This stunning Peppermint Cake is a show stopping holiday dessert that is perfect for any occasion! Decadent white chocolate cake is layered and topped with peppermint buttercream frosting and crushed candy canes – sure to be the highlight of your holiday table!
Candy Cane Cake
This beautiful Candy Cane Cake is perfect for the holiday season. You’ll love the flavor combination of white chocolate and peppermint and the festive, candy cane finish makes this simple cake a festive masterpiece.
The white chocolate cake is layered with creamy peppermint buttercream frosting that is deceptively easy to make from scratch. Plus, the white chocolate cake itself is so moist, flavorful and indulgent. Some simple decorations and a smattering of crushed candy cane pieces make this cake a clear winter winner!
Whether it’s a holiday gathering or a special occasion, this delightful peppermint cake, adorned with chopped candy canes, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s unique! White chocolate cake covered in peppermint buttercream frosting is not a combination you often get in cake form. Coffees and fudge, sure, but cake? Everyone will want a slice!
- Festive Flavors. The combination of peppermint and white chocolate is particularly delicious and a classic holiday flavor combination that everyone will love.
- It’s stunning. Seriously, this 3 layer cake will turn heads at the office party, your neighbor’s holiday dessert exchange, or Christmas dinner at your aunt’s. No matter where you go, this dessert will make your event merry and bright!
What You’ll Need
Layers of moist white chocolate cake and dreamy, peppermint frosting make this cake a winner all season long! As always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need…
For the Cake:
- white chocolate chips – For the white chocolate flavoring in the cake.
- butter – Unsalted and at room temperature.
- granulated sugar – To give this cake its sweet taste.
- all-purpose flour – No cake flour needed for this recipe!
- baking powder and baking soda – for structure.
- fine sea salt – Just a dash.
- whole milk – I find this makes for a richer flavor but you can use whatever milk you prefer.
- vanilla extract – For warmth, flavor, and a hint of spice.
- peppermint extract – This is optional. The buttercream will be peppermint flavored, but if you would like that flavor in the cake mix as well, add a drop or two.
- yogurt – Plain Greek yogurt is the best and will give the cake that bakery quality.
- egg whites – No yolks! Just the egg whites, for a lighter, fluffier cake.
For the Buttercream:
- unsalted butter – Softened to room temperature.
- powdered sugar – So our frosting is sweet but not grainy like with granulated sugar.
- heavy cream – The cream in buttercream!
- pure peppermint extract – Start with a little and add a dash more to amp up the flavor but the extract will be potent.
- optional – Red, white, or pink food coloring for some extra pizzazz.
- crushed candy canes – For decorating the cake after it has been iced.
How To Make Peppermint Cake
This cake requires a fair number of steps but the results are most definitely worth it. Let’s take a quick look at how to make this cake but, as always, you can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post.
For the Cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Spray three 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 20 second intervals. Stir between each round of heating until the chocolate has completely melted. Don’t overcook or the chocolate will burn. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the butter and sugar together using a hand or stand mixer. Beat for 3-5 minutes until creamed into a light and fluffy texture.
- Pour the melted white chocolate into the mixture and mix again until combined.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, sea salt, and baking soda into a bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk the whole milk, plain Greek yogurt, vanilla extract (and peppermint extract if using), and whipping cream together.
- Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir until just combined but don’t over mix.
- Whisk the egg whites until light and fluffy (an electric mixer is very helpful here).
- Fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
- Divide the cake batter evenly into the prepared baking pans.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The centers of the cakes will spring back when gently pressed upon when they are fully done.
- Cool the cakes in their pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
For the Peppermint Buttercream:
- Beat the butter for 3-4 minutes with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy in texture and slightly lighter in color.
- Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and peppermint extract. Mix until fully incorporated and the frosting is fluffy, light, and creamy.
- Add the food coloring of your choice now if using and mix once more.
Assembling the cake:
- Place one cooled cake layer onto a cake plate (or turntable if you have one).
- Pipe or spread a layer of the buttercream onto the first layer, making it about ½ and inch thick. Spread the frosting evenly.
- Repeat with the next layer.
- Place the final cake layer bottom side up on top of the frosted middle layer.
- Frost the entire cake with the remaining peppermint buttercream. Start on the bottom and work your way up. Spread the icing in a thin and even layer and avoid getting crumbs into the icing.
