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This decadent Peppermint Chocolate Cake combines all-time favorite Best Chocolate Cake Ever, peppermint buttercream and peppermint bark for a festive cake that’s perfect for the holidays!
Oh friends, this Peppermint Chocolate Cake recipe has just got to show up on your Christmas list of must-make cake recipes. It’s not only delicious, but is also beautifully festive for the holiday season. And if you enjoy my Best Chocolate Cake, you will love this cake! It has the extra deliciousness of peppermint buttercream topped with homemade peppermint bark – and a little extra holiday flair!
Peppermint Chocolate Cake
Two scrumptious, decadent treats come together in this beauty of a dessert. Both treats are fabulous on their own, but as a dessert with a little extra something special for the holidays, this is a winner.
I’ll spare you all of the amazing comparisons and just tell you, it tastes like the best peppermint bark you’ve ever tasted. In cake form.
Not to mention, there’s an out of this world decadent Peppermint Buttercream Frosting atop this beauty.
And since that holiday treat is Sam’s most favorite candy in the whole wide world, and this chocolate cake is his favorite cake, then obviously this is a dessert that he loves. Everyone I’ve ever served this cake to agrees!
How to Make Peppermint Chocolate Cake
This beautiful cake is really easy to make. You’ll make my Best Chocolate Cake and add a Peppermint Buttercream to top it. Then top with bark if you desire.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it.
Ingredients for Best Chocolate Cake
- all-purpose flour
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- baking powder
- baking soda
- espresso powder – easy to find at the grocery store or even online if your grocer doesn’t stock, but I use it frequently and started making my own homemade espresso powder. It is so easy to make and have on hand!
- milk – you can also use buttermilk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk
- oil – you can use vegetable, canola or melted coconut oil
- eggs – when baking, I like to use room temperature eggs
- vanilla extract
- boiling water
Step-by-Step Instructions for Chocolate Cake
Prep. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
Whisk dry ingredients. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
Mix in wet ingredients. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
Bake. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
Frost. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely. Frost with Peppermint Buttercream frosting. Ingredients and instructions to follow.
Note – If you want to make three layer cake instead of two – simply split the cake batter between 3 cake pans instead of 2 pans. If making 3 layers, check cake for doneness after about 25 minutes.
Ingredients for Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
- butter – softened
- confectioner’s sugar – sifted
- peppermint extract
- pinch salt
- milk, heavy cream or half-and-half
- peppermint bark – chopped, for garnish (optional)
If you don’t have peppermint bark on hand to garnish top of cake, you can either omit it or crush a few candy canes to sprinkle on top.
Step by Step Instructions for Frosting
Cream the butter. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
Add sugar and beat. Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
Mix in extract and salt. Include the peppermint extract and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
Add milk for desired consistency. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.
Frost and garnish cake. After the cake layers have cooled as directed, frost the cake. Sprinkle chopped peppermint bark on top of cake as garnishment, if using.
I sure hope you love this Peppermint Chocolate Cake as much as we do. It is the perfect dessert for Christmas and New Year.
Peppermint Chocolate Cake Recipe
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup butter , softened
- 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tablespoons milk heavy cream, or half-and-half
- 1/2 cup chopped peppermint bark for garnish (optional)
- Prepare chocolate cake as instructed. Allow to cool completely. As cake is cooling, prepare peppermint buttercream frosting.
- Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
- Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
- Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
- Add peppermint extract and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
- Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.
- Frost cake and sprinkle chopped peppermint bark on top of cake as garnishment (optional).
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Originally published 2013.
This is a great idea! I love peppermint bark, but it never dawned on me to put it in cake form.
How do you make the peppermint icing for this?
Sorry if it was confusing. The instructions begin at #2. Thanks xo
This cake is suuuuuch a dream!! Yum!
Wow, Robyn! This cake is absolutely gorgeous. The chocolate-peppermint combination is my favorite this time of year!
Chocolate and peppermint is the best! Such a beautiful cake, Robyn!
Peppermint bark in cake form?! Yes, please!
THAT is one gorgeous cake. Just gorgeous.
Yum! What a beautiful cake!
I am so excited to make this cake for my coworker’s birthday! She loves peppermint bark. I’ll have to assemble the cake at work after an hour and a half bus ride. Do you know how far in advance I can make the frosting? Any suggestions on storage/transport? Do you think it would be okay to make the frosting the night before and refrigerate? Thanks so much!!
You won’t have to refrigerate the cake with buttercream frosting and you should be good to make it ahead!
