Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Dark Chocolate Peppermint CakeI have a confession: I HATE dark chocolate. It’s bitter and it does not taste like chocolate. To me, eating dark chocolate is like biting into a hunk of brown chalk. No thank you! I’d rather eat fruit. Being a dietitian, everyone wants to give me a “healthy gift” so I am showered with dark chocolate for my birthday and Christmas. I appreciate polyphenols (antioxidants found in cacao beans and other plants) but I don’t want them in the form of dark chocolate. Next year, just get me some Cutie Oranges or walnuts please?

Much to my dismay, when I woke up this morning to make my chocolate peppermint cake all we had was dark chocolate cake mix. Nooo!!! I’ve been planning this cake for so long, the last thing I want is a bitter, chalk-like cake. Not wanting to go to the store on a busy holiday morning I just made it anyway. And you know what, it’s not that bad. I would say for someone that likes dark chocolate it is probably amazing. The candy cane does a pretty good job of masking the bitter dark chocolate flavor. Not to mention, this cake is unbelievably moist and fluffy which is my number one criteria for a good cake.  This cake is also really easy to make. I baked it before work and came back on my lunch break to make the frosting and shoot photos. Easy peezy. Well, the baking is easy, the photos- not so much.

Pour equal amounts of batter into two round  9 or 10" cake pans
Pour equal amounts of batter into two round 9 or 10″ cake pans


Make the cake even using a  long knife or cake leveler. Don't mind my chipped nails or the coke zero in the background.
Make the cake even using a long knife or cake leveler.
Pop that top off. Frost the bottom to avoid crumbs.
Pop that top off. Frost the bottom to avoid crumbs.
Frost the top first, then the sides.
Frost the top first, then the sides.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Make this cake for Christmas if you have time. Who doesn’t have a bunch of old candy canes they need to use up before the Holidays are over? No time before Christmas? Just make this cake for any occasion sans candy cane! It would be great topped with nuts or fresh fruit! I’m going to make this cake for my nephew on his first birthday but topped with my favorite chocolate avocado frosting instead!Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Dark Chocolate Peppermint CakeP1180210This cake is adapted slightly from the cake at Jello Recipes. The frosting is different.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 18
  • 1 pkg. dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 pkg. Jello Instant Pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz. light sour cream
  • ½ C oil
  • ½ C water
  • ¼ C milk
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 18 small candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 1 C)
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 C)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2½ C powder sugar. sifted
  • ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat first 7 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Stir in chopped chocolate and 2 Tbsp. crushed candy. Pour into 2 (9-inch) round pans sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans; invert onto wire racks. Carefully remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
  4. To prepare frosting beat cream cheese and butter in mixer until well combined. Add in sifted powder sugar and peppermint extract. Stir until combined.
  5. If tops of cakes are rounded, level with a knife or cake leveler. Frost top of first layer, then stack and frost second layer. Top with crushed candy canes. ​

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