This past week we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. The last two years I’ve let her ‘design’ her own cake, meaning she gets to pick colors and flavors and a basic theme, and I try to make something not quite as elaborate. Last year was a purple cake, and I had assumed this year it would be something similar [or something worse – she had been eying those Barbie cakes at the grocery store]. So I was slightly shocked, when after asking her, she yelled ‘A PINK CANDY CANE CAKE!’
But I guess it makes sense. Pink is her latest color, and she did get slightly teary-eyed when she discovered no one gave out candy canes at Halloween [for real. It was precious]. So here it is in all it’s glory: a sparkly pink candy cane cake. She chose well – we were all in enamored with the chocolate and the mint, the creamy but not-too-sweet frosting, and those little tiny flecks of red.

Candy Cane Chocolate Cake
The cake is The Chocolate Cake, my most favorite cake, and the frosting is from America’s Test Kitchen.

 The batter will be very, very liquidity, so don’t let that worry you. Remember that the sugar goes in with the dry ingredients – I have left it out twice now on accident and had to remake the cake. Instead of brewed coffee, you could substitute heated up cold press [which is what I do] and it works just as well. If you are not a coffee fan, you could just use hot water, but I haven’t tried that out, so I can’t guarantee you if the cake will still be as rich and wonderful. [My husband, who hates coffee, eats this cake with the coffee in it and has never complained].

the cake:
1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely, removing parchment paper.
Place one layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Press and sprinkle the crushed candy canes around the cake, until it is evenly covered.

peppermint frosting:
I liked irregular pieces of candy cane, so I put them in a ziplock bag and crushed them with a rubber mallet until I liked their sizes.  I used one tiny tiny drop of pink food coloring.

3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon mint [or peppermint] extract, more or less to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
pink food coloring, optional
3 cups [12 ounces] powdered sugar

4-6 candy canes, crushed

Beat the butter, cream, vanilla, salt and food coloring [if using] together on medium high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, slowly add the powdered sugar, and beat until incorporated and smooth, 4-6 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 5-10 minutes.
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9 Responses to candy cane cake

  1. Kris says:

    I’m totally making this for Christmas. Although mine will not look as beautiful as yours! It’s so pretty!!

  2. I found you linked from Matt’s post…he is such an amazing person. I took a workshop with him last year and I live in San Diego…and was reading about your past and the Blue Heron Cafe. You lived in MN! I grew up in MN and a part of me will be that midwestern small town girl even though life in CA is wayyy different. Beautiful food and recipes you have!

  3. [Insert audible gasp] This looks so good!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You need two 9″ pan or 3 8″pans, I used two 8″ and it spilled over.

  5. […] ramen is so, so gorgeous. 3. A tiny olive oil cake with no-churn peppermint ice cream. 4. And, a big candy cane cake. I have the most serious craving for one right now. 5. Gingerdoodles! 6. Give me ALL the waffles, […]

  6. Kelsey G. says:

    This is mouthwatering and SO beautiful. Thanks for sharing!!

    ~ ~

  7. […] dessert for Christmas dinner or maybe even for a post-holiday or New Year’s Eve dinner, this Candy Cane Cake at The Vanilla Bean Blog will be the treat that guests are still talking about next year. […]

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