This recipe is a real showstopper with layers of delicious chocolate cake stacked with decadent layers and an outer coating of peppermint buttercream frosting that’s topped all off with chocolate sandwich cookies and sprinkled generously with peppermint candy goodness!
Peppermint Crunch Candies or crushed up candy canes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your pans with nonstick vegetable spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, whisking or blending thoroughly until well combined. Then set it aside.
Next, in a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter together. This should take about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the mixture until it’s smooth.
Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a large bowl.
Add the sugar to this mixture and beat it with an electric mixer until it's well blended.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Once eggs are added, mix in the pure vanilla extract, until entirely combined.
Grab the flour mixture that was set aside and begin alternately adding it and the milk to the chocolate mixture. Make sure you start and end by adding the flour mixture. Blend until it is well combined and smooth.
Pour completed batter into prepared pans and bake for 32-to-36 minutes. When done baking, a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes, should come out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 15-minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and place on a cooling grid or wire rack to cool completely, before doing an decorating.
Make Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
In a large bowl, beat the shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is well combined. This should take about 2-to-3 minutes.
Next, add the sugar, one cup at a time, making sure to beat the mixture well after each addition.
Once all the sugar has been added, pour in the milk, peppermint extract, salt and vanilla extract.
Finally, beat the mixture at medium speed until it's light and fluffy. This should take about 3-to-4 minutes. Set aside and keep chilled if waiting for cakes to cool.
Assemble Cake Layers & Crumb Coat Cake
Once cakes have cooled completely, make sure they are level and then stack them, spatula on a layer of peppermint buttercream frosting between them. Assembled cake should stand 6-inches high.
Lightly crumb coat the cake. When done, place it in the fridge so the buttercream can crust. Let chill for about 20-minutes.
Make Parchment Paper Templates
Use a ruler, pencil and scissors, to make eight 1½ in. wide x 7 in. high parchment paper strips and eight ¾ in. wide x 7 in. high parchment paper strips to use in decorating the cake.
Decorate the Sides of the Cake
Remove the cake from the fridge and ice it smooth using the peppermint buttercream frosting.
Carefully apply the prepared parchment strips to the sides of the cake, alternating sizes. So a 1½ strip, then a ¾ in. strip, then a 1½ in. strip, then a ¾ in. strip, etc.
When all the strips have been attached, gently remove the 1½ in. strips from the cake.
Use your hand to, lightly press the Peppermint Crunch Candies or crushed up candy canes onto the open 1½ in. spaces.
Next, remove the ¾ in. strips.
Then, using the red decorator icing pouch with a round tip attached, pipe diagonal candy cane lines on all the open ¾ in. spaces.
Decorate the Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Melt 4 oz. of Wilton's Bright White Candy Melts Candy according to package directions.
Carefully dip a chocolate sandwich cookie about half-way into the melted candy melts candy, place it on some parchment paper and then immediately sprinkle with some of the remaining peppermint crunch candies or crushed candy canes.
Repeat these steps until you have a total of 6 candy-covered cookies.
Chill the cookies for about 5 minutes to allow everything to set properly.
Decorate the Top of the Cake
Fill a decorator bag with some of the remaining peppermint buttercream frosting and attach the Star Decorating Tip 1M to it.
Pipe 6 swirls that are evenly spaced all around the top of the cake.
Next, place the chilled cookies, with the undipped sides facing outwards, in between each swirl.
Lastly, sprinkle any remaining peppermint crunch candies or crushed candy canes you have on hand, on top of the swirls for a final flourish.