I am about to make this cake and the instructions for the cake say to bake in two pans, but you’ve got three layers in your photo. Should I bake this in three pans or just have a two-layer cake? And if it is a three pan recipe, what should the baking time be?
How do you feel about using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil?
Hello I love this idea but am confused. Do you mean 3 to 4 cups of confectioners sugar OR
3… 4 cups of Confectioners sugar.. as in 12 cups?????
I mean 3 to 4 cups, not 12.
Wow! What a cake! I to am curious about the three layers. Do you use three cake pans for the amount the recipe makes? Or do you make more cake batter? Thanks ahead of time!
The cake recipe calls for 2 9″cake pans but the picture for the peppermint cake shows 3 layers – do you just use the receipe as indicated and spread between 3 pans or do you adjust the recipe for the 3rd layer?
Yes, I just split the cake batter between 3 pans rather than 2 in the cake photographed. To do so, just check the cake for doneness after about 25 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!
Thanks Robyn – Merry Christmas!
I made this tonight for our family party tomorrow! I just tasted the buttercream and it’s amaaaaazing! I did double the peppermint extract because I’m insanely crazy about peppermint. Cannot wait to serve this tomorrow! Happy holidays and thanks so much for this great recipe!
Made this today after seeing it pinned on Pinterest! It’s awesome….love Peppermint Bark.
I used Andes Peppermint chips on top and it turned out super cute and pretty!
This looked so delicious I checked out the recipe, and it certainly must be, so I’ll get the ingredients and try this luscious cake out. Thank you for sharing, Robin!
I hope you enjoy it, Marianne! xo
Oh, Robyn! That is a GORGEOUS cake!!!
Thank you so much, sweet Bridget! xo
I made this cake last Christmas and it was delicious!
But I got an idea..if I use cream cheese frosting instead , will it work?
hi.i came across a choc cake using 5ml expresso coffee..i cnt seem to find it again..can u mayb help me out as to where i cn find it again(chocolate cake)..ive been searchin for two hours..
Hi Zainab – Could you be referring to my Best Chocolate Cake? If you ever need to find it again, I have a search function at the top of my homepage, and my Chocolate Cake has a picture and link on the right side of the page as well. Thanks!
Great recipe. It was a hit.
A few notes that I made for myself.
1. I will add chocolate chips to the cake next time. Just extra decadent.
2. Make extra icing. Just because more is always better.
3. May need more mint extract. Also could be that you need a fresh bottle of mint extract.
4. I didn’t have the peppermint bark so I us d crushed candy canes for the top. Looked great.
Enjoy. Thanks, Robyn.
Can you bake the cake and make the frosting 2-3 days ahead before serving. Thanks.
Yes, you can make this cake ahead. You can let cake with buttercream frosting stay at room temperature for up to 3 days. I just make sure stored under a cake dome or cover. Thanks!
Beautiful cake! One question – every time I’ve made buttercream, I’ve always ended up with it on the yellow-er side of the white-yellow spectrum. How did you get the buttercream so white? Looking to make this for a Christmas/Murder Mystery party we’re having this weekend!
Sounds like such a fun party!
To make the buttercream as white as possible, make certain to follow all of the recipe instructions exactly. I also give some tips in my blog post for my Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. I hope this helps and that you enjoy this! xo
Another home run. Made this for Christmas Eve. It was a huge hit. I doubled the frosting and added additional peppermint extract. I had a difficult time getting the peppermint bark to crush in the food processor so next time I might used crushed peppermint candy instead. Make this. You won’t be sorry.
Should butter be salted or unsalted? Thank you
I use salted butter, Lindsay, but you can use whichever you prefer.
Hi Robyn, I have found your deserts to be absolutely scrumptious. I am going to make the Carmel cake for Thanksgiving, however, I want the chocolate and peppermint cake reàlly bad. I was wondering if you have ever made your cake’s and sold them as well as shipping? If you have please consider making this for me and let me know what you think it’s worth.
Annazetta, I appreciate that you love my desserts. I’m sorry but I don’t bake and sell my cakes.
Hi Robyn, thanks for the recipe. Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour? and the measurements will still be the same?
Rosemary, you can use cake flour in this recipe if you wish. I thought cake flour made the cake too tender but many people have commented that they used it and the cake was fine. You will need to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!
This was a delicious cake! I made it exactly as instructed. I baked my cakes a couple days before I frosted them. I just let them cool completely and then wrapped them individually in Saran wrap and refrigerated them until I was ready to frost and serve. It turned out perfect! Thank you for the recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this cake, Jennifer. It is a favorite at Christmas time for me.