I’m pretty sure we need some holiday spirit making its presence known around here right about now, and this cake – THIS CAKE – is it. I’ve made quite a few Christmassy (← totally a word) desserts over the years, but this one is definitley up their in the tip-top ranks. It looks the part, it tastes the part, and it even has a little naughtiness goin’ on because, guess what?! It’s boooooozzzzyyyy!
We start off with a rich, super moist chocolate cake that’s even more amazing than it sounds because it just happens to be secretly gluten-free. (And by secretly, I mean that it’s crazy easy to forget this fact, because it tastes just as fantastic as it would with regular flour. ) Then, we’re throwing candy cane Kisses into the batter for some minty-chocolate undertones, amplified by the addition of Tito’s vodka spiking the mix. Can you say YES?
But what really sets the whole thing over the edge is the frosting – smooth, sweet, and creamy peppermint white chocolate frosting. It leaves your nostrils stinging and your taste buds frozen over in the best possible way, with a powerful kick of Tito’s vodka adding the finishing touch. And as if that weren’t enough, all those little candy cane bits covering the outside of the cake add to the pepperminty punch that it packs, and I’ll be the first to tell you it packs quite the punch ;).
Rich? Yes. Totally worth it? Heck yes!
A rich and moist chocolatey cake studded with pepperminty candy cane kisses and wrapped in a creamy, vodka-spiked peppermint white chocolate frosting.
- butter and cocoa powder, for pans
- 12 3/4 ounces (3 cups, spoon and level) gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 14 ounces (2 cups) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 ounces (6 tablespoons) natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 11 1/4 ounces (1 1/3 cup) milk
- 4 7/8 ounces (5/8 cup) vegetable/canola oil
- 2 5/8 ounces (1/3 cup) Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7 5/8 ounces (1 1/3 cup) chopped Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
- 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 lb 2 ounces (4 1/2 cups) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 lb 2 ounces ounces white chocolate wafers (or chopped white chocolate), melted and slightly cooled
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- crushed candy cane bits
- Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
- 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9” cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment rounds and dust sides with cocoa powder.
- 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add milk, oil, vodka, vinegar, and vanilla and fold in just until evenly incorporated. Fold in chopped peppermint kisses.
- 3. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched in the center.
- 4. Let cakes cool to room temperature in pans, and then carefully turn each out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Peel off parchment and wrap cake entirely in plastic wrap until ready to frost. For best results, place cake in freezer for 30 minutes before frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add confectioner’s sugar until fully incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-high again and beat until smooth and fluffy.
- With mixer on low, slowly pour in melted white chocolate. Once all has been added, beat in on medium-high until smooth (if any white chocolate hardens on sides of bowl, do not scrape it into the frosting). Add vodka and peppermint extract and continue to beat until light and creamy.
- Place one cake layer bottom-up on a cake board or plate. Spread a layer of frosting over cake and top with second cake layer, bottom side up. Apply a smooth layer of frosting over top and sides of cake.
- Cup candy cane bits in palm of hand and gently press onto sides of cake to cover completely, allowing to extend over top perimeter of cake slightly. Use a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip (I used Ateco #846) to pipe 6 dollops of frosting around the top perimeter. Top each with a peppermint kiss. Garnish top of cake lightly with extra candy cane bits as desired.
- Leftover cake can be covered with plastic wrap or kept in an airtight container and stored at room temperature.
The Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses are not certified gluten-free by Hershey's. If you need to be certain the cake is gluten-free, I would suggest leaving them out or substituting with white chocolate or mint baking chips. (Peppermint Bark could also make a good substitute for the garnish!)