How to Make a Hypnotic Peppermint Swirl Cake

Wow the crowd this holiday season with a fun and festive cake inspired by classic peppermint spiral candy.

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Peppermint Swirl Cake

Learn to make a peppermint-flavored cake with a simple but hypnotizing design — perfect for your holiday celebrations!

What You'll Need


 ● Peppermint cake:
  ○ 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  ○ 2 cups granulated sugar
  ○ 4 large eggs
  ○ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  ○ 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  ○ 4 cups cake flour
  ○ 1 tablespoon baking powder
  ○ 1/2 teaspoon salt
  ○ 1 cup whole milk
 ● Peppermint buttercream frosting (use the large batch recipe included or 4 store-bought cans)
  ○ 6 cups (12 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  ○ 2 pounds (1 bag) confectioners' sugar
  ○ 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  ○ 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  ○ 1/2 tablespoon peppermint extract
  ○ 1/2 teaspoon table salt
 ● Red food coloring


 ● 11-inch round cake pan
 ● Plastic piping bags (and rubber bands to close them)
 ● Piping tips: small and medium round tips
 ● Offset spatula
 ● Flat edge frosting smoother
 ● Parchment paper
 ● Pencil + scissors

Prepare Cake Batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 11-inch cake pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined after each egg. Add the vanilla and peppermint extract, beat to combine.

Sift the cake flour. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk into the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until each addition has been combined.

Assembly: Step 1

Pour half of the cake batter into a medium bowl and dye with red food coloring. For both the red and white batters, insert a medium round tip into a large piping bag and fill each bag with batter. Use a rubber band to close each bag.

Assembly: Step 2

Alternate adding the white and red batter into the center of the pan to create alternating rings, ending with the red batter.

Assembly: Step 3

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool 15 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment. Allow the cake to completely cool on the rack before you begin decorating.

Assembly: Step 4

While the cakes are baking, make one large batch of peppermint buttercream frosting. Beat the butter for a few minutes on medium speed, preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On slow speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time, allowing each batch of sugar to incorporate with the butter before adding the next. Increase the speed to medium and add the peppermint extract, vanilla extract, cream and salt. Beat for an additional 3 minutes.

Fill one large piping bag with buttercream. Use a rubber band to close the bag.

Color the leftover frosting with red food coloring. Insert a small round tip into a piping bag before filling with the red buttercream. Use a rubber band to close the bag.

Assembly: Step 5

Place the cooled cake round on a serving plate. Use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake.

Assembly: Step 6

Frost the cake with your white buttercream frosting. Smooth with a spatula and flat edge frosting smoother. Place the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes to set and chill the frosting.

Decorating: Step 1

While your cake is chilling, create a stencil to use as a guide to find the exact center of your cake. Use a sheet of parchment paper and a pencil to trace around your cake pan. Cut out the parchment circle with scissors, making sure to cut just inside the pencil line.

Decorating: Step 2

Fold the parchment circle in half to create a half-circle. Repeat folding in half at least two more times, then cut a small end off of the center tip so that when you unfold it you have a hole in the center of your circle.

Decorating: Step 3

Once the frosting is chill and firm to the touch, lay your parchment stencil on top of the cake and mark the center with a toothpick. Beginning in the center, start piping on your swirl with the red buttercream, increasing the width of your swirl as you work your way towards the edge of the cake.

Decorating: Step 4

Make sure to work in segments, so that you can ensure it appears proportionate. As you start your final rotation of the swirl begin to decrease the width, working it back to a thin line that ends at the cake’s edge.

Decorating: Step 5

Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes until the red frosting is firm to the touch. Once firm, use a small spatula to smooth the frosted swirl.

Chill and Serve

Chill until you're ready to serve and enjoy!

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