Christmas is a time of traditions, old and new, and this spectacular Candy Cane Layer Cake (or Cupcakes) is sure to become a new favorite addition to your holiday table. Snowy white peppermint cake layers are nestled between creamy white chocolate frosting tinted with festive red and green in the spirit of Christmas and decorated with crushed candy canes. Plus, the cake layers freeze well, making early preparation nice and easy. Simply freeze individual layers in Ziploc bags; defrost and decorate the thawed layers when you are ready to use them.
Although there is no substitute to the moist creamy taste of our made-from-scratch recipe, if you are rushed for time between shopping and wrapping gifts, simply use any white cake mix and add two teaspoons of pure peppermint extract to the mix. Furthermore, if you want to also “cheat” on homemade frosting, there are new pre-tinted red and green commercial varieties in your grocer’s baking aisle (such as Pillsbury Funfetti Radiant Red Vanilla and Vibrant Green Vanilla Frosting). But, beware of cheating too much on holiday baking, or you just might end up on Santa’s naughty list! Happy Holidays!
Candy Cane LAYER Cake
To create an impressive three-layer cake, simply divide batter evenly among three 8-inch round baking pans; baking time will be quick, only about 15 minutes. Frost the cake layers by alternating between a red frosting layer and a green one. To add a festive touch to cupcakes, use red and green liners, and tie with contrasting ribbon for flair. Use red and green peppermint candy disks and chopped candy canes to adorn sides of cake and tops of cupcakes.
1¼ cups whole milk
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ butter, softened
1⅔ cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour; set aside. Place milk, egg whites, and vanilla in medium bowl; whisk until well-combined. Place flour and baking powder in another medium bowl; stir to combine. Place butter in large mixing bowl; beat with electric mixer on medium for about 30 seconds. Add sugar; continue beating for three minutes. Add flour and milk mixture, alternating, to butter mixture, with mixer continuing to run at low speed. Add peppermint extract. Beat for two minutes on medium once all ingredients are added. Divide batter among the pans. Bake at 350° F for 13-15 minutes (or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Slide knife around sides of pan; remove layers from pan. Remove wax paper from layers; discard. Invert cake layers; cool thoroughly on racks. Place one layer on serving plate. Spread with red frosting; top with second layer of cake. Spread green frosting on top of second layer; top with remaining cake layer. Frost the top and sides of cake with white frosting. Decorate as desired.
Snowflake White Chocolate Frosting
¾ cup reduced-fat milk (divided)
½ cup white chocolate morsels
1 cup butter, softened
5-6 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Red food coloring
Green food coloring
Place ½ cup milk and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for thirty seconds; stir, and repeat using 30-second intervals, until chocolate is fully melted. Set aside to cool. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter with electric mixer on medium until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate; gradually add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Add remaining milk and vanilla. Mix on high for 1-3 minutes, until frosting is smooth and will hold a peak.
Divide frosting among three bowls; leave one bowl white. Add red food coloring to second bowl to make vibrant red shade; stir to thoroughly combine. Add green food coloring to third bowl to create festive green shade; stir thoroughly. Decorate between cake layers with one layer of red and one layer of green frosting; use white frosting to decorate sides. Creatively decorate using candy canes and peppermints to create a showstopper Christmas cake!
Yield: 12 servings. Calories (per serving): 465; Fat 9.2g; Cholesterol 48g. Cost per serving: $.93.
Suzette Zara is a cookbook author, certified nutritionist, creator of Satan’s Salsa (SatansSalsa.com), and a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking. suzette@SuzetteZara.com