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Easy White Peppermint Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
An easy cake for Christmas or any time of year.
Chocolate reigns supreme at my house among my husband and kids; I am the odd one out, preferring creamy, white desserts. After handling about 99% of the Christmas decorating, shopping, addressing, mailing, cleaning, cooking, wrapping, and coordinating, I was feeling a little put-upon and sorry for myself, so I decided that to go with our Christmas dinner, I would make the cake I wanted as a little reward for all my hard work.
I decided a creamy, white peppermint cake with marshmallow frosting would hit the spot perfectly, and at the last minute, with company already at the house, set out to make one. A few years before I had attempted to make a peppermint cake by stirring crushed peppermint pieces into white cake mix batter. I love peppermint ice cream, and was envisioning a cake version of it -- but the candy pieces sunk to the bottom of the pan, melted and adhered to the pan, which caused a huge mess and ruined the cake.
This time I needed something quick, as I was already in the middle of preparing Christmas dinner. I decided to try stirring peppermint extract into the batter, and I'm so glad I did. The extract gave the cake a peppermint flavor that was definitely there, but subtle enough that it did not overpower the creamy flavor of the white cake. The cake turned out perfectly and it couldn't have been quicker or easier.
For this cake, it seemed nothing other than marshmallow buttercream frosting would do. That's what I made, adding a little peppermint extract to it as well, and it was perfect. I crushed some "soft" peppermint candies and sprinkled the pieces across the top and around the bottom edges. The peppermint pieces added a nice texture and flavor, but also gave the cake a festive, dressed-up presentation, especially once I placed it on a pedestal cake plate. Everyone "oohed" and "ahhed" when I brought the cake out, and scarfed it up once it was cut. Even the chocoholics couldn't get enough.
- 1 boxed white cake mix
- 3 eggs, or number directed by cake mix instructions
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, or amount directed by cake mix instructions
- 1 and 1/4 cups water, or amount directed by cake mix instructions
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 2 and 1/2 sticks real butter
- 7 ounces (one jar) marshmallow cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, (not to be confused with the additional 2 teaspoons that is put into the cake mix.)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 10-15 soft peppermints, such as Bob's "Sweet Stripes," which work especially well.
- Prepare cake mix as directed on box. When beating dry mix together with eggs, oil and water, mix in two teaspoons of peppermint extract.
- Pour into pans and bake as directed. I used two 9-inch pans for the cake pictured; two 8-inch pans would produce a taller, more striking-looking cake. You could also use one 13x9 covered cake pan, which when left in the pan is a great option to take to potlucks or family gatherings. These in-pan cakes don't present as nicely, but can't be beaten for take-along convenience.
- Bake as directed on box. I baked my two 9-inch layers for 25 minutes at 325°F, which was the minimum amount of time suggested, and they came out perfectly.
- While cake is baking, use an electric mixer to whip together the butter and the jar of marshmallow cream, until fluffy and well blended.
- Add vanilla, one teaspoon of peppermint extract, milk and powdered sugar to the butter/marshmallow mixture. Beat until smooth and fluffy. If frosting is too stiff, add a tablespoon or two more milk; if frosting is not stiff enough, add more powdered sugar.
- When cake is finished baking, remove from oven and cool 5-7 minutes. Remove layers from pans and cool completely before frosting it. If the cake is even slightly warm, the frosting will slide right off.
- When cake layers are completely cooled, place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Frost the top of the bottom layer; stack top layer on bottom layer, then frost top and sides of cake.
- Unwrap peppermint candies, place them in a zip-lock bag and use a hammer to gently crush the candies into small pieces. Sprinkle crushed peppermint across top of cake, allowing a few pieces to fall around the bottom edge of the cake as well. I threw my cake together very quickly and could have made it much nicer looking. For example, if you have a little extra time and a few extra candies, you could press crushed peppermint pieces all around the sides of the cake, in addition to the top of the cake.
For Whiter, Brighter Buttercream Frosting
I absolutely prefer real butter when making buttercream frosting -- it definitely tastes best. However, butter (and also vanilla extract, for that matter) gives frosting a yellow tint. Often that doesn't matter, but when making a cake such as this one, bright white frosting definitely adds to the cake's visual appeal. Here are some tips for whiter buttercream :
• Use shortening instead of butter. (This looks very pretty but personally, I prefer the taste and texture of butter.)
• Use colorless vanilla instead of standard brown vanilla.
• Use real butter but add an icing whitener such as Wilton's White-White Icing Color, which is made especially to give buttercream frosting a bright white appearance.
Did you make this cake? If so, let me know how you liked it!
Make a snowman cake!
Use peppermint cake batter and marshmallow buttercream frosting to make an adorable snowman cake with pans you probably already own -- no expensive mold needed. A snowman cake is a fun project for kids to make and decorate on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, or when you're snowed in from school -- and peppermint is the perfect flavor for this cake.