Winter Delight Peppermint Cake
Moist, dark chocolate cake filled with fluffy peppermint frosting, crushed peppermint candy, and topped with sugar-coated peppermint frosting. The holidays in a cake!
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 3 cups 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups 550 g white sugar
  • 1 cup 120 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Cacao Barry Extra Dark
  • 2.5 teaspoons 12 g baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon 10 g baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon 14 g salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 280 ml buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 280 ml hot brewed coffee or espresso
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2/3 cup 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons 30 ml pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
  • 4.5 sticks 563 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 4.5 cups 720 g confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered), sifted
  • 3 tablespoons 45 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon 3.75 ml peppermint extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Few drops of green food colour + a few drops of pink or a drop of red food colour
  • Crushed peppermint candy for sprinkling over each layer of filling
  • White sanding sugar for outside of cake optional
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare one round 8-inch cake pan with butter, a parchment paper round and cocoa powder. Tap out excess. Prepare an 8-inch contour pan with a generous greasing of butter and cocoa powder (or flour), and tap out excess.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift and add all dry ingredients. In a larger measuring cup gently whisk together all remaining ingredients.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix on medium for 2 minutes (you will need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer). Pour into prepared pans--fill the cake pans 2/3 full. Batter will be liquidy.
  4. Bake until a toothpick or skewer comes almost clean, about 30 minutes (this is approximate and can vary) for the standard cake pan and about 40 minutes for the contour pan. Avoid opening oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking, and try not to over-bake.
  5. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
For the Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute, then on medium for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  3. If desired, tint ~2 cups of frosting pink (for filling) and remaining frosting mint green (for outside of cake).
  4. For a thicker frosting, you can add and whip in small amounts of icing sugar; for thinner frosting, you can add a touch more milk until it reaches desired consistency.
Assembly of the Winter Delight Cake:
  1. Spread a small dollop of pink frosting onto desired cake plate or cake board (this keeps cake from shifting) and place your 8-inch cake layer (standard round), top-side facing up and trim top until flat, if necessary, using a long sharp serrated knife.
  2. Take your 8-inch contour cake, with bottom up, and trim any doming (from the the flat side), and then make 1 horizontal slice in the middle, resulting in 2 layers. You should now have 1 standard 8" layer and 2 layers from the contour pan, totaling 3 cake layers.
  3. Place 1 cup of peppermint frosting on top of your first layer and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.Sprinkle a generous layer of the crushed peppermint candy on top of the frosting (I like it really fine, like peppermint a "pixie dust" of sorts, but slightly bigger pieces would be great too, giving more crunch), leaving about a 1" edge un-sprinkled.
  4. Gently place the next cake layer on top, with the more narrow end (contour side) up, then repeat previous step. Gently place the final cake layer, smooth domed side up, on top.
  5. Put a very generous scoop of mint green frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. You will want to start with very generous additions of frosting, as much of it will be scraped off with your palette knife when smoothing. To keep the distinct rounded top, be sure to smooth over the domed top as much as possible. Chill until set -- about 30 minutes in refrigerator or 15 minutes in freezer.
  6. Remove from refrigerator/freezer and cover with remaining mint green frosting. Once your cake is frosted, you can place it (cake stand and all) over a cookie sheet and generously sprinkle with sanding sugar for an icy effect (you will actually need to "toss" sugar at the sides, but your cookie sheet will catch excess, allowing you to return remaining sugar to container when finished). Add wintery topper decoration, if desired.
  7. Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerator for 5 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.