Christmas

Peppermint Hi-Hat Cake

December 13, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

A single, tall devil’s food cake is topped with an almost equally tall mound of peppermint 7-minute frosting. After a brief chill in the fridge, it’s doused in an all-over layer of thin milk chocolate glaze, that sets up like magic shell. You can toss a little crushed peppermint candy around the base to give a clue as to what’s inside—but this is one of those cakes that impresses even more once it’s sliced! Recipe adapted from the Peppermint Hi-Hat Cupcakes in my book, The Fearless Baker (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). —Erin McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 3 Showstopping Holiday Cakes That Taste As Good As They Look. —The Editors

  • Prep time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Makes one 9-inch cake
Ingredients
  • Devil's food cake
  • 1 cup (85 g) cocoa powder (I especially like black cocoa from King Arthur Flour)
  • 2/3 cup (162 g) boiling water
  • 3/4 cup (171 g) whole milk
  • 6 ounces (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (397 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large (170 g) eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (241 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Milk chocolate glaze
  • 10 ounces (238 g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) coconut oil
  • Peppermint 7-minute frosting
  • 5 large (178 g) egg whites
  • 2 cups (397 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • Crushed peppermint candies, as needed for finishing (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk in the boiling water until fully combined. Stir in the milk and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add one third of this mixture to the mixer and mix on low speed to combine. Add half of the cocoa-milk mixture and mix to incorporate. Repeat, alternating between dry and wet ingredients, until both are fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in the pan, then release and remove the outer ring and cool completely.
  6. When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl, and set over a medium pot of simmering water (like a double boiler). Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a vessel with a pour spout (like a large liquid measuring cup) and let cool while you make the frosting.
  7. Make the frosting: combine the egg whites, sugar, water, and creaam of tartar in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water (with the bowl not touching the water) and heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly warm to the touch (it should read 140°F on a thermometer), 2-3 minutes.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy and holds medium peaks, 6-7 minutes. Add the peppermint and vanilla extracts and food coloring, if using, and mix to combine.
  9. Frost the cake: mound the frosting (or pipe using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip) into a sort of an upside down cone shape on top of the cooled cake. Chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  10. If necessary, warm the milk chocolate glaze in the microwave in 15 second bursts until it’s fluid, but not hot. To glaze the cake, place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Place the chilled cake on the wire rack and pour the glaze slowly over the cake to fully coat it. If needed, you can spoon the glaze that’s fallen onto the baking sheet over any bare spots. Scatter the crushed candy around the base of the cake, if desired.
  11. The glaze should firm up within 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, pop the cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes. The cake is now ready to be sliced and served—it will hold at room temperature once the glaze is set, but you can hold it in the fridge for up to 4 hours before serving as well.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kirsten Seymour
    Kirsten Seymour
  • Seth Gross
    Seth Gross
Review
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.