There is no better holiday flavor combination than chocolate and peppermint. They just pair so well together, and this cake shows off the winning combo so well! This cake has two layers of a moist, rich chocolate cake that is filled and frosted with a decadent chocolate peppermint frosting.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
Let's get baking! First, you'll need to gather all of the ingredients to make the three chocolate cake layers. Here's your shopping list:
• All-purpose flour
• Cocoa powder
• Baking powder + baking soda
• Granulated sugar
• Vegetable oil
• Sour cream
• Strongly brewed coffee
• Vanilla extract
MAKING THE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
To begin this cake, you're going to add all of your dry ingredients to a large bowl. Start by sifting the flour and cocoa powder. This will help make sure there are no clumps and your final cake batter is smooth. Then, add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Whisk until everything is mixed together.
Next, combine the remaining cake ingredients in a separate bowl. This will include the vegetable oil, sour cream, eggs, coffee, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is incorporated and it's smooth. Pour this mixture into the dry mix, and whisk just until everything is combined and the cake batter is smooth.
For this recipe, we're using 2-8" round pans. Grease each pan, and line the bottom with a small circle of parchment paper, if desired. Pour the finished cake batter equally between all three prepared pans. Pop the pans into a preheated 350°F oven, and bake for 30-34 minutes. You can check to make sure the cakes are baked through by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cakes are done baking. Allow the cakes to cool completely before continuing the cake!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM
And what's a cake without frosting? Once your cakes are completely cool, it's time for frosting. Here's everything to make you'll need to whip up this luscious chocolate frosting!
• Unsalted butter
• Cocoa powder
• Powdered sugar
• Heavy cream
• Vanilla +peppermint extract
MAKING THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM
This is your only reminder-- the frosting needs to end up on the cake, so try not to eat it all before then! This frosting is so good, it will be hard to not eat half of it right out of the bowl. To begin, cream together the softened butter and cocoa powder until smooth, about a minute. Next, add in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and heavy pinch of salt. Once everything is combined, turn your mixer back on and beat the finished frosting for 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
*If you want your buttercream to be a little firmer, you can add up to another ¼ cup of powdered sugar. If you want it a tad thinner, add a splash or two more of heavy cream.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
Assembling this cake is way easier than you might think! Here's what you'll need to do:
Step 1: Start by placing on cake layer onto a cake stand or plate. Scoop about ¾-1 cup of frosting on top of the cake. Spread it into an even layer.
Step 2: Place the second cake layer onto the layer of frosting, bottom side up.
Step 3: Use the remaining frosting to frost the outside of the cake. I find it's easiest to place big dollops of frosting on the top of the cake, then using an offset spatula, carefully spreading it out and down the sides of the cake. Once the outside is frosted evenly, you're ready to dig in! *If you have extra frosting, you can pipe little dollops along the top of the cake.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
♦ Even out the cake layers. When cakes bake, they sometimes will come out with a slightly rounded, domed top. Once the cakes are cooled, carefully cut the rounded tops off. You don't want to cut off too much cake, just a thin layer; enough to flatten out the tops.
♦ Place cake layers upside down. Once the tops of the cake layers are cut and evened out, the tops will be crumbly. To help making frosting easier, place each cake layer on upside down, putting the cut side down into the frosting from the previous layer. This will help keep crumbs out of the frosting!
♦ Use parchment paper. Before you start frosting the outside of your cake, you can slide pieces of parchment paper under the bottom cake layer. Keep them there while you frosting the outside of the cake. Once you're done frosting it, carefully pull out the strips of parchment paper.
♦ Use an offset spatula. While you can absolutely use a spoon or regular spatula, an offset spatula is probably the tool I've found that makes frosting cakes the easiest to use.
TIPS FOR THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE
♦ Cool your cakes completely. This one is very important. If your cakes are even remotely still warm after being baked, the frosting may melt and you will be left with a big cake mess.
♦ Don't skip the coffee. This cake recipe calls for coffee. I know you might be tempted to sub it out for water, but trust me... you shouldn't! While you won't actually taste any coffee, it helps enhance and bring out the chocolate flavor of the cake.
♦ Whip your buttercream. You want to make sure your buttercream is nice and fluffy before frosting your cake. Once everything is combined, remember to whip it for 1-2 minutes to get it nice and light!
♦ Sift the cocoa powder. Sometimes cocoa powder can be clumpy, and it can be hard to break up the clumps once it’s incorporated into a batter. The best thing you can do to avoid this is once you measure out your cocoa powder, use a fine metal sifter to sift it into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
If you give this recipe a try and love it, be sure to leave a comment and star rating! Be sure to tag @thehungrykitchenblog on Instagram so I can see all of your delicious bakes! Happy baking! ♥
Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Peppermint Frosting
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks)
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 3 ½-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
Making the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2- 8" round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, if desired. Set them aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Whisk everything together. Set the bowl aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, milk, coffee, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk just until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter equally into the 2 prepared round pans.
- Bake the cakes for 30-34 minutes.* Once out of the oven, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
Making the Frosting
- Cream the softened butter for about a minute until light and fluffy. Add in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and pinch of salt. Beat the frosting on a low speed until all of the cocoa powder and powdered sugar is incorporated. Then, beat on a medium speed for 1-2 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.**
Assembling the Cake
- To assemble the cake, start by trimming the a thin layer of the tops of the cakes off to make them flat. Place one of the cake layers onto a cake stand or plate. Scoop about ¾ cup of frosting on top of the cake. Spread it into an even layer.
- Place a second cake onto the frosted layer, bottom side up. Use the remaining frosting to frost the outside of the cake. Use an offset spatula and carefully spread it in an even layer on the top and sides of the cake. If you have extra frosting, you can pipe it into little dollops around the top of the cake. Enjoy as is, or top with crushed candy cane bits.
- * Insert a toothpick into the baked cakes to make sure they are baked all the way through.
- **If you want your frosting thinner, add a tablespoon or two more of heavy cream. If you want it a little firmer, add up to ¼ cup more of powdered sugar.