By now we know how I feel about red velvet cake so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve got a holiday version to share today! This Peppermint Red Velvet Cake uses my favorite red velvet cake recipe and it’s so easy. I’m talking one bowl for the cake, one bowl for the frosting. The frosting is still cream cheese based, but with a little splash of peppermint extract that goes so well with the lightly cocoa-flavored cake. Plus white chocolate ganache!
red velvet cake
This is the same red velvet cake I used back in the summer when I made this Red Velvet Berries & Cream Cake. I used three 6-inch cake pans this time, and you can see it still produces three nice-sized cake layers!
This cake has just 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and I’m using a red gel food coloring. The color comes through nicely with there still being a noticeable cocoa flavor. Also, and per usual for my cakes, this is an oil based cake, which means it’s nice and soft and moist.
If you’d like, after you level your cake layers, you can save your cake scraps and use the crumbs as decoration! This is pretty common with red velvet cakes, which I love because it gives you a little hint at what’s underneath all the frosting.
PEPPERMINT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
My vision for this cake was a layer cake with silky white frosting speckled with red and peppermint around the top. I feel like peppermint probably isn’t something people would automatically assume goes with red velvet, but is so does. Especially because we’re not using a lot of it, so it’s just a slight flavor that complements the cocoa and cream cheese. It’s like a pepperminty/cheesecake-like frosting. So good and perfect for a luxurious holiday dessert!
There’s some butter and shortening in this frosting as well because I didn’t want to have to worry about the frosting holding its shape, which sometimes happens with an entirely cream cheese based frosting. Delicious, but not great for piping or decorations. I ended up not even doing anything fancy with the decorations, but wanted the option. So you should be able to pipe this frosting if you’d like to!
The white chocolate ganache is optional, but is a nice topping and decoration if you’d like to use it! I almost wish I’d just covered the cake with more crumbs and sprinkles, but I still love a drip cake.
If you love a cake as the centerpiece of your holiday table, I hope you’ll give this Peppermint Red Velvet Cake a try! It’s festive and easy and so so good. If you’re a red velvet lover like me, this recipe is a keeper!
Peppermint Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cups milk
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 - 1 ½ tbsp red gel food coloring
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 oz shortening
- 1 tbsp cream or milk
- ½ tsp peppermint extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
White Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
To make the red velvet cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray three 6-inch (or two 8-inch) cake pans with baking spray with flour.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, milk, and vinegar. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until all ingredients are incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- To add the food coloring, start by stirring in 1 tablespoon. You can add an additional 1/2 tablespoon if you'd like or if the color isn't quite vibrant enough.
- Divide batter evenly among cake pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cakes are set in the center. (Test by inserting a toothpick into the center of each cake layer. If it comes out clean, they're done!)
- Let cakes cool in pans for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting
- Cream butter on medium-high speed with an electric mixer. With mixer running, add the cream cheese in chunks, mixing until incorporated. Repeat with the shortening.
- Add cream and vanilla. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Repeat with second half of powdered sugar, and mix for an additional minute, or until frosting is fluffy.
To make the white chocolate ganache
- Combine white chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir with a spatula or silicone whisk until white chocolate is completely melted and incorporated with the cream. Remove from heat and cool completely before using.
- Place one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or cake plate and spread frosting over the top. Repeat with the second and third cake layers. Spread a thin crumb coat over the outside of the cake and chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once cake is cold, spread remaining frosting around the outside of the cake. Transfer white chocolate to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. (If ganache has cooled too much, you can warm it for 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave. It should be a drizzling consistency, but not warm.) Pipe drips around the top edge of the cake. Decorate with cake crumbs or sprinkles if desired.
- Store cake covered in the refrigerator.
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