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Chocolate Peppermint Cake
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Chocolate peppermint cake is the quintessential holiday cake. Three layers of chocolate cake encased in a sweet and creamy peppermint buttercream and topped with rich melted chocolate and a sprinkling of crushed peppermint candy.
Yield: three 8-inch cake layers
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teasppon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup sour cream, room temperature

Peppermint Buttercream:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil*
  • crushed peppermint candy cane, as needed
  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted


Chocolate Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 8-inch cake rounds with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix with butter until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, mix together cocoa powder, espresso powder, and hot water. Mix until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Add 1/3 of flour mixture to mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until almost incorporated. Add sour cream and mix until combined. Add another 1/3 of flour mixture, followed with all of cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed. Add remaining 1/3 of flour mixture. Continue to mix on low speed until batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  • Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Use the back of a spoon or a mini offset spatula to level cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Rotate pans midway through baking. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula to loosen cake from pan. Unmold and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Peppermint Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and peppermint oil. Mix on low speed until buttercream is smooth. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Increase speed to medium and beat until buttercream is airy, smooth, and creamy.


  • If necessary, level cake layers. Place one cake round on a cake turntable. Spread about 1/2 cup of buttercream on cake using an offset spatula. Place second cake round on top. Spread another 1/2 cup buttercream. Place final third layer on top and spread another 1/2 cup buttercream.
  • Spread buttercream around the cake to create a "crumb coat" layer to seal in any crumbs. Chill cake in the fridge for 15 minutes to set frosting. If desired, generously coat the chilled cake with additional buttercream.
  • Drizzle slightly cooled, melted chocolate over frosted cake. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermint over chocolate. Serve immediately, or let chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Chocolate will harden in the fridge. Pour melted chocolate before serving, if you want to keep the chocolate liquid.


Peppermint oil is NOT the same as peppermint extract. To substitute peppermint extract, double amount or adjust according to taste. Peppermint oil is much stronger in flavor in more potent than peppermint extract.