Does the above image have you drooling on your keyboard? We don’t blame you. This chocolate cake with peppermint frosting and chocolate ganache is a holiday showstopper, and delicious to boot. It’s the creation of baker Sarah Jones Garibaldi, a kitchen goddess who we first became smitten with after encountering her ombré layer cake, which we subsequently featured in the pages of InStyle. “I wanted to wow guests and put everyone in a festive mood,” explains Garibaldi, who now has her own organic baking mix brand, Miss Jones Baking Company. Don’t have time to make everything from scratch? Turn a store-bought mix into a masterpiece by piling it high with crushed candy ($7; sugarfina.com) and pre-made meringues ($26; mouth.com). Read below for the recipe and get decorating!
Chocolate Cake with Peppermint Frosting and Chocolate Ganache
For the cake:
2 boxes chocolate cake mix (try Miss Jones variety, $6; missjones.co)
2 cups water
1 cup oil
For the frosting:
2 jars vanilla frosting (try Miss Jones $6; missjones.co)
½ tsp peppermint oil or flavoring
For the ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
For the meringues (optional):
3 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp peppermint extract
Red gel food coloring (optional)
1. Make cake batter according to package directions and divide evenly between three greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake cakes according to package directions and let cool completely. Meanwhile, mix ¼ tsp peppermint extract into each jar of frosting.
3. Assemble cake by placing one cake layer on a plate. Cover with a layer of peppermint frosting, and repeat the process twice more. Frost the outside of cake with a thin layer of frosting, allowing the chocolate cake to still be slightly exposed. Pro tip: If you want even layers of frosting, use a piping bag fitted with a round tip to pipe the same amount of frosting onto each cake layer. An offset spatula ($8; amazon.com) also helps to make frosting cakes a breeze.
4. Mix together chocolate chips and cream in a heatproof bowl. Melt mixture in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water, stirring until ganache is smooth and creamy. Gently pour over top of cake. Serve as is or take it one step further with the meringues!
5. To make the meringues, preheat oven to 200° F. Mix together egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and place over a pot of simmering water, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Place bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add in cream of tartar, and mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks have formed; stir in the peppermint extract.
6. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip and use the food coloring and a thin brush or back of a spoon to draw three red stripes down the length of the inside of the bag. Add the meringue to the bag and pipe swirls of meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, or until meringues feel firm and crunchy to the touch. Let cool completely before using.