Inside a glittery exterior, this Chocolate Peppermint Cake has rich chocolate cake layers filled with white chocolate peppermint buttercream before being covered in sparkly sugar and a rosemary forest.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
At first glance, the crystal-like sanding sugar glitters about in its own gorgeous way.
Inside the sparkly exterior are rich chocolate cake layers filled with a white chocolate peppermint buttercream. Seriously, guys. How amazing does that sound?!?!
This chocolate peppermint cake is from my book, Layered. I’ve always been a fan of mint and chocolate together, and I thrilled that others have been equally excited about the combination.
Here is a quick glance at some of the ingredients needed beyond basic pantry staples. Find a complete list with quantities in the full recipe to follow.
- All-purpose flour
- Dutch processed cocoa poweder
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sour cream
- Hot coffee or instant coffee
- Canola oil
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners' sugar
- Peppermint extract
- Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Sparkling sugar
- Rosemary sprigs
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
These are the primary tools you will need to make this cake:
- Stand or hand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Three, 6-inch cake pans
- Offset spatula
- Cake board or parchment paper
- Rimmed baking sheet
Before you roll the cake, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake to give yourself something to hold on to. Remove the parchment before sprinkling the sparkly sugar on top.
First, fill cooled and trimmed layers with buttercream then ice the cake.
Next, roll the sides of the cake in sparkly sugar on a rimmed baking sheet.
Continue to roll until the sides are covered. Use your hands to help the sugar stick as needed.
Invert the cake. In the same fashion, sprinkle sugar on top of the cake. Press to stick.
Lastly, place sprigs of rosemary on top of the cake to make a snowy rosemary forest.
Hint: chill the cake so that it does not smush under its own weight when being rolled but before the buttercream crusts over too much or else the sugar will not stick as easily.
Chocolate Peppermint Cake Tasting Notes
Today, I will be sharing the recipe straight from the book in partnership with Rodelle. I’ve been using their products for years, including the time I spent recipe testing for the book.
Their premium cocoa powders are so lush and rich. I can truly taste the difference in my chocolate cake recipes!
Real vanilla bean is a game changer, and their beans and extracts bring my baking to a new level - especially in this buttercream. A splash of peppermint extract gives the cake a fresh, festive feel.
Sour Cream - You can swap out the sour cream and milk for equal parts buttermilk. The taste and texture will be comparable. If you opt for a buttermilk substitute (ie milk + vinegar), the end results will likely be slightly off.
Coffee - You can use instant coffee dissolved in hot water. If you prefer, skip the coffee all together and just use plain hot water.
No, unfortunately you can’t use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed. One is acidic while the other is neutral. You could try in a pinch, but understand that it will change the results.
Yes! You can use this recipe to make two 8 or 9-inch cakes. Adjust the baking time accordingly. Make sure to only fill the pans ⅔ of the way full.
Choose a good quality aluminum cake pan with at least 2-inch tall sides.
Yes! Wait until the cakes have completely cooled before wrapping well in plastic. If desired, wrap in a layer of foil or pop the cakes into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Serving and Storage
Serve the cake at room temperature. Store the cake at a moderate room temperature overnight (preferably in a cake box or under a glass cake dome).
Wrap leftovers loosely in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze unfrosted layers wrapped well in plastic for up to 3 months.
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Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Classic Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract optional
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup hot coffee may sub hot water
Vanilla Peppermint Buttercream
- 3 tablespoon heavy cream
- 4 ounces white chocolate chopped
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 teas vanilla bean paste or extract
- ¼ to ½ teas peppermint extract or to taste
- 1 cup sanding sugar
- fresh rosemary optional
Classic Chocolate Cake
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 6-inch baking pans and set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine the milk and sour cream and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil and sugar. While mixing on medium-low speed, add in the extracts and eggs, one at a time.
- In alternating batches start and ending with the dry ingredients, gradually mix in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, stream in the hot coffee and mix just until combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
Vanilla Peppermint Buttercream
- Heat the cream until it begins to steam (on the stove top or in 20 second bursts in the microwave). Place the white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the butter until creamy. Add 3 cups of confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the white chocolate mixture, vanilla, and peppermint. Mix on medium-high until fluffy and creamy.
- Add the remaining sugar, as need, until the consistency of the buttercream if fluffy and creamy. If should spread easily onto the cake with tearing the the crumb.
- Trim the tops of the cooled cakes with a serrated knife until flat. Place one layer of cake on a cake board or plate. Add a scant cup of buttercream on top and spread it out until smooth with an offset spatula.
- Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat.
- Add the final cake layer and ice the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes.
- Reserve about ¼ cup of buttercream and set aside. Use the remaining buttercream to ice the cake. It does not need to be perfectly smooth. Chill the cake 5 to 10 minutes. The cake should feel nice and stable, so it does not smush when rolled and moved around.
- If the buttercream has crusted over, use the reserves ¼ cup buttercream to lightly frost the cake to give the sugar something to stick to.
- Pour the sparkling sugar in a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pick up the cake. Hold it sideways and carefully roll it in the sugar to coat the side.
- Invert the cake and sprinkle sugar over the top. Use your hands to press on any loose sugar until the cake is completely covered.
- Insert fresh rosemary sprigs on top before serving.