For the cake:
- 10 ounces (283 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup (57 grams) Dutch-process cocoa, sifted
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 3/4 (222 grams) cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (227 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
- 4 sticks (452 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 cups (625 grams) powdered sugar (preferably organic with tapioca starch instead of cornstarch)
- 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the chocolate drip:
- 2 1/2 ounces (75 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 ounces (75 grams) heavy cream
- Crushed candy canes*
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
In a large heatproof bowl, add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour boiling water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.
Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, yolks, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Refrigerate to chill before assembling and frosting.
Make the buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter. Continue beating on medium speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium high and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl before adding the milk or cream, vanilla, salt, and peppermint and beat on medium high for 1 minute, adding more cream or more powdered sugar if needed to achieve desired consistency.
Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Frost the top of the cake generously, as this will become the filling. Top with the other cake layer, flat side up.
With an offset spatula, spread a very thin layer of frosting all over the cake. This layer is a crumb coat and should act like spackle. For the smoothest frosting, return the cake to the fridge or freezer until firm to the touch. Spread the remaining frosting all over the cake. If desired, focus the frosting on the top to maintain the ‘naked’ look.
Refrigerate while you prepare chocolate drip.
Make chocolate drip:
Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer, then immediately remove from heat and pour over chocolate. You can also do this in the microwave. Cover for a few minutes then stir until smooth.
Allow to cool until it has thickened but is still pourable, about 10 minutes. Don’t place ganache in the fridge to cool. Test the consistency of the drip by pouring down the side of a glass. If it’s too thick, microwave for 5 to 10 seconds. If it’s too thin, allow to continue to cool. Spread the drip all over the top of the cake and allow it to drip slowly down the sides. Sprinkle crushed candy canes in a border around the diameter of the top of the cake before the drip sets.
The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note that candy canes will bleed into the chocolate drip and frosting, so this cake is best served the day it’s decorated.
I’m trying to view the Peppermint Chocolate Cake and I can’t find/view the video. Please advise. Thank you, Sharon
Hi Sharon! It’s almost at the top – just scroll down a little, underneath Tessa’s Recipe Rundown, and then a photo of the cake. Just scroll down and don’t click the button that says ‘recipe video’ as this link doesn’t work (we’re working on fixing this issue!). You’ll see a small header that says “Recipe Video”. Let us know what you think of this cake once you’ve given it a try! 🙂
I made this cake last year and it was absolutely wonderful! This year, I was thinking of making a Yule Log, and wondered if somehow I could use this cake and buttercream recipe. I would use the ganache, but whip it once set, then probably pipe on. Thank you.
Hi Paula! Yay, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this cake so much! We haven’t tried anything like that with this cake, so we couldn’t really say unfortunately. Let us know how it goes if you give that a try 🙂
Hi Tessa & Emily
I was able to pick up Fat Daddio’s 8″ X 2″ pans yesterday while I was browsing a bakery supply store. But after checking out what pans you used for this cake I realize that they’re not the right depth. Will 2″ tall pans work for this recipe?
Hi Susan! Tessa typically prefers to use 3-inch high pans to ensure that no overflow occurs. We did test this recipe using 3-inch high pans, but you may be able to get away with 2-inch high pans; just be cautious not to overfill the pans! Let us know how it goes if you give this a try!
This is THE BEST recipe ever!! The chocolate cake is the richest chocolate flavour I’ve ever tasted. The buttercream is so silky and refreshing and to top it all off the ganache adds the perfect flavour and texture Definitely a must bake.
Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe so much, it’s a favorite of mine too! 🙂
I made this for New Years Eve which was a beautiful additional to the table and was so yummy! Everyone loved it. Very easy recipe to follow and helpful tips. I ran out of patience waiting for the ganache to cool which did effect the final look. Next time I’ll wait!
Happy you loved this recipe, Whitney, thanks for sharing! I agree, this cake is surprisingly easy to make!
HUGE hit at Christmas Eve dinner! I never thought I’d be a baker…with your recipes and tips though, slowly but surely I’m getting more confident with desserts AND impressing my friends and family while I’m at it. Thank you!
Hooray!! That’s what we LOVE to hear, I’ll be sure to relay your kind words to Tessa, they’ll make her day! So happy you loved this recipe 🙂
This cake was as gorgeous as it was delicious. My daughter (who normally hates frosting) loved the peppermint buttercream so that’s a pretty big testament to this recipe’s tastiness.
What I particularly liked was that this cake looks quite fancy, but the recipe was approachable and doable. This will be on holiday repeat for sure.
So happy to hear that, Aimee! I agree, this cake is easier to make than it looks, and that buttercream is to die for! My husband and I couldn’t stop eating it right from the mixing bowl!
I’m planning on making this cake next week but I’m hesitant about doing the drip! I never have done a drip- do you have any tips or tricks on how to get it to nicely drip on the sides? And just to confirm- I would first pour the chocolate ganache in the middle and then kind of push it around and rotate the cake stand too? Sorry if this is worded confusingly but I’m just confused overall about how to do the chocolate ganache on top.
Hi Farah! Can’t wait to hear how it goes! There’s two different ways to apply a drip: either adding the drip effect first, then spreading ganache on top of your cake, or the completely opposite. Either will work perfectly fine. I recommend getting a mini squeeze bottle to use as a beginner (check out the pink tip box above the recipe for a link, they’re super cheap on Amazon!), and then yes, you’ll pour the majority of the ganache in the middle and quickly spread it on the top of your cake, letting some drip down the sides, though you’ll need to add additional drips manually to make it pretty 🙂 I hope that makes sense! Check out HTH’s Instagram, we recently posted a reel of this cake being decorated. While the reel is quick, it may help you at least understand the process a little bit better. You can also check out some tutorials on YouTube…Cupcake Jemma is a favorite of mine 🙂 I hope that helps!
Thank you for the tips! One more thing- do you think there’s a way to do the ganache without a drip effect? Also I’m so sad I can’t find any candy canes in stores- not even any mint candy’s!! I don’t know what I’ll decorate the top with anymore
Absolutely! You’ll have a bit of ganache leftover, but you could totally save the extra for some delicious ice cream topping 🙂 If you have any leftover buttercream, you could pipe some swirls around the top of the cake and decorate those with some festive sprinkles! That could look really pretty!
Can this be made with gluten free flour?
Hi Mandy! We don’t bake with gluten-free ingredients, so I can’t say for sure, but please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!
Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.
Would you please advise the substitute of sour cream as I don’t like tangy flavor in my cake?
How much gram is it needed?
Sure, you can try using plain, full-fat Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. The gram measurement will be the same, as well as making sure it’s room temperature prior to using. Please let us know what you think!
Thank you so much Emily 🙂
Peppermint and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations so I HAD to try this cake. It is so good! The chocolate cake is perfect and not too sweet. The recipe is really easy to follow and produces such beautiful results!
I will definitely be making this one again!
So glad you loved this recipe, Erica! Your cake turned out beautifully!