Chocolate Peppermint Cake

By Diane Rossen Worthington | January 25th, 2023

The ultimate flavor pairing for a special occasion – like, anytime!


Moist, dense Chocolate Peppermint Cake is studded with chocolate-covered peppermint patties. Crushed peppermint candy adds crunch and a festive touch to the topping. Image

Chocolate and peppermint go together like candy hearts and roses, snow and holiday lights, or hugs and kisses. This make-ahead, moist, dense Chocolate Peppermint Cake is studded with pieces of chocolate-covered peppermint patties, which contribute an intense mint flavor. Crushed peppermint candy adds crunch and a festive touch to the ganache topping.

Acclaimed author Elinor Klivans came up with this favorite dessert that is the essence of sweet flavors. You’ll need to purchase chocolate peppermint patties from your market or online. See’s dark chocolate peppermints or York Peppermint Patties work well for this recipe. It gives the cake an extra layer of flavor. You’ll also need hard peppermint candies to sprinkle on the chocolate ganache frosting just before serving.

I love the simple chocolate ganache frosting that is nothing more than hot cream, butter, and chocolate melted together and thickened. Not only is it delicious as a frosting or glaze, but it is also a rich hot fudge sauce (just be sure to reheat it). Look for a good quality unsweetened chocolate like Guittard or Valrhona. They are available online. It really does make a difference in the flavor.

The cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to two days, but add the crushed candy topping at serving time. I like to serve a small scoop of peppermint ice cream on the side.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Makes 12 servings

Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces (unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 16) chocolate-covered peppermint patties, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups ganache, cooled until thickened, but pourable (see following recipe)
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy, crushed into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan that has 1 3/4-inch to 2-inch sides. Line the bottom with parchment (baking) paper and butter the paper.
  2. Put 1/2 cup butter and 4 ounces chocolate in a heatproof bowl (or the top of a double boiler) and place it over, but not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from over the water and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate mixture until blended. Mix in the flour mixture just until it is incorporated. Stir in the peppermint patties. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small, sharp knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Carefully remove the parchment paper and loosely place on the cake. Let cool thoroughly, then discard the paper.
  5. Invert the cake onto a serving plate so that it is top up. Use a small spatula to spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Let the glaze set and firm up for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the crushed candy over the top of the cake.

Ganache

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy (double) cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts. The hot cream mixture should form tiny bubbles and register at about 175 F on an instant-read thermometer; do not let the mixture boil as a skin might form on the top. If this happens, use a spoon to lift off the skin and discard it.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand in the hot cream mixture for about 30 seconds to soften. Whisk the ganache just until all of the chocolate is melted, and the ganache is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. If the ganache will be poured or spread, let it cool and thicken slightly, about 30 minutes. It can be covered and refrigerated for up to one week; if it becomes too firm, it can be warmed over low heat, stirring to soften it evenly.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks” and “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

© 2023 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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