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slice missing from chocolate candy cane cake

Chocolate Candy Cane 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.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake recipe, candy cane cake, chocolate candy cane cake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 509kcal


  • 9" round cake pans


For the Chocolate Cake

For the Peppermint Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter softened (3 sticks, 3/4 lb)
  • 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or more, as needed
  • 6 candy canes crushed (for garnish)


  • 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!


How much frosting should I make? The listed recipe makes enough frosting to fill and frost a three layer cake. If you’re only baking two layers, I recommend cutting the recipe down. Use the following increments: 1 cup softened butter, 1 pound powdered sugar,  pinch of salt, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla, 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/4 cup heavy cream (or more, as needed). Use the same directions to make the frosting as listed in the recipe card. 


Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 643IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg