Monday, December 27, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

The beloved chocolate peppermint cake!  I stumbled across this recipe while waiting in line at Whole Foods a few years ago.  The giant slice of cake on the cover instantly made me drool.  I purchased the magazine - Bon Appetit and immediately decided to bake the cake for Christmas.
The cake has four major components - Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, white chocolate peppermint cream and peppermint marshmallow frosting.  Each part is fairly simple, but overall time consuming.  Each time I've made this, I swear I won't make it again.  But, once I take the first bite, I remember it's well worth the time and effort!  There's a reason this is my sister's favorite cake.  It's one of the most delicious cakes I've ever tasted!

After baking the cake and making both the ganache and chocolate cream, it was time to assemble this beauty of a cake!  There are four layers in total - Alternating cake, ganache and cream.  I did this the day before frosting the cake so that it was nice and solid and much better for transporting - I ended up frosting the cake at my sister's house so that there would be no accidents en route!

The final step is making the sticky, sugary, heavenly peppermint frosting.  Forget seven minute frosting - This is something like a 20 minute frosting.  After whisking sugar, water and egg whites into marshmallow ribbons, you whip on high with an electric mixer until the frosting looks (and tastes) like Fluff!  It's well worth the 20 minutes or so it takes to come together.  Once the frosting is complete, it's time to frost the cake.  This part is fun because you can make the cake look like it's covered in snow - Sticky, marshmallow snow!  

After hours of work, it's time to enjoy the masterpiece!  It took all of our might, but we did wait to have dessert until after dinner.  It was hard, but it was well worth the wait!

Source: Bon Appetit




2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups ice water

Dark chocolate ganache

1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

white chocolate cream

12 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract

peppermint frosting

2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract



Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yolk. Add cocoa and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.

Dark chocolate ganache

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Before using, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

white chocolate cream

Place white chocolate in large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in saucepan. Pour hot cream over white chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Whisk in extract. Cover; chill until mixture thickens and is cold, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.
Add 2 cups chilled cream to white chocolate cream and beat until smooth and peaks form. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk to thicken, if necessary, before using.
Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer on platter, cut side up. Spread 1/3 of dark chocolate ganache over cake. Spoon 2 cups white chocolate cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake layer, cut side down; spread 1/3 of ganache over, then 2 cups white chocolate cream. Repeat with third cake layer, cut side up, remaining ganache, and remaining cream. Cover with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Chill while preparing frosting.

peppermint frosting

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend well. Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes. Whisk in peppermint extract. Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes.
Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate curls over top and sides. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill.


  1. Wow...that is amazing cake. A lot of work but it looks worth it. ;)

  2. Thanks - It is a lot of work and I swear each Christmas I'll never make it again, but it is definitely worth it! It's absolutely a special occasion cake!