White Christmas Peppermint Cake

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    16 to 20

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 30 to 40 minutes

This cake is soft and tender with a velvety crumb, frosted with a silken white chocolate buttercream, filled and topped with a fine crunch of peppermint. My friend Joe Tully says it reminds him of Christmas morning. However, if you omit the peppermint extract and increase the vanilla extract to one tablespoon, you will have a lovely all-purpose white layer cake.

Ingredients

Batter

VOLUME WEIGHT
6 large egg whites, at room temperature ¾ cup (177 ml) 6.3 ounces 180 grams
milk 1⅓ cups (315 ml), divided 11.3 ounces 322 grams
peppermint extract, preferably Flavorganics 2 teaspoons (10 ml) . .
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
bleached cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) 4 cups (or cups), sifted into the cup and leveled off 14.1 ounces 400 grams
superfine sugar 2 cups 14.1 ounces 400 grams
baking powder 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon 1 ounce 29 grams
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon . 6 grams
unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) 8 ounces 227 grams

Peppermint Topping

VOLUME WEIGHT
peppermint sticks . 3.5 ounces 100 grams

Special Equipment

Two 9 by 2 inch round cake pans, encircled with cake strips, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then coated with baking spray with flour

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the Liquid Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, cup/79 ml/2.8 ounces/81 grams of the milk, the peppermint extract, and vanilla just until lightly combined.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in three parts, beating on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a large silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula. Each pan will be half full (27.2 ounces/770 grams in each).

Bake the Cakes

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown, a wire cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cakes

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto wire racks that have been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cool completely upside down. This will help flatten the slight dome.

Make the White Chocolate Custard Base

See recipe.

Make the Peppermint Topping

Have ready a coarse-mesh strainer suspended over a medium bowl.

Place 1 or 2 peppermint sticks in a freezer-weight plastic bag. With a hammer or mallet, lightly break up the stick(s) into shards no larger than ¼ inch. Empty them into the strainer and stir to sift the powder-fine pieces into the bowl.

Compose the Cake

Cut each layer in half horizontally.

Spread a little buttercream on a cardboard round or serving plate and place one layer, rounded top side down. If using the serving plate, slide a few wide strips of parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Spread the cake with about ¾ cup/4 ounces/113 grams of the buttercream. Evenly sprinkle tablespoons of the peppermint pieces over the buttercream. Continue with the remaining layers, saving the bottom of one of them to use for the top of the cake so that it is perfectly level and crumb free. If the buttercream starts to become spongy, whisk it until smooth and creamy.

Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set the buttercream. Sprinkle the powder-fine peppermint over the top of the cake and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining peppermint pieces. If using the parchment strips, slowly slide them out from under the cake.

Serve at room temperature.

Store

Airtight: room temperature, 1 day; refrigerated, 3 days; frozen, 2 months.

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