This peppermint white chocolate cake is such a classic holiday dessert this time of year. It has white layers flavored with peppermint and a smooth white chocolate buttercream to perfectly complement the peppermint layers.
About the peppermint white chocolate cake layers
If you know me, you know I love a tight crumb. Instead of using the reverse creaming method, this peppermint white chocolate cake uses the traditional creaming method and different ratios than I usually use for a lighter crumb. For all my cake decorators out there, I do believe this cake is sturdy enough for stacking based on how firm it was once cold.
Tools to make the peppermint white chocolate cake
You’ll need a mixer with whisk and paddle attachments, a sifter to sift your powdered sugar and cocoa powder, 8 inch cake pans, cooking spray, some bowls, baking foil, parchment paper, and a scale. You’ll also want some sort of cake board. I usually like to go one size bigger than what I’m making. You can get these at Walmart or craft stores. If you plan to decorate the top of your cake like this one, you’ll want a large tip, I used the Wilton 1M because most cake decorators have this tip, and if not it’s a great first tip. A cake turn table is helpful, some people even use a lazy Susan.
To make the cake layers
Begin by preheating the oven to 330 degrees. Add your butter and sugar to your mixers bowl and cream it on medium high (this is setting 6 on kitchen aid) for about 5 minutes. While that creams in another bowl combine your flour, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl combine your room temp buttermilk, oil, egg whites, and peppermint extract.
After the butter and sugar are creamed add half the egg whites on low speed and let it fully combine before adding the rest.
Once the eggs are incorporated, on low add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. After the dry is combined add 1/3 of the wet ingredients. Do this process 2 more times. Make sure not to over mix, and to scrape your bowl to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
Spray your pans and line them with parchment. You can then evenly distribute the batter into the pans. I liked two 8 inch pans for this recipe but three 6 inch pans would work as well. Cover your cakes with aluminum foil and put them in the oven. These cakes will take about 55-65 minutes to bake. You can tell the cakes are done when they start to slightly pull away from the edges, you can also check the center with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it’s done.
When the cakes are done remove them to a cooling rack. After about 10 minutes you can carefully invert them onto a cooling rack for a bit. Wrap them in plastic wrap. It’s ok if they’re still slightly warm, the plastic wrap will lock in the moisture. I then prefer to freeze my layers on a flat cookie sheet because it is much easier to decorate frozen cake layers.
For the Buttercream
To make the buttercream start by chopping and melting down your chocolate so it has time to cool to room temperature. Don’t over heat the chocolate. You can melt it down in a double broiler or use the microwave in 10 second bursts.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, add your room temperature butter to your mixers bowl and beat on medium high (this is setting 6 on a kitchen aid) for about 5 minutes. The butter will look almost white when it is ready. Once the butter is creamed add the sugar small amounts at a time letting it fully incorporate before adding more.
After all the sugar is incorporated add your vanilla extract, salt, and cream. If you prefer a stiffer buttercream add it a tablespoon at a time until you are happy with the consistency. You can also warm the cream for 10 seconds in the microwave and make sure it’s close to room temp before adding it. I find cold cream doesn’t incorporate well.
The last stage of making the buttercream is adding in the melted and cooled white chocolate. Make sure to scrape the bowl to ensure it’s incorporated well.
To assemble the cake
We will begin by stacking and crumb coating the cake. Once the cake is crumb coated put it back into the refrigerator to firm the buttercream, about 15-20 minutes. Once it’s firm you can make your final coat.
Add the final coat of buttercream and smooth it with a bench scraper. Fill any buttercream holes and just keep smoothing until it is how you like it. Once you’re happy with it you’ll put it in the refrigerator to get nice and cold while you prepare your piping bag with a wilton 1M tip, and fill it with your buttercream.
If you would like to make the partial red drip as I did I used red candy melts and heavy cream. Melt them down and smooth it out. Let it cool so that it won’t melt the buttercream. Pour it on the cold cake and then push it over with a spatula. Immediately put it back in the fridge to cool.
