Soft layers of rich chocolate cake, studded with white chocolate peppermint, wrapped in white chocolate peppermint buttercream - this cake has all the magic of Christmas morning!
As the weather draws colder and colder here in Utah, the chill in the air is so crisp it takes my breath away. Although there hasn't been any snow quite yet (there usually is about a foot by now!), the air feels thick with winter, and I have to try harder each day to not just sit around watching Christmas movies with a cup of creamy hot chocolate next to our Christmas tree and cozy fireplace. I mean, who couldn't stay away, right?
However, with the holiday season comes a new kind of busy, and it's always so fun to get out and see all the gorgeous Christmas lights, see a live Nativity, or attend a family Christmas party. With that last one, usually a cake is involved, and if it's not, I always try to find a way to see if I can bring a cake anyway!
Echoing one of my favorite flavors of hot chocolate (peppermint, of course!), I went straight for the bright red and white candy cane stripes and chocolate cake layers!
Case of the Stripes:
The outside is frosted in stripes, and this is honestly easier to create than one would think. All you do is split your buttercream batch into two parts. Tint one of the parts bright red (I love the Wilton "very red" option for this one), and then fill two piping bags with the buttercream (one red, one white, NO piping tips needed for this step!). Using your turntable, start with one horizontal layer of red, then white, then red, then white, until you've reached the top of your cake. Using a cake scraper, pull the scraper along the side of the cake, keeping it steady, in a horizontal motion. Clean the scraper off with a wet towel, or paper towel, after each time around the cake. This keeps those lines super straight and clean. Next, fill in the layers as needed with the piping bags, a little at a time, and go around with the cake scraper again until all the spots have been filled in, and there's a clean & sleek look on the outside of the cake! And there you have your candy cane stripes! I also added the stripes to the inside, to keep the red and white theme all throughout the cake. It turned out so fun!
I get the question ALL THE TIME on how to get such a white-looking ganache drip on my cakes. Truth is - it's all in the chocolate melts you use to begin with! Most traditional white chocolate has a bit of an ivory color to it (kind of yellowish). I love using it for flavoring, but when it comes to the white drip, I immediately reach for the Wilton "Very White" Chocolate Candy Melts. You can find them at Walmart, or your local craft stores with all the other melting chocolate. Make sure it says "very white" or you'll still get the ivory-looking drip. Make your traditional ganache with the very white chips + a splash of heavy cream, and you have your white drip!
White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream
I LOVE using white chocolate in my buttercream recipes. I use it in my raspberry white chocolate buttercream, and it adds a touch of creaminess and flavor that can't be beat! The trick is to melt the white chocolate all the way before adding it into your buttercream mixture. You don't want the little bits of hard white chocolate in there or it will make things very tricky while smoothing out your cake. A touch of peppermint extract will add in that gorgeous flavor without heading towards the "toothpaste" side of peppermint. I always aim for the peppermint extract vs. the mint extract. Save the mint for St.Patricks day - this cake is all Christmas peppermint!
I love how the white drip looks like melted snow on the cake, and to top everything off, I went for my favorite Neon Yolk sprinkles on top with a few soft peppermints. It really added in a touch of Christmas sparkle, and tied everything together so beautifully.
I added the Andes white chocolate peppermint bricks to the cake batter, as you can see, but it's totally optional. I mean, it adds even more peppermint flavor to the cake, but it's totally up to you!
Hope you enjoy my Chocolate Peppermint Cake this Christmas, and for many Christmases to come as you gather with those you love most.
Chocolate Peppermint Cake with
White Chocolate Peppermint Frosting
makes 3x 5" cake rounds, or 2x 8" cake rounds worth (so double if you are doing an 8" pan for 4 layers)
chocolate peppermint cake
3 whole large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 box of dark chocolate or devils food cake mix
optional: 1/2 cup Andes peppermint mints/melts chopped
*see notes for high altitude
white chocolate peppermint buttercream:
1/4 cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream + 1/4 cup heavy cream, separated
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
4-6 cups sifted powdered sugar
white ganache drip
1 cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
for the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep cake rounds (I use a rub of shortening and a dust of flour). Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Sift in the cake mix and cocoa and stir until just combined, add in peppermint candies if desired. Don't overmix!
3. Separate cake batter into the prep cake rounds, and bake for 20-25 minutes (start at 20, and if center isn't baked through, keep it in for a couple minutes longer). Remove from oven, let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature. (I wrap my layers in plastic wrap and freeze for about a half hour at least before frosting them - much easier to work with cold cakes).
for the frosting:
1. Melt white chocolate in the microwave with the splash of heavy cream for about 30 seconds, stir, then for another 10 seconds until it's thoroughly melted and whisked together (no lumps!). Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, toss in the butter and mix until butter is light and fluffy, scrape down the sides, then add in the white chocolate ganache, extracts, pinch of salt, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and mix together to thoroughly combine.
3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low-medium. You may use all the 6 cups, or only 4 cups, it will all depend on your taste and desired consistency! Add in more heavy cream or extracts if needed (very little at a time). Whip on high speed for about 3 minutes, then beat by hand with a wooden spoon to get out any air pockets.
1. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add in the white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, then another 30 seconds. Don't overnuke. Whisk until there are no more pieces of white chocolate, and everything is combined.
Stack layers, crumb coat, freeze for 10 minutes, frost with the final layer, freeze for 10 minutes, then add the ganache drip and final decor. Enjoy!
Add in 1/8 cup all-purpose flour to the cake batter if you're in high altitude to prevent sinking.
Make sure ganache isn't too thick or warm for the cake when adding the drip.
Recipe source: Baking with Blondie original