Peppermint Bark Layer Cake is full of delightful holiday flavors. Chocolate, white chocolate and peppermint are piled high to create a truly show-stopping holiday cake!
When it comes to holiday baking, I like to go all out. Especially when it comes to dessert for our family’s Christmas dinner. It’s got to be something that is visually stunning and truly indulgent. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Something truly special, and worthy of taking center stage on our holiday table. Something exactly like this Peppermint Bark Layer Cake.
What is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream?
Swiss meringue buttercream is made by whipping sugar into egg whites in a double boiler until the sugar dissolves and is no longer grainy. The mixture is then beat until stiff peaks are formed. Swiss meringue buttercream has a silky smooth texture and is typically less sweet than regular buttercream frosting.
Tips For Making Peppermint Bark Layer Cake
- If you don’t have 4 cake pans, you can divide the batter between 2 pans, adjust the baking time, then cut the cakes in half once cooled.
- Love the combination of chocolate and peppermint? Go ahead and add some peppermint extract to the chocolate ganache.
- The cake and buttercream frosting can both be made in advance and frozen for up to a week before using. Level the cakes then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Stack bags and freeze until 30 minutes before using.
- Store the buttercream in an airtight container. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before using. When ready to use, simply give the buttercream a good stir with a wooden spoon.
More Special Occasion Cake Recipes
All of the delicious flavors of chocolate, white chocolate, and peppermint layered high in a showstopping cake!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk any kind of milk will work, but buttermilk is best
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups hot coffee or boiling water
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup crushed candy canes
- Peppermint bark
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour four 8-inch round pans* See notes below for other pan options.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and extracts. Whisk until ingredients are incorporated; batter will be thick and lumpy.
Carefully pour in hot coffee, and whisk until batter is smooth and runny and no longer bumpy.
Divide batter equally into pans.
Bake cakes for 26-28 minutes or until a knife is inserted into the center of the cake and comes out with only a few small moist crumbs.
Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
In a microwave-safe dish, melt white chocolate on high for 60 seconds, then remove from microwave and let rest for 1-2 minutes. Stir chocolate until smooth and chips are completely melted. If needed heat for additional 15-second increments. Let cool until chocolate is room temperature and no longer warm.
Bring a small pot with 2 inches of water to a simmer over medium heat.
Place the egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof clean bowl (preferably the bowl of your mixer). Place bowl over the simmering water to create a double boiler. Whisk egg whites completely until the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. You can test the mixture by rubbing a small bit between your fingers. If smooth and no longer grainy, egg whites are ready.
Remove bowl from the pan and beat egg white mixture on high until they have doubled in size, stiff peaks form, and egg whites are no longer warm.
With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add in the cubed butter. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 10-15 minutes. There will be a point when the meringue looks lumpy and like it is separating, but it will come together at the end.
Scrape down the bowl and add the white chocolate and extracts. Beat for an additional 5 minutes until smooth.
Level the cakes by using a serrated knife to remove the domes.
Place the first layer of the cake on a cardboard cake round or cake stand.
Evenly spread about 3/4 cup of frosting on the top of the cake, top with 2nd cake layer, and repeat with remaining layer.
If wanting a smooth finish cake, spread a thin layer of frosting around the outside of the cake to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 20-30 minutes.
Once cold, pipe a generous amount of frosting around the outside of the cake. Run a cake scraper along the edge of the cake to flatten out the frosting and remove excess.
Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours (or overnight) to allow frosting to set.
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, heat heavy cream for 30-45 seconds or until hot.
Add the chocolate chips and let sit for 4-5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
Drizzle the ganache around the edges of the cake, then use remaining ganache to fill in the top of the cake. Spread with an offset spatula, if needed.
Garnish the cake with crushed candy canes and peppermint bark. If using ornaments for decor, be sure to use shatterproof ornaments and to remove before serving.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes to allow the ganache to set.
Once ready to serve, let the cake come to room temperature for 15-20 before service.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!
If you only own 2 pans, that’s okay, you can simply fill the pans evenly with the batter, adjust the baking time, and cut the cakes in half once cooled.
Cake and meringue frosting can be made and frozen up to one week before using. Simply wrap the cakes individually in plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Stack bags and freeze until 30 minutes before using.
Store buttercream in an airtight container. Remove from freezer and refrigerate overnight before using. When ready to use, simply give the buttercream a good stir with a wooden spoon.
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