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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Candy Cane Cake

 Happy Holidays Everyone! I've been crazy busy with my new job and haven't had a lot of time to blog recently. With the holiday season upon us, I knew that I had to do some baking and bring you a few seasonal recipes.

Luckily, my department at my new job holds a holiday party each year! My department is so multi-national and multi-cultural, our holiday pot luck was a diverse array of curries, perogies and fried chicken. The entire office floor smelled amazing all day long! I decided to bring in a dessert that looked really fancy, but took no time at all to create.

The striped peppermint frosting hides three layers of rich chocolate cake and chocolate frosting. I went with a homemade chocolate cake recipe, but you can definitely save time and use a box mix. Just be prepared to use a lot of butter when you decorate this cake! There is a lot of buttercream on this bad boy. If you have the right tools, you can get this look in less than ten minutes. Just have a piping bag, turntable and bench scraper on hand and you can have a stripey cake too!

Sorry there is no inside view of this cake. I didn't want to cut it before I took it to the office because I wanted it to look pristine for the party. I also wanted to see how long it would take for someone to cut into it! 

Unfortunately I set the baking bar pretty high with my new coworkers. They are going to be expecting some pretty impressive treats in the future...

One Year Ago: Cherry Cordial Mallomars
Two Years Ago: Candy Cane Mallomars
Three Years Ago: Christmas Fudge
Four Years Ago: Acorn & Sausage Bake
Five Years Ago: Peppermint Mallomars
Six Years Ago: Banana Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Cake
From The Sweetapolita Bakebook

I prefer using the weight measurements to bake. Weighing out ingredients with a scale is so much faster than measuring with cups and spoons! This cake comes together really quickly and is super soft and fluffy. I was out of buttermilk when I decided to make this recipe - to replace the buttermilk I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice and filled the measuring cup up to 1 1/2 cups. Stir the lemon juice into the milk and let it sit for five minutes before using in the recipe.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (320 g)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (520 g)
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (120 g)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350 F. Grease three 8 x 2-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. In a bowl with a spout, whisk together buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, slowly stream liquids into the solids. Mix on medium-low until the batter comes together and there are no more streaks of flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for 30 more seconds on low.

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake first two cake layers for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only crumbs clinging to it. Bake the third layer for 20-25 minutes (it will take less time than the first two). Remove cakes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove cakes from their pans and peel off the parchment paper. Let cakes cool until room temperature.

At this point you can wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from FROSTINGS

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high for 2 minutes. Add cocoa powder and salt and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat in vanilla and milk. Add melted chocolate and beat frosting until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Divide frosting in two. Place one cake layer on your cake stand and spread half of the chocolate frosting on the cake. Top with the second layer of cake, add remaining half of frosting and smooth out. Top with the final layer of cake. Pop in the fridge to set up for thirty minutes.

Peppermint Frosting
Adapted from I am Baker

2 cup2 butter, softened
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
32 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Pinch salt

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment until fluffy. Add vanilla and peppermint extract. Turn speed to low and add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add milk and salt and beat until combined. Turn mixer on medium-high and beat for 5 minutes until very fluffy.

Divide frosting in half. Tint one half red. You can use white food coloring to make the other half more white, or leave it as it is.  Transfer frostings to two piping bags fitted with large round piping tips. Place your cake on a turntable and pipe red and white stripes on the side of the cake. Use remaining red frosting and pipe a spiral on the top of the cake (keep the frosting lines very close together). Use remaining white frosting and fill in the middle of the cake.

Using a bench scraper, smooth out side of the cake. Place bench scraper on the side of the cake and gently press on the cake as you turn the turntable. Don't worry about it being too perfect! Using a small offset spatula, smooth out the top of the cake in the same way.  Sprinkle some sanding sugar on top and stick in a few chocolate-peppermint candy canes and you're ready to impress your friends!
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