Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 to 12

For this festive dessert, we’ve used celebration layer cake pans, which create pretty scalloped cakes that are about half the thickness of standard cake layers. The result is a dramatic four-layer cake that will wow your guests. However, you can also make a two-layer cake using standard 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans instead, increasing the cooking time to 30 to 35 minutes.


  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Chocolate peppermint layer cake kit (includes 2 cake mix packets, 1 frosting mix packet and crushed peppermint candy bits)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) water
  • 8 oz. (250 g) cream cheese
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 2 celebration layer cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine both cake mix packets, the eggs, milk and oil. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Bring the water to a boil and stir the hot water into the cake mix. Pour a quarter of the batter into each of the prepared pans. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and tap the pans on the countertop to evenly distribute the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks and let cool completely. Meanwhile, wash and dry the pans, grease and dust them with cocoa powder and repeat to bake the remaining batter. You will have 4 cake layers.

To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the frosting mix to the bowl and beat on medium-high speed until combined, another 30 seconds.

To assemble the cake, place 1 layer, top side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with about a quarter of the frosting and spread to the edges. Repeat the process with the remaining cake layers, spreading the remaining frosting on the top layer. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy. Cut into slices and serve. Serves 8 to 12.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

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