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Easy Chocolate-Peppermint Cake


Peppermint-flavored icing gives this cake a seasonal flavor.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10
chocolate peppermint cake

Photography: Yunhee Kim

Source: Everyday Food, December 2004


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Chocolate Icing for Easy Chocolate-Peppermint Cake
  • Whipped Cream, for serving (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings or crushed peppermint candies, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a boil. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl; set over (not in) water. Turn off heat; let stand until melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir to combine. Remove bowl; cool 5 minutes.

  3. Whisk in sugar and vanilla, then eggs and buttermilk until combined. Fold in flour mixture until combined.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake pulls away from sides and a toothpick inserted in center has a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert onto a wire rack (and leave inverted) to cool completely, about 1 hour.

  5. Set cake on a serving platter. Tuck parchment or waxed paper under sides of cake. Pour chocolate icing onto center of cake and spread evenly over top and sides. Let set, about 40 minutes. Serve cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or peppermint candies, if desired.

Cook's Notes

To help the cake sit level, place the bottom of an empty baking pan on top of the inverted cake as it cools, and gently push down to flatten underside.

Reviews Add a comment

  • 1275
    5 FEB, 2013
    This cake was almost like a brownie, it was so dense and fudgy. The cake was very easy to make, good for beginning bakers. I reduced the sugar in this recipe by 1/2 cup, ( so I only used 3/4 cup.) Trust me, you don't miss all that sugar. Instead of using the ganache recipe listed I made a chocolate peppermint glaze to top it with (1 1/4 cups 10x, 1/4 cup cocoa, about 3 T. milk, and 1/4- 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract. Overall, great flavor combo, everyone loved.
  • Melissa76
    4 JAN, 2012
    I have made this cake my holiday tradition! It's super easy and looks so elegant and it always gets rave reviews. I have never had any problems making it. I follow the recipes exactly as given.
  • ltyrpak
    26 SEP, 2011
    This is an annual Christmas dinner favorite for me! For presentation, I put the cake on a stand and line the perimeter with uncooked cranberries. (Make sure to remind kiddos not to eat them!) The icing is the best part, in my opinion, but for those who don't like peppermint, you can leave the cake un-iced and offer yummy variations on the icing, using different extracts, and let folks glaze their own slices of cake.
  • RebeccaArtist
    20 JAN, 2011
    I served this cake for my Christmas Eve dessert. It was perfect. I topped it with homemade whipped cream and Williams Sonoma Peppermint Hot Chocolate shavings.
  • shamarlindblom
    16 DEC, 2010
  • ginnygk
    23 DEC, 2009
    I just made it and my cake sunk in the middle? Any ideas for why this happened?
  • MissKey
    28 DEC, 2008
    It was good, but I don't think it is worth the extra effort and all of the ingredients. Mine kind of sunk in the middle, but it was still good. The icing wasn't really that peppermint-y.
  • tourtes
    27 DEC, 2008
    oops 1/2 tsp!
  • tourtes
    27 DEC, 2008
    I made this cake for xmas eve dessert. Turned out great, except the Peppermint Icing recipe did not taste like peppermint at all....and I followed the recipe as written....1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract!!! Will make it again, but add more extract.
  • T27
    10 DEC, 2008
    Where did you see that the Chocolate Peppermint Icing was storebought?? If you click onto "Chocolate Peppermint Icing", it will direct you to the recipe. Same goes for the Whipped Cream.