- Add pieces of crushed candy canes all along the bottom third of the cake.
- Pipe swirls or dollops of the remaining buttercream in a decorative pattern around the top of the cake. Sprinkle the leftover candy cane pieces over top. And if you’re really feeling festive you can add mini candy canes as decorations as well.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve and enjoy!
Store leftovers of this candy cane cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days for the best flavor.
The cake can be baked, cooled and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for 2 days.
To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe, airtight ziploc bag for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before assembling and frosting.
Why Is My Cake Uneven?
Sometimes the cake batter as it rises creates a domed shape. An easy way to fix that and make sure all your layers lay flat on top of one another is to shave off the top with a knife. Just enough to make it flat! Plus then you get to eat those yummy extra shaved off pieces!
Can This Cake Be Made Ahead Of Time?
You sure can. Make the cake layers and the buttercream a day or two in advance and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Assemble the day you’re ready to serve!
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
- An easy way to line round cake pans with parchment paper is to cut out a circle for the bottom and a rectangle to line the circumference instead of trying to place rectangular sheets inside and risk them slipping or wrinkling and creating dents in the cakes while they bake.
- When it comes to the optional food coloring, you can add this to the cake batter or the frosting. To lean into the candy cane theme, make 2 layers red and one white then keep your frosting white so the crushed candy cane pieces pop. Or make the entire thing pink for a pastel colored Christmas.
- If you accidentally add too much powdered sugar, add a touch more heavy cream to keep the consistency right in your buttercream.
- The peppermint extract is very strong, so use sparingly!
More Perfect Peppermint Recipes
- Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Fudge
- Chocolate Peppermint 4 Layer Dessert
- Peppermint Cookies
- Peppermint Fudge
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract optional
- 4 egg whites
- 16 ounces unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream add more if needed for consistency
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract I suggest starting off with ¼ teaspoon because your extract might be very strong. If you want it stronger, add an extra ¼ teaspoon
- food coloring optional, white, red or pink
- chopped candy canes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare (3) 9 inch round cake pans by spraying lightly with nonstick cooking spray and then lining with parchment paper. Cut a round for the bottom and then a long rectangle for the sides. Set aside.
- Melt the white chocolate in a shallow, microwave safe bowl in the microwave at 50% power in 20 second intervals, stirring in between. Make sure not to burn the chocolate or over cook because it will seize. Set aside to cool slightly while you cream the butter and sugar together.¾ cup white chocolate chips
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamed, light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.1 cup unsalted butter, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- Add the melted white chocolate to the sugar mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda into a large bowl.3 ½ cups all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, peppermint extract and whipping cream.1 ½ cups whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt, ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Be careful to not over mix.
- In another medium bowl, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until light and fluffy.4 egg whites
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Be careful to not overmix.
- Evenly divide the batter into three (use a scale if necessary) and pour into the prepared cake pans.
- Bake cakes for 20 to 25 minutes or until the centers of the cakes spring back to the touch.
- Let cakes sit in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat the butter for 3 to 4 minutes on medium speed using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer or hand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy. The butter should become lighter in color.16 ounces unsalted butter
- Add in the remaining ingredients, starting with just 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and mix on low speed for 1 minute to incorporate and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes or until the frosting is very fluffy, creamy and light. Add additional cream as needed for your desired consistency.5 cups powdered sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream, ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- Optional: If you want the buttercream to be very white, you can add white coloring food to the buttercream.food coloring
Assembling the cake:
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, it is time to assemble.
- Place one cake onto a turntable or cake plate.
- Pipe a layer of buttercream onto the bottom cake, about ½ inch thick. Use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Repeat with the middle cake layer.
- Place the third cake bottom side up on top of the frosting from the second layer.
- Cover the entire cake with the remaining peppermint buttercream, starting on the bottom, moving to the top. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting thinly and evenly. It’s okay if the cake is showing through.
- Add your pieces of candy cane on the sides of your cake on the bottom third.chopped candy canes
- Use any leftover buttercream to decorate the top of the cake by piping swirls or dollops. Sprinkle additional chopped candy cane on the top as well or add mini candy canes to really make the cake festive.
- Chill, covered, until ready to serve.