Peppermint Bark Cake
This cake tastes exactly like my favorite holiday candy. Only better...because it has frosting.
Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the movies (Love Actually, so good!), the music, the lights, the trees, and the festive flavors that come to life in coffee and desserts. It makes me giddy. All I want to do is drench myself in hot chocolate, hang snowflakes in every corner of my house, and eat Peppermint Bark...for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I'm convinced I could live off it). What can I say- it's the Christmas spirit, and I feel it deep.
I become very annoying to my family, mainly my husband, who refers to me as an over-excited (ok, he says obnoxious) holiday elf. Although, I like to see myself more as Mrs. Claus...just younger and (hopefully) better dressed.
We all seem to rush the holiday season. "Jingle Bells" is playing in the local gift shops before Halloween has passed. But for me, it couldn't come soon enough. Especially the part where I get to eat Peppermint Bark for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Peppermint Bark, for those of you who have never tried it, is a Christmas miracle. It's a layer of decadent dark chocolate, topped with another layer of rich white chocolate, and then topped with crushed candy canes. It's not only gorgeous to look at, with all the contrasting colors, it tastes like winter, like the North Pole. It's smooth and sweet, surprisingly refreshing, full of texture, and absolutely crave-worthy. It melts in your mouth. I'm obsessed with it (breakfast lunch and dinner).
So obsessed, in fact, that I decided to take it to the next level, by creating a Peppermint Bark cake...which has become my new breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This cake is everything. EVERYTHING. It's layered dark chocolate cake with the most delicious white chocolate peppermint buttercream. This buttercream has melted white chocolate and peppermint extract mixed in, making it truly sensational. I top the cake with crushed candy cane, giving it a holiday inspired charm and adding a unique sweet, peppermint crunch. It makes a wonderful cupcake as well, no change needed with the recipe.
Peppermint Bark Cake
Dark Chocolate Cake
Makes two 9" cake rounds or three 6" rounds
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark (for high altitude increase by 1/4 cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder (for high altitude decrease by 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
- 1 tsp baking soda (for high altitude decrease by 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (for high altitude decrease by 1 to 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs at room temperature (for high altitude add 1 egg)
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons brewed strong coffee (for high altitude increase 2-3 tablespoons)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (for high altitude 375°F). Butter and flour three 6" round cake pans or two 9" round cake pans.
- In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter, on medium high speed, till light and fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.
- On low speed, add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix till combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
- On low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of the milk. Repeat. Mix until smooth but do not over beat.
- Divide the batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
- Bake on middle rack for 30-35 minutes, till a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
* Baker's Note: For precise altitude adjustments see here.
White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 tsp of pure peppermint extract
- 1-3 tsp of whole milk, at room temperature
- crushed peppermint candy or candy canes for garnish
- In microwave safe bowl, heat the white chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir. Return to microwave for 15 seconds more. Stir. Repeat till melted and smooth. Be careful not to burn. Allow to cool.
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter till smooth.
- Add half the powdered sugar. Beat till combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar. Beat till combined.
- Add the cooled, melted white chocolate and pure peppermint extract. Beat till combined.
- The consistency of the buttercream frosting should be smooth and spreadable. Add milk only if frosting seems too thick, and add 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Place a flat bottomed cooled cake layer on a serving platter. Cover the top with a generous layer of frosting.
- Place the second cake layer, flat side facing up, on top of the frosted first layer. Cover the top with a generous layer of frosting.
- Place the final cake layer, flat side facing up. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cake from fridge and apply a thin crumb coat of buttercream (see baker's note). Chill for 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove cake from fridge and, with an offset spatula, apply a generous layer of buttercream frosting over the entire cake, starting at the top and smoothing down and over the sides. Top with crushed candy canes.
- I used three 6" cake layers, rather than two 9" layers. I prefer two layers of coconut frosting rather than one. If using only two cake layers skip step 2.
- A crumb layer is a thin layer of frosting that covers the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. The frosted layer is chilled, making your final layer of frosting more polished.
- If making cupcakes, bake for 25-28 minutes, or till a tester comes out clean.
- Can be made one day ahead, kept chilled.