Make this showstopping Candy Cane Chocolate Cake for the holidays and wow your guests as you bring this out to serve as dessert! Covered with chocolate and candy canes, this cake tastes as amazing as it looks!
This post is part of Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) – a series of festive recipes, crafts, printables, and more on The Purple Pumpkin Blog!
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Candy Cane Chocolate Cake
If you love the classic combination of chocolate and mint then this cake is one for you!
Peppermint flavor is infused within each chocolate cake layer, as well as in the frosting which covers the cake.
But it doesn’t stop there! Crushed candy canes decorate around the sides and cute mini candy canes garnish the chocolate frosting swirls on the top.
Oh, and did I mention the chocolate dripping down the sides? So fancy!
This cake serves 8 people but you could cut smaller slices and get more servings. Enjoy the cake with a cup of coffee after a festive meal, or place it as the centrepiece for your holiday party dessert table. Your guests are going to love it!
Ingredients used in this recipe
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a brief outline so you know what to expect from the recipe.
I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
Alongside regular baking ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, etc., you will need some more specialized ingredients which I’ve linked below to Amazon for your convenience.
- Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
- Kosher Salt (coarse sea salt such as Maldon Sea Salt)
- Espresso Powder
- Peppermint Extract
- Candy Canes
- Mini Candy Canes
Equipment used in this recipe
You are likely to have most standard cooking tools in your kitchen but I’ve added some links for your convenience should you need something more specific for this recipe.
Candy Cane Chocolate Cake Recipe Tips
There is also a slideshow recipe video over on my YouTube channel that you can watch and save to your Playlists for future reference. (Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!)
- When the cakes have baked and cooled, you will need to level off the tops so that they are flat. You can use a cake leveler which is a really handy tool to get a nice even cut. Or you can use a sharp knife and a steady hand.
- Do NOT throw away the excess cake though! You can use it to make cake pops! Simply crumble up the cake and mix it with some frosting and roll into balls. Insert a lollipop stick and dip into melted chocolate or candy melts. Leave to set, and enjoy!
- Place one cake layer onto a cake board or cake stand (I usually put a blob of frosting under the cake to hold it in place).
- Use an offset spatula/palette knife and/or a scraper to spread out the frosting and to make it smooth all the way around.
- Place the regular size candy canes inside a Ziploc bag and smash down into pieces with a rolling pin or mallet. They don’t have to be uniform in size – different textures are good!
- To prevent the frosting getting onto your cake board or cake stand, a tip I learned from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) is to slip squares of parchment paper just under the cake all the way around. Once the cake is frosted you pull the paper away and you get a nice clean edge.
- This cake serves 8, and the slices are determined by the swirls of frosting and mini candy canes on top. If you want to make smaller slices, such as 10 or 12, pipe more swirls to give you a guide.
- If you’re not confident about adding the chocolate drip aspect of the decoration, you can easily leave it out – your guests won’t know, and I won’t tell them!
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Soup Appetizer: Chestnut & Sage Soup
- Main Dish: Christmas Pulled Pork
- Side Dish: Parsnip & Potato Gratin
- Side Dish: Honey Mustard Roasted Roots
- Beverage: Naughty Elf Cocktail
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Candy Canes!
Since the main ingredient in this recipe is peppermint here are some more recipes using the same:
More Layer Cake Recipes
Need some more layer cake ideas? Take a look at these recipes next:
- The Nightmare Before Christmas Sally Cake
- Apple Pie Layer Cake with Cinnamon Frosting & Walnut Crumble Topping
For the Chocolate Cake
- 4 cups flour
- ½ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 4 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- 10 oz/280g dark chocolate, chopped
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp canola oil (rapeseed oil)
- 2 tsp pure peppermint extract
- 4 large eggs
For the Frosting
- 1½ cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 8 oz/225g cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp pure peppermint extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 7 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups crushed candy canes
- 8 mini candy canes
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dark)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 degrees and spray three 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Using a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, combine the water and sugar.
- Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. About 1 minute.
- Whisk in the oil and peppermint extract.
- Quickly whisk in the eggs to avoid them cooking into the chocolate mixture.
- Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until combined.
- Divide the batter between the three cake pans and place in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Use a cake leveler to trim the cakes so that they are all flat and level for stacking.
- To make the frosting, using an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth.
- Gradually mix in the cocoa powder, peppermint extract, and salt.
- Very slowly, beat in the powder sugar until combined.
- Whisk in the heavy whipping cream until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Place 2 cups of the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a star tip and set aside.
- Place the first layer of cake onto a cake board.
- Measure out 4-6 scoops of frosting using an ice cream scoop and use a spatula to evenly spread over the cake.
- Add the next layer, and repeat the frosting. Add the final cake layer.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Coat the bottom sides of the cake in the crushed candy canes.
- To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a small pan until steaming.
- Place the chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl and pour the cream over the top.
- Allow to sit for 1 minute before whisking until smooth.
- Pour ganache into the squeeze bottle and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Squeeze the bottle of chocolate ganache around the top edges of the cake to form a drip effect.
- Using the piping bag of frosting, pipe swirls around the top of the cake and place a mini candy cane on each one.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1584Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 1420mgCarbohydrates: 224gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 7gSugar: 143gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 18g
This site uses an outside source (Nutritionix) to provide estimated nutrition. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
The Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog is filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Christmas and the Winter Holidays! You can check out Create the Holidays from 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 and 2012 for tons of awesome Holiday ideas and inspiration!