Marbled Peppermint Crunch Cake

with chocolate ganache

Hoo boy, it’s already December. Hannukah starts on Sunday (get those brisket recipes ready), then Christmas follows shortly after. Then what? 2016? It’s hard to believe. Before we get into New Year’s resolutions and Happy New Years and all of that, though, we’ve got to get some end-of-the-year eating done, don’t we? You’ve worked hard this year. You went to the gym a few times. You deserve a treat, even if you overdid it a bit at Thanksgiving last week. Don’t worry about it it! It’s cold outside, nobody can see that extra cushion, and besides, you need it to keep warm. That’s going to be my philosophy until January 1st, when I am going to need to seriously chill on the eating bonanza because we’re going to Thailand and I don’t want to look too scary when I’m laying out on the beach. But we’ve got plenty of time for that. For now, I’m going to have my cake and eat it too – specifically, this Marbled Peppermint Crunch Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Happy Holidays, y’all.

peppermint crunch cakeHoliday eats from my InstagramPeter Pan Donuts, Roberta’s, Saturday afternoon panini, and biscuits from The Bounty.

This cake was something I made for Urban Outfitters, and I’m really happy with it. I was really inspired by the props they sent me to use, especially the beautiful wooden cutting board and the sparkly twinkle lights. I wanted to make something that reminded me of the holidays, of winter, and really, of snow. We probably won’t get snow until well after the holidays here in New York, because nature hates us and wants us to suffer after we’re all sick of being cold and feeling “joy”, but no matter. This cake is awesome. It’s got layers of rich, chocolate cake, creamy peppermint buttercream, crunchy peppermint candies, and, of course, a final layer of chocolate ganache. I layered the buttercream and ganache for a “marbled” look, and I think it turned out pretty well for someone who is not necessarily the world’s best cake decorator. I brought this whole cake into my office, because I’m insane, and it was gone almost as fast as I put it out. I work in a younger office, so it was described by my colleagues as “dope” and “sick”, which are how the kids today describe good things these days, so I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakeYour ingredients.

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakeMake sure you line your cake pans with parchment for easy removal.

peppermint crunch cakeMake your batter and divide it among your three pans. Bake until set.

peppermint crunch cakeCrush your candy canes.

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakeOnce your cakes have cooled, start leveling them off and frosting them. You can always use any leftover frosting and cake to make some peppermint cake parfaits!

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakeLayer one.

peppermint crunch cakeLayer two.

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakeLayer three. Let this last layer set before scraping off any excess vanilla buttercream and adding your ganache.

peppermint crunch cakeFinish with extra crushed peppermint.

peppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cakepeppermint crunch cake

Peppermint Crunch Layer Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15 servings
Layers of chocolate cake sandwiched between creamy peppermint frosting, crunchy peppermint candies, and surrounded by a layer of chocolate ganache.
For the Peppermint Chocolate Cake:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup room-temperature water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Peppermint Frosting:
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1½ cups bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
For Decoration:
  • 1½ cups crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add in your milk and water, beat to combine, then add in your eggs and beat to combine. Add in your vegetable oil and peppermint extract, then beat to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  2. Cut out 3 pieces of parchment to fit into 3 8-inch cake pans. Pour the batter evenly among the 3 pans, then bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the cake cools, make the frosting. Beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and peppermint extract, scraping down the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Place a dollop of frosting on your work surface, be it a cake board or a plate. Place your first layer of cake on the surface and level it off with a serrated knife. Place a large dollop of frosting on the first layer, smooth it out, and sprinkle with ⅓ of your crushed candy canes. Repeat with the second layer, then with the third layer, level it off and use the rest of the frosting to coat the cake. Let the cake chill in the fridge for 15 minutes, then scrape off any excess with a cake scraper or crumb scraper for a "naked cake" look. Place the cake back in the fridge.
  5. While the cake chills, melt your chocolate in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring often so that it doesn't burn. Add in the heavy cream very slowly and stir to combine. Spread the frosting over the cake again, and use the cake scraper to scrape off any excess for a marbled, "naked" cake look. Sprinkle with additional crushed peppermint candy, if you'd like, then chill for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


14 Responses

  1. Katrina says:

    I am in love with that peppermint cake!! Gee whiz, I bet it’s fabulous even without the frosting. This is gorgeous!

  2. The cake looks so beautiful! Plus I am in love with those twinkly fairy lights! :)

  3. i love how it looks! it sounds like such a cool technique, and i’ll definitely have to try it out soon. my only problem is the “optional” coffee in the cake; coffee in chocolate cake is so good that it should be a must! (:

  4. […] this freaking marbled peppermint crunch cake. see, i want everything peppermint chocolate right this […]

  5. Omg that looks amazing! Love the ombre frosting, so pretty. And the peppermint crunch on top sounds like a great addition :)

  6. […] is this marbled peppermint crunch cake. […]

  7. This is absolutley perfection! I’m so obsessed with all things peppermint right now!

  8. […] marbled peppermint crunch cake with chocolate ganache looks AMAZING! Perfect treat for the […]

  9. That’s the prettiest darn Christmas cake I ever did see. Merry Christmas, I hope you have a yummy one. :)

  10. […] Layers: ¬†Marbled Peppermint Crunch Cake. ¬†Absolute […]

  11. lea says:

    Question: How far ahead do you think this could be made? Sorry if I missed it somewhere else. Gonna try this with Andes mints too!

  12. Cookin K says:

    This is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! Every part of the recipe went perfectly except the ganache… when I added the cream to the chocolate it turned into a burnt chocolate texture. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I just didn’t put ganache and it was still delicious! Thank you for your recipes!

  13. […] I made this Peppermint Crunch Cake for New Year’s Eve and it was pretty […]

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