- 350 g (121/2 oz/21/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 450 g (1 lb) caster (superfine) sugar
- 100 g (31/2 oz) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 350 g (121/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 350 ml (12 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 1.5 batches chocolate-flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
- 2 tsp peppermint extract
- 8 drops red food gel + 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 80 candy cane sticks
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160°C (320°F) or a conventional oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Spray a 7”cake (5” tall) tin with oil spray and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside.
- Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
- Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the batter reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
- Add the eggs, peppermint extract and milk, and mix again on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. It’s at this point that you can add any additional flavourings or food-gel colourings to the batter.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking, for 10 minutes at a time, until fully baked.
- Allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the tin, then chill it in the fridge overnight.
- To trim your chilled cake, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of the cake before you trim it in half. You’ll end up with 2 layers of cake.
- Add peppermint extract to the frosting and mix until well combined.
- Split the batter into two bowls.
- Add ¾ of the batter in one bowl and ¼ in the other bowl.
- Add cocoa powder and red food gel into the bowl with ¾ of the batter. Mix until well combined.
- To create the striped frosting for the middle of the cake, add each coloured frosting to a piping bag and pipe a snail of red frosting on top of the first layer of cake. Then fill the remaining gaps with white frosting.
- Add red frosting around the top and sides of the cake.
- Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
- Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting.
- Guys, this next part is time consuming. You’ll need to unwrap each candy cane stick. Sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly frustrating. But! It’ll all be worth it in the end! So pop on your favourite podcast and unwrap for your life!
- Stick the candy cane sticks around the cake.
- To prepare the striped frosting for the swirls of frosting on top of the cake add red and white buttercream to two separate piping bags.
- Lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap on your work bench.
- Pipe stripes of frosting on the plastic wrap. Roll up the frosting and twist each end of the plastic wrap.
- Cut one end off and insert into a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized round tip.
- Pipe swirls of frosting around the top of the cake.
- Finish by adding crushed candy canes on top of the cake.