Easy Chocolate Peppermint Cake is the perfect dessert for this holiday season. The chocolate flavor is above and beyond, and the creamy frosting is to die for.
Serve this showstopping dessert at your next holiday party. It's always a crowd pleaser!
What is Chocolate Peppermint Cake?
Chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting and crushed peppermint candies is classic this time of year. But don't be fooled into thinking this cake is anything but outstanding! This is truly next-level dessert at it's best.
These simple ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. Here are some tips on the best ingredients to buy.
- TruEats Dutch Chocolate Muffin + Cake Mix - or any chocolate cake mix
- Eggs - room temp
- Olive oil - or another neutral oil
- Whole milk - room temp
- Peppermint extract - the best quality you can find
- Salt - kosher salt is the best option for baking
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips - or your favorite flavor chips
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream cheese - ensure this is at room temperature
- Unsalted butter - the butter should also be at room temperature
- Vanilla extract - pure vanilla extract has the best flavor
- Salt - this should also be kosher
- Powdered sugar - sift the sugar using a mesh sifter
- Peppermint candy - crush the candy canes in a freezer bag with a rolling pin for the top of your cake
These everyday tools will help you make this holiday cake.
- 8" round cake pan
- electric hand mixer
- large mixing bowl + medium mixing bowl
- cooling rack
These expert tips will help you make the best chocolate cake recipe.
- Use your favorite chocolate cake box mix.
- The cake and frosting can be made one to two days ahead of time and kept separately in the fridge.
- This homemade chocolate cake is best served at room temperature.
- Remember to sift your powdered sugar to avoid lumps in the frosting.
- I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt - if using Morton's Kosher Salt, then only use ¾ of what is called for.
- Let the cake cool completely, so the frosting doesn't melt when spread over the cake.
Serving this cake
How to make chocolate peppermint cake
This holiday version of a classic chocolate cake is easy to make with these simple steps. For the full description, see the recipe card below.
Make the cake:
Combine chocolate cake mix with eggs, olive oil, milk, peppermint extract, and salt just until the batter is smooth.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Bake the cake according to the package instructions until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack while making the frosting
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and butter with a hand or stand mixer.
Add the vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
Frost the top and sides of the hot chocolate cake, then sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed candy canes.
This chocolate peppermint cake recipe can easily be altered based on what you have available and your favorite ingredients. Here are some options you can try.
Cake: Use any cake mix or use your favorite chocolate cake recipe.
Olive oil: Any neutral oil like vegetable oil or avocado oil works well.
Chocolate chips: Use your favorite chocolate chips, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate chips.
Milk: Replace the whole milk with water or plant-based milk like oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk.
Peppermint extract: This is optional if you don’t want quite as much peppermint flavor in your cake. The crushed peppermint on top may be enough peppermint for you.
Refrigerate: Once the cake is frosted with cream cheese frosting, cover it with plastic wrap or place it in a round airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. You can keep it there for up to five days before it gets stale.
Freeze: You can make this cake ahead of time and freeze it for later. It's best to freeze the chocolate cake unfrosted because it will stay fresh longer. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and keep it in the freezer for up to two months.
Thaw: When you're ready to eat the cake, take it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours until it's completely thawed. Then frost and serve.
Can this recipe be made into cupcakes?
You can definitely turn this cake into cupcakes. The baking time will be about 18 minutes, depending on if you use a standard 12-cup pan or a larger 6-cup pan. Check the chocolate peppermint cupcakes with a cake tester, when inserted into the center of the cake, it should come out clean or with just a few crumbs.
Can I use a 9-inch pan?
You can use a larger pan, but the cake will be thinner than if you used a smaller pan. Also, keep in mind that you'll need to remove it from the oven about five minutes earlier. It comes out best in an 8" pan.
How can I make layered chocolate peppermint cake?
This is a beautiful cake when layered and frosted. In order to make cake layers, make a double batch of cake and frosting and use two 8" cake pans. When they cool, frost one cake, carefully lay the other one on top, and then frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with crushed peppermint candies.
Easy Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- 1 bag TruEats Dutch chocolate muffin + cake mix
- 2 eggs room temp
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup whole milk room temp
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 oz cream cheese room temp
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 candy canes crushed
Making the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F then spray an 8" round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray
- Combine chocolate cake mix with eggs, olive oil, milk, peppermint extract and salt just until batter is smooth
- Fold in the chocolate chips
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan then bake according to package instructions, about 35 minutes for TruEats mix. Toothpick should come out clean or with only a few crumbs when inserted into the center of the cake
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack while making the frosting
Making the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric hand mixer in a medium sized mixing bowl for 1 minute on medium speed
- Add the vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Mix on low until combined then turn speed up to medium and continue mixing another 3 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy
- Frost the cooled cake then top with crushed candy cane