This Peppermint Bark Red Velvet Cake is Christmas in cake form! Gorgeous red layers with whipped peppermint frosting make this sublime!
This is unlike a holiday season we have ever seen, and like so many of you, I’m trying to reframe it all for the positive and create new traditions and welcome in the season by any means possible. Like with more baking. Because my life has been short of that lately? Just kidding, I’ve got 20 pounds of flour tucked away in the pantry. I’m baking like a mad woman. But my cake decorating has been pretty quiet lately – giving me the best excuse to dive in was this Peppermint Bark Red Velvet Cake from my lovely blog friend Peabody Johanson’s new cookbook Holy Sweet!
She’s known the world over (for real!) for her out of this world creations and mashups of fabulous flavors on her website Sweet ReciPEAS!, and this peppermint bark red velvet cake is going to blow your mind and take your holiday spirit to another level!
Peabody’s reason for writing a cookbook was in tribute to her mom that never understood the “food blog thing”, so she wanted to add cookbook author to her resume to give her mom something to brag about. And I totally get it. ha! I’ve been blogging for a decade, and it took about 6 years before my own mom started to read my blog. I think she was convinced she would get a computer virus from my site or something. And when I told her I was meeting people from the internet, she was genuinely concerned.
Truth be told I have met some of my BEST friends and most creative, genuine people because of this “blogging thing” and I am so happy that Peabody is one of them. She’s an OG to the blog scene and her book is well overdue to spread her message of carby delights.
Holy Sweet! is dedicated to all manner of delicious sugary creations, like a triple berry scone cobbler (which is next on my to-make list), and Cap’n Crunch Boston Cream Pie Cake and Banana Split Cream Pie. These just make my head spin thinking about them!
I’ve decorated a lot of cakes, it is one of my favorite things to do when I can dedicate the time to them. My favorite might be my Rose Ombre Cake, or the Lemon Elderflower cake I made for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. But, Swiss Meringue Buttercream was also one of those things I had never made – and was I missing OUT! I may never go back to another homemade frosting again. It’s impossibly smooth and light, with the most silky texture. Not to mention it frosts and pipes beautifully.
With so many people looking for ways to support small businesses this year, be sure to also support bloggers and authors in whichever way you see fit. Shop your local bookstores if you can, but Amazon is carrying her book as well. While we want to shift our dollars away from big name retailers, remember there are small businesses that also use Amazon as a means to get their products to your doors. My message is this – buy this book any way you see fit. It will be a welcome addition to your Christmas morning unwrappings for any special food lover in your life!
Congrats again to Peabody on her beautiful book and it’s out of this world creations. Be sure to visit her site Sweet ReciPEAS for more inspired fare.
Peppermint Bark Red Velvet Cake
- 2 1/2 cups Cake Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 3 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp White Vinegar
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup Red Food Coloring (mine only required 2 Tbsp to achieve my color. See note below*)
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1 cup Eggs Whites (about 9)
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 cups Unsalted Butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp Peppermint Extract (I used 2 tsp for a lighter flavor.)
- 1/2 cup Finely chopped White Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup Roughly Chopped White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
- Red Velvet Cake Crumbles from when you level the cakes (this is what I used.)
Red Velvet Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans with parchment circles and spray with non stick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream the eggs, sugar, oil, and vinegar. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture slowly while the mixer is running, and alternate with the buttermilk to ensure it comes together. Repeat this process until the flour and buttermilk are all incorporated. Add in the vanilla and the food coloring.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 25 minutes. Check with a toothpick to ensure they are baked. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Fill a small saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. (I recommend doing this in the stand mixer bowl, to cut down on dishes) Put the egg whites and sugar into the bowl over the simmering water. Be sure that the water is NOT touching the bottom of the bowl! Stir the egg whites and sugar until dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 degrees.
Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture until medium-stiff peaks have formed and the mixture is warm to the touch – about 8 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed and add in the butter, once pieces at a time. Add in the peppermint extract, melted white chocolate, and salt. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes to ensure everything is incorporated and smooth.
Level the tops of the cake with a serrated knife or cake leveler. Save the scraps and crumbles for decorations if desired.
Set one cake layer on a cake plate on a turnable cake stand (if you have one), making the bottom of the cake the top of the layer (turn the layer upside down, it will reduce the crumbs that get into the frosting.) Top the layer with 3/4 cup of frosting. Smooth to the edge of the cake. Repeat process with remaining two layers. Smooth additional frosting around the sides of the cake, and smooth. If you are making a crumb-coat layer of frosting, place the cake into the fridge to chill and set for about 30 minutes before you apply your final coat of frosting. Pipe a decorative swirl around the top (I used a 1M tip). And sprinkle with chopped peppermint bark and cake crumbles if desired.
Original recipe from Holy Sweet! by Peabody Johanson. Mildly adapted to suit my decorative adaptations and notes for how I made it.