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.
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.
Make sure you line your cake pans with parchment for easy removal.
Make your batter and divide it among your three pans. Bake until set.
Crush your candy canes.
Once 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!
Layer three. Let this last layer set before scraping off any excess vanilla buttercream and adding your ganache.
Finish with extra crushed peppermint.
- 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
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1½ cups bittersweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1½ cups crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.