Once the drip is cool you can top it with anything you like. I chose some buttercream swirls, mini candy canes, mini Ghirardelli peppermint bark, and chopped soft peppermints.
If you’d like a chocolate version of this peppermint white chocolate cake you can make my classic chocolate cake and add 1 TBS of peppermint. That would be phenomenal.
Peppermint White Chocolate Cake
- mixer with paddle attachment
- kitchen scale
- 2 8 inch cake pans or 3 6 inch pans
- oven thermometer
- cake turntable
- offset spatula
- cake scraper or bench scraper
White Peppermint Cake Layers
- 450 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt 6 g
- 4 tsp baking powder (1 TBS + 1 tsp) 17 g
- 450 g sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp 8 oz
- 180 g egg whites, room temp
- 300 g buttermilk, room temp or slightly warm
- 1 TBS peppermint extract 9 g
- 60 g vegetable oil
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 8 oz White chocolate bars (not chips)
- 1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temp 12 oz
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temp 87 g or 3 oz
- 3 cups confectioners sugar 400 g or 14 oz
- 1 tsp salt 6 g
- 2 tsp vanilla extract 6 g
Baking the cake layers
- Preheat the over to 330 degrees.
- In the bowl of your mixer beat the softened butter and sugar for 5 minutes with the paddle attachment on medium high, speed 6 on a kitchen aid. Scape the bowl half way to ensure everything is incorporated.
- In a separate bowl combine your flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In another bowl combine your buttermilk, oil, and peppermint extract.
- Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy turn your mixer to the slowest speed and add half the egg whites until combined then add the rest and let them combine.
- On the slowest speed add 1/3 of your dry ingredients until combined, then 1/3 of your wet ingredients until combined. Repeat 2 more times making sure to scrape your bowl and not over mix.
- Prepare your baking pans with baking spray and parchment.
- Evenly distribute your batter using your scale. I put 28 oz of batter in 2 8 inch pans. if using 6 inch pans you could do about 18 oz in 3 pans each, but you may need to adjust bake time.
- Cover the pans with tin foil. This helps to distribute heat and ensures they bake evenly and flat.
- Bake at 330 for 55-65 min or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before inverting them to cool on a cooling rack.
- From here I like to wrap my cakes in plastic wrap and freeze on a flat surface to prepare for decorating.
Making the Buttercream
- Chop the chocolate bar and melt on a double broiler or by microwaving in short burts of 10 seconds and stirring between. Do not over heat your chocolate. Set aside and let cool. We will not be adding it to the buttercream until it has cooled.
- Add your room temp butter to your mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium high for 5 minutes, this is a 6 on kitchen aid. The butter will look almost white when done.
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the sugar in small increments letting it fully combine before adding more until you've added all of the sugar.
- Add the room temp heavy cream. I like to microwave the cream for 10 seconds before I start everything to allow it to come down to room temp by the time I need it. I find cold cream doesn't incorporate as well.
- Once the cream is fully incorporated add the vanilla and salt to combine.
- Last you will add in the melted room temp chocolate to the buttercream on the low speed until it's fully combined. Make sure to scrape the bowl to ensure it is combined well.
To Assemble the Cake
- On a cake board, put a small dollop of buttercream and put the cake top side down on the board.
- Smooth buttercream on the top. Add the next cake on top and repeat.
- Seal the sides and coat the whole cake in a thin layer of buttercream to lock in any crumbs. Refrigerate that for about 15 minutes before your final coat of buttercream.
- Add your final layer of buttercream, smooth and decorate it as you wish.
- I chose to add a small drip (made with 50 g red candy melts, 16 g heavy cream warmed until combined and cooled until just runny). I used a 1M piping tip to add a few swirls and dollops and used mini candy canes, mini Ghirardelli peppermint bark, and soft peppermint candies to decorate.