Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

Prep: 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 2 hrs 52 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1020 Calories
60g Fat
115g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 1020
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 32g 158%
Cholesterol 150mg 50%
Sodium 445mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 115g 42%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 86g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you love the combination of chocolate and peppermint, this chocolate candy cane cake is for you. Three moist layers of chocolate cake surround candy cane buttercream, and the whole thing is frosted with chocolate-mint frosting. A layer of chocolate curls and some mini candy canes give it the perfect finishing touch.

The candy cane pieces in the buttercream do tend to get sticky after about a day, so if you want to make this in advance, try swapping the candy cane pieces for Andes peppermint crunch baking bits, or similar chocolate-mint pieces, instead of using sugar-based mint candies. If you make this swap, this cake keeps very well in the refrigerator for three to four days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

A quick note about the frosting ingredients: This recipe calls for pasteurized egg whites. It is safe to consume egg whites without cooking them, as long as you make sure that the whites you buy are pasteurized. To save time, buy them in a carton—look for 100% egg whites not liquid egg substitute. If you cannot find them in a carton, you can buy pasteurized eggs and separate them yourself. You’ll need about five to six large eggs to get the 3/4 cup called for in the recipe.


For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 6 ounces butter, room temperature

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup liquid egg whites

  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

  • 1 cup candy cane bits

  • 3 cups chocolate sprinkles, or curls

Steps to Make It

To Make the Cake:

  1. Gather the cake ingredients.

  2. Line 3 (9-inch) cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat well until everything is fully incorporated.

  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer running on low, add 1/4 of the sifted flour mixture. When the flour streaks have almost all disappeared, add 1/3 of the buttermilk to the mixing bowl. When that’s incorporated, continue to add the drys and wets in an alternating pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

  5. Stop the mixer when the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and finish mixing the cake by hand. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth into even layers. Bake the cakes for 22 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the cakes completely before using.

To Make the Frosting and Assemble:

  1. Gather the frosting ingredients.

  2. Combine the egg whites, confectioners' sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix everything together on low speed, until the sugar is moistened and no dry patches remain. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.

  3. Turn the mixer to medium-low after 5 minutes and start adding the softened room temperature butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and peppermint extract, then mix it in. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides once more. Turn the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 10 minutes.

  4. Divide the buttercream in half. Add the candy cane bits to half of the frosting, and mix in the melted, cooled unsweetened chocolate to the other half.

  5. Assemble the cake. Place 1 layer on a cake cardboard, and put it on a cake turntable, if available. Scoop half of the candy cane frosting on top of the cake, and spread it into an even layer. Place a second cake layer on the frosting, and spread the remaining candy cane frosting on top of the cake. Finally, add the third cake layer on top. Spread a very thin layer of chocolate frosting all over the top and sides of the cake—this is the “crumb coat,” to lock in any stray crumbs from the cake. Refrigerate the cake briefly, for about 30 minutes, so the crumb coat can firm up.

  6. Spread a thicker layer of frosting along the top and sides of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, because the imperfections will be covered up. Place the chocolate sprinkles or chocolate curls in a large shallow pie tin or bowl. Hold the cake in one hand, keeping it over the pie tin, and use the other hand to scoop up handfuls of chocolate sprinkles and press them into the sides of the cake, letting the excess drop back into the container.

  7. Transfer the remaining chocolate frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe rosettes of frosting all along the outer edge of the cake. Press a mini candy cane into each rosette and serve.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.