Chocolate Peppermint Cake


Perfect for Christmas celebrations or for anyone who adores mint desserts, this impressive three-layer Chocolate Peppermint Cake is fluffy, tender, and ultra-rich. The chocolate cake layers, made with coffee, bittersweet chocolate, mayonnaise, and cocoa, are like a cross between a devil's food cake and a chocolate mayonnaise cake. And the minty Italian meringue frosting is soft, shiny, and marshmallowy. The whole thing is topped off with crushed soft peppermint candies for a fun and festive holiday look. (You can use crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candies but be warned—the hard texture isn't as easy to eat.) Although this cake is easy to make, our Test Kitchen recommends making the recipe step by step as directed in the instructions—don't make the cake and frosting out of order. The cake layers need to cool completely before they can be frosted. And if you make the frosting before the cake layers, it will deflate.

Chocolate Peppermint Cake
Photo: Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins



  • Baking spray with flour

  • 3/4 cup hot brewed coffee

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract


  • Crushed soft candy peppermints, for garnish


  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray, and line bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit bottom.

  2. Stir together hot coffee and chocolate chips in a medium bowl; let stand 2 minutes. Stir mixture until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk in eggs, mayonnaise, and vanilla until smooth.

  3. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in egg mixture. Pour batter evenly (about 1 3/4 cups per pan) into prepared pans.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

  5. Prepare the Frosting: Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F, about 6 minutes.

  6. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until tripled in volume, about 3 minutes. With mixer running on low speed, gradually pour hot sugar mixture into egg white mixture. Add peppermint extract, increase speed to high, and beat until mixture is thick, white, glossy, and cooled to room temperature, about 12 minutes. Use immediately.

  7. Spread frosting evenly between layers, and on top and sides of cake. Garnish top and sides with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Loosely cover cake, and refrigerate up to 3 days.

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