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candy cane cake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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.
  • Reply
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm

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

  • Reply
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    oh geez.

  • Reply
    Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga)
    Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Friday, December 16, 2011 at 4:43 am

    [Insert audible gasp] This looks so good!!

  • Reply
    Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

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

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      I’m sorry you had trouble with this! I’ve been making this cake for years in two 8 inch pans and never had it spill over. The original recipe from the Barefoot Contessa also calls for 8 inch pans.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kelsey G.
    Sunday, December 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

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

    ~ ~

  • Reply
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    Karen Brooks
    Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Looks spectacular! I will definitely bake this cake!! I love anything peppermint and candy cane!!

  • Reply
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