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Chocolate cake frosted with pink peppermint frosting and decorated with crushed candy canes

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Layers of fudgy chocolate cake and sweet peppermint frosting make this chocolate candy cane cake perfect for Christmas! It looks beautiful on any table and is the perfect cake for anyone with a serious sweet tooth.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate Candy Cane Cake, Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling 1 hour
Servings 12 pieces
Calories 724kcal


  • Two 8-inch round cake pans (with high sides)*


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour AKA plain flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk* room temperature
  • ¾ cup hot coffee freshly brewed, or boiling water

Peppermint Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened to room temperature, but still slightly firm to the touch
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract to taste
  • a few drops red food coloring
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1-2 crushed candy canes


Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
  • Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides and dust with cocoa powder. If using 8-inch round pans, make sure that the sides are at least 2 inches (about 5 cm) high. See recipe notes for pan options.
  • In a very large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Carefully whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain.
  • Carefully whisk in the hot coffee until the mixture is smooth and an even consistency. It will be thin.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes on the same rack, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and you see the cake starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Baking times vary, so go by your toothpick test and not just the stated time.
  • Place cakes on a wire rack to cool. Keep cakes in the pans until fully cooled

Peppermint Frosting

  • Beat the butter until fluffy and smooth.
  • Sift in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Start with the mixer on a low speed and gradually increase the speed as powdered sugar begins to incorporate.
  • Add in the peppermint extract, salt and a few drops of red food coloring.
  • Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon cream until the desired sweetness is reached. Add in a little more peppermint extract and/or red food coloring as needed.

Assembling the Cake

  • Ensure the cakes are completely cooled. If the top of each cake is rounded, Using a serrated knife, gently saw off the domed top.
  • Place one cake layer with the bottom side up on a plate or cake stand (whatever you plan to serve the cake on). Optionally, place a few pieces of parchment paper around the edges of the plate and slightly under the cake to keep the plate clean.
  • Frost the top with a little less than ⅓ of the frosting. Place the second cake layer on top, bottom side up.
  • Frost the sides and top of the cake with a thin, smooth layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat. If crumbs get into the frosting, don't worry. You'll do a second layer after. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the frosting to firm up and seal.
  • Frost the sides and top of the cake with swirls of frosting. It will be thick enough to cover any crumbs that you can see in the first coat.
  • Decorate the cake with crushed candy canes.


  1. Pan Sizes:
    • two 9-inch (23-cm) round pans, bake for 25-30 minutes
    • three 8-inch (20 cm) round pans, bake for about 25 minutes
    • one 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) rectangle pan, bake for about 40 minutes - divide frosting recipe in half
  2. Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, add 2 teaspoons vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 cup of 1% or 2% milk. Whisk together, then let stand for 5 minutes before using. 
  3. Storage: Store cake covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Fully cooled cake layers can be wrapped in plastic, then wrapped in foil or placed in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge. Then frost & decorate. 
  4. Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 slice with frosting, assuming the cake is cut into 12 equal pieces. 


Calories: 724kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 80g | Vitamin A: 842IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg