This Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! It’s plenty moist and iced with a rich chocolate peppermint ganache.
As much as I love gingerbread, my true favorite holiday flavor is chocolate peppermint, hands down, which makes this vegan chocolate peppermint cake one of my new favorite holiday recipes.
However, I must confess that I sort of cheated with this recipe. The chocolate cake recipe is the same as this vegan birthday cake but with the addition of peppermint extract. That recipe has gotten positive feedback so far, so I figured if it ain’t broken don’t fix it, right?
The real star of the show (err…of this recipe) is the chocolate ganache. OMG why have I not been icing all my cakes this way?! I’m kidding, kind of. As you guys know, I’m very much learning as I go in regards to this whole cake making thing. I knew I wanted a thicker icing, but I wasn’t sure how to get a really thick icing. Insert: ganache. I followed this recipe for the “how-to”, and then added peppermint extract to add more flavor to the cake.
Reasons I love ganache: it’s easy to make, it’s versatile, it’s thick, it’s silky smooth, it gives cake a clean look.
Reasons I wouldn’t use ganache on all my cakes: it’s thick–like, really, really thick–so if you’re looking for a lighter cake recipe, one with ganache wouldn’t be it.
But, right here in this moment, I have fallen head over heels for ganache. Or, more specifically, vegan ganache.
After icing the entire cake in ganache, I decided I wanted something more, so I poured more ganache on the already-covered ganache cake. Makes sense. The only difference is that with the topping, I omitted the peppermint extract because I didn’t want it to be flavor overkill. So really this is more like a vegan chocolate peppermint cake with chocolate peppermint ganache topped with dark chocolate ganache. Phew, that’s exhausting.
Tip: In order to make the most of your time, I recommend making the cakes and the ganache the night before and then assembling it the day you plan on serving it. Once the cakes have been made, wrap them in cling wrap and place them in the refrigerator overnight. As for the ganache, keep it in container with a lid or top it with cling wrap and just keep it on the counter overnight. If leaving the icing out overnight weirds you out (it really shouldn’t—it’s just canned coconut milk+chocolate), then you can make it the morning of, but the ganache has to sit for AT LEAST four hours, which will allow it to thicken up to the correct consistency. Of course you don’t have to do it this way, but that’s what I did to make the whole cake-making process seem like less of an all-day activity.
Tip: If you want to add a “wow” factor, sprinkle crushed up candy cake pieces on top of your cake right before serving. However, only do this is you’re serving the cake right away. Otherwise, the candy cane pieces will melt over time and will leave the cake looking less than presentable (not that this happened to me the first time I made this or anything….).
I hope you guys enjoy this cake as much as I did. If you make this recipe (or any of my recipes) remember to tag #thealmondeater and/or @thealmondeater on Instagram so I can see your creations!
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ cups raw cane sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1¾ cups almond milk
- 1½ cups applesauce
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½-1 tsp peppermint extract*
- For the ganache:
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
- 16 oz. dairy free chocolate (I used a combination of chocolate chips and a chopped up chocolate bar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp peppermint extract*
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Melt coconut oil and set aside, allowing a few minutes for it to cool off.
- Meanwhile, combine milk, applesauce, vinegar, vanilla, and peppermint in a separate bowl.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients into one bowl, adding the coconut oil in last and stir with an electric mixer until everything is combined.
- Grease 3 6" cake pans with coconut oil and distribute batter evenly into cake pans.
- Place pans in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to sit in cake pans for 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. Wait until cakes have completely cooled before icing them.
- For the ganache: Chop chocolate (if using chocolate chips, keep them as-is), place in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. You don't want it to boil--as soon as you see bubbles forming, pour the milk overtop of the chopped chocolate.
- Wait 5 minutes, add the vanilla and peppermint, and then use a spatula to stir everything together. Slowly but surely the chocolate will melt. Wait until chocolate has cooled and then place a lid or cling wrap overtop of bowl and allow chocolate to sit out for at least four hours, allowing chocolate to harden a bit. You want the chocolate to be pretty thick but still spreadable.
- To assemble: Carefully slice the domes off of each cake. Place a large dollop of ganache on one cake and spread it on top. Next, place a second cake overtop of the icing and repeat the process. Last, place several dollops of ganache on the side of the cake and use an uneven spatula to smooth icing all over the cake.
- If you want to add the top layer of ganache dripping down, repeat the same process as you did the first time around but this time pour the ganache over the cake right away (rather than letting it sit out to harden).
**Ganache recipe source