Peppermint Bark Layer Cake

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

This recipe will teach you to make the layer cake configuration using this winter flavor combination, but feel free to mix it up and make a hand cakes, sheet cakes, or whatever feels right to you!

makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake, 5 inches tall. serves 6-8 people

1 recipe chocolate cake (recipe below)

1 recipe chocolate crumb (recipe below)

1 recipe peppermint frosting (recipe below)

1 recipe hot fudge (recipe below)

1 recipe peppermint soak (recipe below)

1 cup crushed peppermint pieces

1 package of mini candy canes( for garnish)

special equipment:

1 (6-inch) cake ring

2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long


1. put a piece of parchment or a silpat on the counter. invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or silpat from the bottom of the cake. use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. these are your top 2 cake layers. the remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.

layer 1, the bottom 2. clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. 3. put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer. 4. dunk a pastry brush in the peppermint soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak. 5. use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the fudge sauce in an even layer over the cake. (helpful hint: the warmer the fudge sauce, the easier it is to spread.) 6. sprinkle one-third of the chocolate crumbs and an ⅛ of a cup of the crushed peppermint pieces evenly over the fudge sauce. use the back of your hand to anchor them in place. 7. use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the peppermint bark frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs and bits.

layer 2, the middle 8. with your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).

layer 3, the top 9. nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. garnish with chocolate crumbs, and one candy cane.

10. transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. the cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. 11. at least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days). 12. slice the cake into wedges and serve.

chocolate cake

makes ¼ sheet pan of cake

115 g (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

225 g (1 cup and 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

60 g (¼ cup, tightly packed) light brown sugar

3 large eggs

110 g (½ cup) buttermilk

105 g (½ cup and 3 tablespoons) grapeseed oil

5 g (1 ¼ teaspoon) vanilla extract

154 g (1 ¼ cups) cake flour

70 g (½ cup) cocoa powder

6 g (1 ½ teaspoons) baking powder

7 g (1 ¾ teaspoons) kosher salt

heat oven to 350.combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is much lighter in color, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.on low speed, add the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.pan-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. give the bottom of your cake pan a tap on the countertop to even out the layer. bake the cake for 30-35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, rising to the top of the sheet pan. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

chocolate crumb

makes about 2 1/2 cups (350 grams)

105 g ( cup) flour

4 g (1 teaspoon) cornstarch

100 g (½ cup) sugar

65 g ( cup) cocoa powder, preferably Valhrona

4 g (1 teaspoon) kosher salt

85 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

heat the oven to 300°f combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed.add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.spread the clusters on a parchment or silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. the crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool. let the crumbs cool completely. the crumbs and sand will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

hot fudge sauce

60 g ( 1 oz) 72% chocolate, chopped

40 g (4 Tablespoons) cocoa powder, preferably Valhrona

1 g (1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt

200 g (1.5 cups) glucose

50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

110 g (1/2 cup heavy cream

combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt in medium bowl.combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir intermittently while bringing to a boil over high heat. the moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. let sit for 1 full minute.slowly, slowly begin to whisk the mixture. then continue, increasingly the vigor of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and silky-smooth. this will take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. you can use this sauce at this point or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; do not freeze.

peppermint bark frosting

makes about 430 g (2 cups)

115 g (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) butter, at room temperature

50 g (1/4 cup) vegetable shortening

55 g (2 ounces) cream cheese

25 g (1 tablespoon) glucose

18 g (1 tablespoon) corn syrup

20 g (1 tablespoon) whole milk

1 g (1 drop) peppermint extract

200 g (1 1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

.25 g baking powder - pinch

.25 g citric acid - pinch

50 g (¼ cup) crushed peppermint bits

1. combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. with the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, milk and peppermint extract. crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy white. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. crank the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting. it should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store!

4. Fold in the peppermint pieces and use the frosting immediately, if storing for later leave peppermint bits out and fold them in when you re whip later.

peppermint soak

makes about 1/2 cup (112 grams)

55 g (¼ cup) milk

.75 g (¼ tsp) peppermint extract

.5 g (⅛ tsp)vanilla extract

whisk together the milk, peppermint extract, and vanilla extract.