This easy chocolate peppermint cake is one of my favorite recipes from my childhood. I would always make my mom bake it for my birthday!
This was definitely my favorite dessert growing up. Every year right before my birthday - which is in September - my mom would ask me what cake I would like her to make since I got to choose. I would always pick this chocolate peppermint cake recipe without question. She would always try to explain to me that my birthday is during some of the hottest days of the year, and maybe I should choose a flavor that isn't from the holiday season. I never cared, I loved having my seasonally confused cake at every birthday party!
This recipe is also sentimental for me, since the recipe for the chocolate cake is from my aunt's cookbook she left when she was transferred into long term care. I love being able to connect with my aunt through her baking.
What is Chocolate Peppermint Cake?
This is a simple chocolate cake recipe with a minty buttercream frosting. The frosting gets its minty flavor from peppermint extract. While my mom always makes this cake in a large baking dish, I decided to make it fancy by baking two cake layers! You can prepare your cake either way and I have included instructions for either method.
I absolutely love this cake. The cool peppermint in the frosting combined with the moist crumbs of the chocolate cake go perfectly together!
How Do I Make The Chocolate Cake?
While the full recipe instructions are available below, here are some tips to make the most delicious cake!
First, you will line the bottom of your cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of your pan. I recommend using the shortening or butter wrapper to do this instead of nonstick cooking spray. This is important, because cooking spray breaks down any nonstick surfaces over time and can leave a residue.You will also preheat your oven to 350F.
Now we will prepare our dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set the bowl aside.
Next, we will prepare our wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and unsalted butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. You want your butter and shortening to be at room temperature. This is important, because it mixes better with your other ingredients and the sugar dissolves into the butter best at this temperature. Now you will add your granulated sugar and mix it in to the butter and shortening mixture. Then you will add your vanilla extract and two large eggs to the mixture.
Melt your unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, stirring it every twenty to thirty seconds. Mix this into your butter and shortening mixture until it is well combined.
Now we will add our flour mixture and milk to the cake batter. Turn the mixer to low speed and add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk. Repeat with the next third of flour mixture and remaining milk. Finally, add the last of your flour mixture until it is fully combined. Make sure you push the batter down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula while mixing the cake batter.
Finally, pour batter into your cake pans. For a single cake, use an eight inch by eight inch and two inch deep pan. For a layered cake, divide batter evenly between two six inch springform pans. To bake a single layer, bake for fifty to fifty five minutes, until the top of the cake is set and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. When baking two cake layers, this should take between thirty and forty minutes. Let your cake cool for five minutes in the pan. Then, remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Now you can prepare your peppermint frosting while the cake cools!
How Do I Make Peppermint Frosting?
This simple peppermint buttercream frosting is delicious and gives the cake its signature flavor!
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl and a hand mixer, cream together your softened salted butter with the powdered sugar. Then add your milk. Finally, mix in your peppermint extract. I typically use just over one teaspoon of it in this frosting, but you can use more or less depending on your tastes. I recommend adding the peppermint extract slowly and tasting your frosting often. There is a fine line between a great peppermint flavor and tasting like toothpaste!
To frost your cake, use an offset spatula. I recommend starting at the top of your cake and then moving to the sides of cake. One fun way you could add more colors and interesting textures to your cake is to add peppermint candies or crushed candy canes to the top or sides of the cake once it has been frosted!
Place your cake on a serving plate and cover with plastic wrap until you are ready to serve. It will keep well for up to three days stored this way.
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Enjoyed making this cake? Try some of my other most popular baking recipes!
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup 2% milk
For the Peppermint Frosting:
1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp 2% milk
1 + 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (more or less to taste)
For the Cake:
Line the bottom of your pan with parchment and grease the sides. Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt and set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and butter together until it is well combined and light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined.
Add 1/3 of your flour mixture and slowly mix it into the cake batter. Add 1/2 of the milk and slowly mix until combined. Repeat and finish with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Pour your batter into the cake pan and bake for 50-55 minutes for a single layer cake and for 30-40 minutes for two layers (see cake pan sizes in notes below). Let cool in the pan for approximately 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely.
For the Peppermint Frosting:
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Beat in the milk and peppermint extract until well combined. Spread over your cake using an offset spatula. Enjoy!