Bake the chocolate cake: Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating with each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and instant coffee powder. Add this to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9” round baking pans and bake at 350F for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Make the buttercream: Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and peppermint extract and mix well. Add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, beating with each addition.
Dye 1/3 of the buttercream red. Place the red buttercream and half of the white buttercream into piping bags fitted with medium-sized round piping tips.
Assembly: Slice the tops off the cakes to flatten them. Slice each cake into 2 layers. Place one layer onto a serving platter of your choice and pipe rings of red and white buttercream, covering the entire surface. Repeat with the remaining layers. Coat the entire cake in a generous layer of white buttercream. Press the crushed candy canes onto the bottom half of the cake. Place a 6B piping tip into a piping bag. Spread the remaining red buttercream onto one side of the piping bag and fill the rest of the space with white buttercream. Pipe dollops onto the top of the cake.
Slice to reveal a pretty candy cane pattern inside!