Chocolate Peppermint Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Total Time
Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min. + cooling
Our chocolate peppermint cake is the perfect festive recipe if you’re looking to add Christmas cheer into your holiday season.

Updated: May 07, 2024

For those of you who aren’t interested in a fruitcake this year, may we suggest our decadent chocolate peppermint cake instead? This cake is created with so many thoughtful components: Moist layers of chocolate cake are stacked between a peppermint frosting with a rich chocolate glaze on top and finished with crushed peppermint candy. The best Christmas cakes make the holiday feel more memorable, and this chocolate peppermint cake does just that.

Ingredients for Chocolate Peppermint Cake

  • Sugar: Sugar sweetens and moistens the cakes.
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour gives the cake its structure and stability.
  • Cocoa: Need help picking out a brand to use? Our Test Kitchen professionals found the best cocoa powder brands for recipes based on their color, flavor and price.
  • Boiling water: Boiling water blooms the cocoa powder for an even more pronounced and richer chocolate taste in every bite.
  • Milk: Milk moistens and adds flavor to the cake.
  • Eggs: Eggs bind the cake ingredients together for a better structure.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Heavy whipping cream creates the fluffy base of the cake’s filling.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Confectioners’ sugar adds sweetness to the filling and glaze.
  • Red food coloring: Red food coloring is used in the filling to create a festive peppermint candy look.
  • Peppermint candy: Crushed peppermint candy adds peppermint flavor and a beautiful holiday appearance to the filling.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the cake batter

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat in the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla at medium speed for two minutes. Carefully stir in the boiling water (the batter will be thin).

Editor’s Tip: Learn how to grease a cake pan properly so your cakes don’t break when leaving the pans.

Step 2: Bake the cakes

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 18 to 23 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans and onto wire racks to cool completely to room temperature.

Editor’s Tip: Cutting the dome off the cakes will make your finished layered cake stand stronger, so dip into your cake decorating supplies and pull out a cake leveler or serrated knife.

Step 3: Create the frosting

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla and food coloring and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside about one tablespoon of crushed candy. Fold the remaining candy into the whipped mixture. Using an offset spatula, spread the filling between the layers and around sides of the cakes, but not over the top.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re new to cake decorating, take a few of our best cake frosting tips for this step.

Step 4: Make the glaze

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the cocoa and water and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add additional water if necessary to achieve a glaze consistency. Spread the glaze over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the reserved candy. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Variations

  • Make it extra chocolate-y: If you want more chocolate in this cake, swap this recipe’s filling for our chocolate buttercream frosting, but still use the 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy.
  • Add more decorations: After sprinkling the reserved peppermint candy on top of the glaze, add a few shakes of festive Christmas sprinkles for more holiday cheer. Or, make a few candy cane reindeer and stick them in the cake.

How to Store Chocolate Peppermint Cake

To store, cover the cake and place it in the fridge for up to four days. You can make the unfrosted cakes ahead of time by allowing them to cool to room temperature, covering them in storage wrap and freezing for up to three months.

We do not recommend freezing the finished cake, though. If you know how to freeze cake, you’ll know that frosting that’s made with heavy whipping cream does not freeze well.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Tips

Chocolate Peppermint Cake on a Cake StandTMB Studio

What is a peppermint candy made of?

Peppermint candy is made of sugar, corn syrup, peppermint oil, food coloring and preservatives.

What is the best way to crush peppermint candy?

The best way to crush peppermint candy is in a resealable bag. Place the peppermint candy in a sealed bag, and gently hit with a hammer or rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet. To protect your countertops, you can place the bag on a kitchen towel on the counter first.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 16 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • FILLING:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy, divided
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 18-23 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For filling, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla and food coloring if desired; beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside about 1 tablespoon crushed candy. Fold remaining candy into cream mixture. Spread between layers and around sides but not over the top.
  4. For glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa and water; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; whisk in vanilla. Gradually blend in sugar until smooth. Add additional water if necessary. Spread over top of cake. Sprinkle with reserved candy. Chill before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 409 calories, 21g fat (9g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 348mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (38g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

Guests make sure to save room for this light and moist cake with its refreshing mint flavor and chocolate glaze. Its seasonal look makes it perfect for Christmas...a holiday birthday party...or other festive gatherings!