This 6-inch Single Layer Peppermint Chocolate Cake recipe gives you a moist and chocolatey, peppermint-flavored cake! Enjoy it with this light and refreshing peppermint swiss meringue buttercream for the ultimate chocolate-peppermint combo!
Why This Recipe Works
- It's easy to make!
- Yields just one 6-inch single layer peppermint chocolate cake—perfect for up to 4 people (or six if everyone is cool with only two slices).
- Moist and tender in texture
- Full of chocolate and peppermint flavor in each bite.
- Pair it with this peppermint swiss meringue buttercream for the ultimate chocolate-peppermint flavor combo.
- It's a wonderful after-dinner treat for an intimate dinner, birthday, small dinner party, or a really nice way to treat yourself!
- You can top it with crushed candy cane bits or these cute candy cane hearts!
This single layer peppermint chocolate cake is adapted from my single layer chocolate cake recipe and is the last to be added to my recipe box for 2021! It is a really easy cake to make, and when paired with this small batch of peppermint swiss meringue buttercream, you have a really nice, refreshing holiday dessert!
You'll need the following basic ingredients for this peppermint chocolate cake recipe:
- All-Purpose Flour. My favorite all-purpose flour to use is King Arthur Flour, but use what you have on hand.
- Sugars. You'll need granulated sugar and light brown sugar for this recipe. The light brown sugar should be lightly packed (if using measuring cups).
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder, but you can also use their special dark cocoa powder as well.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Make sure they're still fresh and haven't expired.
- Salt. Just a pinch or ⅛ teaspoon is needed.
- Egg. Just one is needed, and room temperature is best!
- Whole Milk. You could also use 1%, 2%, or lactose-free milk.
- Vegetable Oil. This gives the chocolate a little more of that moist consistency.
- Peppermint Extract. Don't confuse this with mint extract—that is the flavor of mint tea. The extract should say peppermint on it!
- Hot Water. It should be hot to the touch but not boiling.
I did not test this recipe using alternative flour, dairy, oil, sugar, cocoa powders, or egg substitutes.
Buttercream Frosting Alternatives
Love the peppermint chocolate cake, but you're not crazy about the small batch of peppermint swiss meringue buttercream? Give any of these other alternatives a try!
- Milk Chocolate Frosting
- Vanilla Buttercream
- Vanilla Flour (Ermine) Buttercream
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Dark Chocolate Ganache (halve this recipe to work with this peppermint chocolate cake)
- Powdered Sugar or Cocoa Powder - a simple dusting over the top of your single-layer peppermint chocolate cake with either one of these will make for a lighter treat to enjoy!
The Best Baking Tools
Here are a few baking tools I recommend when making any of my single layer cake recipes! Scroll through the carousel below for more!
- 6 inch Cake Pan. My go-to 6 inch cake pan for my most recent single-layer cakes is my 6 inch by 3 inch cake pan. If you only have a 6 inch by 2 inch tall pan, this will work fine, but know the cake may come up to the edge of the pan.
- Mixing Bowls. Works well for dry ingredients and wet ones.
- Whisks and Spatulas. Always good to have a few of these on hand while you bake this pumpkin cake! I swear by GIR whisks and spatulas. They also make spoonulas, a combination of a spatula and a spoon. I love them when using cake batters!
Candy Cane Hearts Decoration
If you're looking for a fun, easy holiday cake topper for your single-layer peppermint chocolate cake, then check out my Candy Cane Hearts Tutorial. They also make a great stand-alone treat to share with loved ones! This tutorial makes approximately 9 candy cane hearts.
Yes, absolutely! Any part of this recipe (the cake, buttercream, or candy hearts garnish) can be made in advance.
The peppermint chocolate cake can be made up to 2 months in advance when properly stored in the freezer. The swiss meringue buttercream can be made 2-3 days in advance when kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. The candy cane hearts can be made up to a month in advance when properly stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
For helpful tips on freezing your single layer cake, visit my single layer chocolate cake recipe post.
I have both the 6 inch x 2 inch and the 6 inch x 3 inch cake pans but recommend the latter.
No, you do not have to. Sometimes I use them; other times, I gently tap the cake pan on the counter to release any of the air bubbles within the batter which seems to help keep the cake layer relatively flat on top.
Yes, you can use either for a garnish.
I put the candy canes in a Ziploc bag and then broke them up into bits with a meat tenderizer. You can also use a rolling pin or heavy serving spoon.
Enjoy More Single-Layer Cakes from Beyond the Butter®!
Peppermint Chocolate CakeAuthor:
6 inch single layer peppermint chocolate cake
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar (lightly packed)
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Large Egg
- ¼ cup Whole Milk
- 2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- ½ teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 2 tablespoon Hot Water
- ½ cup Mini Candy Canes (crushed (for cake garnish))
small batch peppermint swiss meringue buttercream
- 3 Large Egg Whites
- ⅔ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¾ cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature and cut into 1 tablespoon size pieces)
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
6 inch single layer peppermint chocolate cake
- Adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a 6 inch cake pan with a flour based baking spray or grease and flour. If you choose, you can also add a 6 inch parchment paper circle to the bottom of the pan as well. Set to the side.
- With a small mixing bowl and a whisk, blend together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set to the side.½ cup All-Purpose Flour, ¼ cup Granulated Sugar, ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar, ¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and hot water.1 Large Egg, ¼ cup Whole Milk, 2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil, ½ teaspoon Peppermint Extract, 2 tablespoon Hot Water
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until just combined. Be careful not to over mix the cake batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25-28 minutes at 350ºF or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the cake pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar or frost with this small batch peppermint swiss meringue buttercream, then top with the crushed candy cane bits.½ cup Mini Candy Canes
small batch peppermint swiss meringue buttercream (optional)
- Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in a glass or metal mixing bowl (either one that is stand alone or part of a stand mixer), and set over a pot that is filled with 1"-2" of simmering water.3 Large Egg Whites, ⅔ cup Granulated Sugar
- Whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 150ºF and/or the sugar has completely dissolved. You can check this by taking a small amount of the egg white mixture, rubbing it between two fingers. It should be smooth and not gritty in texture.
- Carefully remove the mixing bowl from the simmering pot, wipe the bottom off with a towel, and beat the egg white mixture using a hand mixer or your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high to high speed until it forms the stiff meringue peaks and (this is important) the bottom of the mixing bowl is cool to the touch. This can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
- Begin to add the butter one piece at a time, allowing each piece to fully absorb into the meringue mixture. If it looks mushy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed.¾ cup Unsalted Butter
- After you've added in all of the butter, switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment, add in the peppermint extract and salt, then mix anywhere from 5-10 minutes. The meringue buttercream is ready when it is nice and smooth in texture.⅛ teaspoon Salt, 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- Frost your cake once it's completely cooled.
Nutritonal information provided above is an estimate only and will vary based on specific ingredients used.