
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk, vanilla and instant coffee granules (if using) together. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, mix oil and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg white, one at a time, until mixture becomes lighter in color, about 90 seconds.
- Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter.
- Divide evenly between baking pans and smooth the top. Bake 22-30 minutes in the lower 2/3rds of the oven. If you're using two cake pans instead of three, you will need to bake this cake 28-35 minutes. Cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Cool 15-20 minutes in cake pans before trying to invert on cooling racks. Once you can handle the warm pans with your bare hands, you can flip them out. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.
- See recipe notes for how much frosting you will need to make. In a large bowl, measure and add butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and peppermint extract. Stir with beaters on low (or paddle attachment on stand mixer) to mix and break up the butter. It will still be very powdery and dry. Slowly add in the heavy cream. Once you notice the frosting start to come together stop adding the cream. You may need to add more than the amount listed. This is also normal. Increase mixer speed to medium to get rid of any lumps and create a smooth frosting. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure a completely smooth frosting. Peppermint frosting will be done when it can hold its shape, but you can easily move a butter knife through it. If it's too thick, add more cream and mix. If you've added too much cream and the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If you notice there are a lot of air bubbles in your frosting, use a large wooden spoon to beat a lot of the air out of the frosting by hand.
- Frost the cake by layering cake with frosting and crushed candy canes in between each of the three layers, then doing a crumb coating (a thin coating of peppermint frosting around the entire cake) and freezing for 15 minutes before adding the final layer of frosting. You will still see some of the chocolate cake edges because the cake is darker than the frosting, but this is totally normal. Nothing to worry about! Add crushed candy canes to the bottom half of the cake and top. Finish off with rosettes or dollops of frosting around the top. Cut into pieces and enjoy!