Chocolate and peppermint are two of my favorite flavors and when combined – well, it just doesn’t get any better. When I saw Fudgy Peppermint Cake being developed in the Test Kitchens, I was the first in line to volunteer to participate in the tasting sessions. Well, somebody has to do it :)
This fudgy cake starts with a chocolate cake mix. But, we have added all kinds of good things to “doctor it up” like pudding and pie filling mix, peppermint extract and white chocolate. Baked in a Bundt pan and then topped with a peppermint glaze, this stunning dessert is a beautiful as it is delicious.
I sometimes struggle to come up with a dessert to serve at my holiday gatherings. My stand-by is a plate of assorted homemade cookies and ice cream with toppings. Not this year! I’m going all out and serving this wonderful cake. I have a feeling I’ll be hearing a lot of aaahs, ooohs and yums from my family and friends. It will be fun to “wow” them this year. Maybe you’d like to join me. If so, here’s how to make Fudgy Peppermint Cake.
First, heat your oven to 350°F and prepare the pan by greasing a 12-cup Bundt pan. Once greased, sprinkle the pan with a little unsweetened cocoa. Using unsweetened cocoa instead of flour will ensure the cake will come out of the pan easily and will prevent those unsightly white flour spots on your beautiful chocolate cake. Isn’t this a great tip?
To make the cake combine all the cake ingredients except the white chocolate in a large bowl.
Beat at low speed to start with so you don’t throw cake mix all over the counter. After about 30 seconds or when all the ingredients are moistened, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat, scraping the bowl occasionally, until the batter is well mixed.
Coarsely chop the white chocolate. White chocolate really isn’t chocolate at all because it doesn’t contain chocolate liquor. It does however contain cocoa butter. Regardless, it tastes yummy in this recipe. Once chopped, stir in the white chocolate by hand.
Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Because the “center” of this cake is part of the pan you should insert the toothpick half way between the edge and center of the pan. Oh, by the way, the aroma while the cake is baking is heavenly!
Let the cake cool 15 minutes on a wire rack. This is an important step because if you try to remove the cake too soon it likely will fall apart because it is so warm. If you let it cool completely it will stick to the pan. So, set a timer for 15 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack to improve air circulation. By the time I got the picture taken almost 30 seconds had already gone by.
After the 15 minutes of cooling time and when the timer goes off, remove the cake from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cake is completely cooled it is time to make the glaze. Start by coarsely crushing hard peppermint candies.
Whenever I use these candies I think of my grandmother. She always had peppermint “starlite” candies for us grandkids. Funny how such a simple food item can stir up such wonderful childhood memories.
Back to the crushing, I put the candies in a plastic food bag and then use a rolling pin to crush them. This takes a little muscle and you may even need to hit the candies a few times to get them started. Be sure to do this on a surface that won’t be hurt by your efforts. I used a heavy wooden cutting board. Set the crushed candies aside for garnishing after you glaze the cake.
To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar, softened butter, peppermint extract and 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Beat on low speed (or you will be covered with powdered sugar) until the powdered sugar is moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat until creamy. You may need to add up to one more tablespoon of milk to reach a desired glazing consistency. I prefer a little thicker glaze so I have more control when I put it on the cake.
Place the completely cooled cake on a serving plate and spoon or drizzle the glaze over the cake.
To garnish, sprinkle the crushed candies over the glaze.
Now stand back and admire your handiwork!
I think this Fudgy Peppermint Cake is so festive it’s perfect for any holiday gathering. Once you get through this busy time of year please come back to rate and review this recipe. And, of course, I’d love to hear your comments too.
Also- f you are interested in a gluten-free version of this cake, you can find it here. The only difference is that it doesn't use a cake mix; our gluten-free flour blend is substituted.
Come back in a few days when Mallory will share a tasty holiday snack that also makes a great gift.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.