Candy Cane Cake

I saw this beautiful Chocolate Candy Cane Cake on one of my favorite food blogs, Annie’s Eats.  I was so inspired and bookmarked it hoping to be able to make it someday.  My opportunity came when one of my very best friends, Sarah, said she would be visiting right after Christmas which also happened to be shortly after a very important birthday for her.  I decided this cake was the perfect inspiration for her birthday cake (after finding out Sarah did indeed like peppermint ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now I realize, Christmas is over, but since I missed posting it then I thought this would be a nice cake for Valentine’s day.  I used Candy Cane Flavored Hershey Kisses (my favorite!)  but since they are only available during Christmas (probably a good thing since I like them so much) you could use any type of Hershey Kisses or use peppermint candies as Annie does on Annie’s Eats for her Chocolate Candy Cane Cake.  I decided to use a white cake and add vanilla bean to it instead of chocolate. I also used my buttercream frosting recipe which came from some trial and error.  After making huge batches of buttercream frosting at the bakery I worked in during high school, I knew what went into the buttercream frosting I just had no idea the amount of ingredients unless I was making gallons of it ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

I crushed two boxes of 12 candy canes which was too much (I have been using crushed candy canes for awhile now) so I am not sure how many peppermint candies you would need to fulfill the measurements below.  I used a food processor to crush the candy canes but you could put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or heavy skillet if you don’t have a a food processor. 

Frost and decorate with the peppermint candy right before serving, as Annie warned on Annie’s Eats the peppermint coating will become hard which will mean your cut pieces may not be so pretty ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Candy Cane Cake
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Ingredients For the Cake
4 egg whites, at room temperature (separate egg whites while eggs are cold)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean

Ingredients For the Filling/Frosting/Decoration:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons milk (I used 2%)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 + 1/8 cup crushed peppermint candies, divided
8 Hershey Kisses, for decoration

Directions for Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2.  Grease and flour two 9-inch or 8-inch cake pans.  I like to also add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom (I trace the cake pan and cut it to size), grease and flour the paper. 
3.  In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4.  Using a stand or hand mixer, beat butter for 30 seconds then add vanilla, vanilla seeds (cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape it using the side of a knife), and sugar, beating until mixed.
5.  Add egg whites to the butter mixture, 1 at a time beating after each egg white.
6.  On a low speed, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk, mixing after each addition. 
7.  Pour the batter into each pan, ensuring the pans are even.  Tap each pan lightly on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
8.  Bake cakes for 20-30 minutes (depending on cake pan size).  I start testing the cakes around 20 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9.  Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5-10 minutes, then turn out and peel off parchment paper (if using).  Let the cakes sit until cooled off.  

Directions for frosting
1.  Cream together shortening and butter using a stand mixer or hand mixer.
2.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix (you may want to use a towel around your mixer or add the sugar a little at a time so it doesn’t make a huge mess – I speak from experience).  The frosting will be crumbly.
3.  Add milk, salt and vanilla.  Beat until mixed.
4.  Beat for another 1-2 minutes.
5.  Take 1 cup of frosting and mix 1/8 cup of the crushed peppermint candy in. You will use this to frost between the 2 cake layers.

Directions for assembling
Note: I would assemble and decorate the cake close to when you are serving it.
1.  Spread the cup of frosting with the peppermint candy mixed in on the top of 1 cake (I use a cake spreader and have a cup of hot water nearby to dip the spreader in to make frosting the cake easier). 
2.  Place the other cake layer gently on top of the frosted cake and frost both with the rest of the frosting (reserve about 1 cup for frosting details at the end).
3.  Sprinkle peppermint candy on the top and sides of the cake.  For the sides,  I just took handfuls of the crush candy and pressed them onto the sides to stick.
4.  Finish decorating as desired (with extra peppermint candy, Hershey kisses, etc).

Lindsay Lou

Source: Inspired by Chocolate Candy Cane Cake by Annie’s Eats Cake Originally from Cooks Illustrated

Cake: slightly adapted from White Cake in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (12 Edition)
Frosting: Adapted from Baker’s Peak

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