Chocolate Peppermint Cakes

Winter time is the highlight season of all things peppermint and these Chocolate Peppermint Cakes are exactly that! They scream holiday season! Ultra soft peppermint chocolate mini cakes with a fluffy cream cheese peppermint crunch center are all that you need this year. Bring these bad boys out to Santa and who knows- you may even get an extra gift!

What to expect of these Chocolate Peppermint Cakes:

  • Super soft and moist chocolate peppermint cakes
  • Cream Cheese frosting with a very subtle candy cane crunch center

There are three easy steps in making these Chocolate Peppermint Cakes:

To make the cakes:

  1. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt)
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. Mix in egg, and peppermint extract and mix
  4. Add the buttermilk then the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined

To make the peppermint cream cheese filling:

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Mix in sugar.
  3. Add vanilla extract and crushed candy canes.
  4. Mix

To assemble:

  1. Add the filling in a piping bag with a fitted large round tip.
  2.  Pipe the filling in the center of half of the cookies.
  3. Use the other half of the cookies to complete the cakes.

Tips for making the extra soft and moist peppermint chocolate cakes:

  1. Use brown sugar- brown sugar is the key to how soft and moist these cakes turn out to be because of the moisture content in the brown sugar is higher than in the granulated sugar. This is because of the molasses that is in the brown sugar.
  2. Use buttermilk– buttermilk is much more acidic than regular milk and why does this help? It helps when you add baking soda in a recipe that contains buttermilk because it will aid in leavening. In order for the baking soda to activate it needs the help of an acidic ingredient which in turn will also help balance out the flavor of the baking soda. Another reason why I love buttermilk in some recipes is because it helps keep baked goods moist and tender because it break down the gluten content in the flour. You may not have buttermilk in your fridge right now but good news is- you can make your own. I will show you how if you keep scrolling.
  3. The cocoa powder- since baking is a science, here is the scoop on dutch processed cocoa powder. The so-called Dutch processed simply means that the cocoa beans have been washed in alkaline solution of potassium carbonate, which neutralizes its acidity. Since the Dutch processed cocoa powder is neutral, it will not react with baking soda and natural cocoa powder on the other hand, will. That is why dutch processed cocoa powder is paired with baking soda and natural is paired with baking soda-most times. This recipe has the buttermilk that will activate the baking soda so natural cocoa powder is recommended.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients– In a super soft batter such as this one for the Chocolate Peppermint Cakes, it is important the your ingredients are sifted together to ensure a smooth batter. 

Consistency of the batter:

This batter will not be stiff like a traditional cookie but it will also not be soupy like a chocolate cake batter. The scooped batter should hold its round shape but you will not be able to completely form it into a clean ball. Best way to describe it would be- super duper sticky.

How to make your own buttermilk for this recipe:

In a liquid measuring cup, add 1 1/2 teaspoons for lemon juice or white vinegar. Then, to that, add whole milk until you get to 3/4 of a cup. Stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture will curdle, leaving you with buttermilk, a a slightly thicker and more acidic version of regular whole milk.

Can I substitute whole milk for buttermilk?

Technically you can, but I don’t recommend it. Buttermilk will help activate the the baking soda resulting in thicker, more moist, and rich chocolate peppermint cakes. For best results, use buttermilk that is homemade as described above or you can use store bought.

How to store these Chocolate Peppermint Cakes:

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To freeze, individually wrap each chocolate peppermint cake in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. If you don’t wrap them individually first, they will likely stick together because they are just so incredibly soft and moist.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (270g)
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder (50g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (5g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (113g)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (180g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1  tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (240ml)

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tbs butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 finely crushed candy canes (about 1/4 of cup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Then, add brown sugar and beat until creamy and fluffy
  4. Beat in the eggs and peppermint extract until combined. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Add in the buttermilk and mix.
  6. Slowly add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just evenly combined. The batter will not be stiff and will just barely hold it shape.
  7. Scoop out the batter using a medium cookie scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space each cookie about 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes or until the top of the cookies springs back when lightly touched.
  9.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer over to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. To make the frosting, beat together softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth and fluffy. 
  11. Add in confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. 
  12. Add in vanilla extract and crush candy canes and mix until evenly combined.
  13. To assemble the sandwiches, add the filling in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the filling onto half of the cookies. The other half of the cookies will be used to be placed on top of the filling to complete the sandwich cookies.
  14. Let cookies set in the refrigerator for 1 hours. Enjoy!

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