Chocolate Peppermint Cake (Vegan)

I made chocolate peppermint mini-cupcakes several weeks ago for my second tasting at Savory Spice Shop. It was the sleeper hit. Most folks would initially gravitate to the salted caramel mini-cupcakes, but they would then try the chocolate peppermint and be surprised at how much they liked it. They were even more shocked to find out that they were vegan. I really love the look on people’s faces after they have tried something that I’ve made and they exclaim how good it is then, I tell them that it’s dairy free (or vegan). It gives me a tiny thrill.
The following Chocolate Peppermint Cake recipe is the same one that I used for the mini-cupcakes, but it’s in cake form. You want to be careful when adding the peppermint extract to the frosting because too much will ruin it. I use some Black Onyx cocoa powder in my cake (you can order it online through Savory Spice Shop or Google black cocoa powder), but if you don’t have any or don’t have access to it, then just use all Dutch cocoa powder. The cake is my version of the depression era Wacky Cake. This recipe makes a 3-layer cake, but one of my layers fell apart, so I ended up with a 2-layer cake. I had plans for more elaborate decoration, but like a lot of people during this time of year, I was short on time and energy. Just a note of caution: If you want to use crushed and/or whole candy canes for decorations, you don’t want assemble the cake more than a day or 2 in advanced. The candies will start to melt.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
2 tbsp Black Onyx cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee extract
2 tbsp white vinegar
12 tbsp(3/4 cup) canola oil
2 cups rice milk
·      Preheat the oven to 350°F.
·      Grease (dairy free margarine) and flour 3 8-inch round pans.
·      In a mixing bowl, combine and whisk the first 6 ingredients (flour to sugar).
·      Make 3 depressions of graduating sizes in the flour mixture.
·      Pour the vanilla and coffee extracts into the smallest depression, the vinegar into the medium depression, and the oil into the largest depression.
·      Add the milk and mix, scraping the sides as needed.
·      Beat on high for 30 seconds.
·      Divide the batter into the 3 prepared pans.
·      Bake for 30-40 minutes.
·      Cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
·      Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
·      Remove cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Peppermint Frosting
2 cups dairy free margarine (I use Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks)
6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1½ tsp peppermint extract.
2-4 tbsp rice milk
·      Beat together the margarine and confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Start on low to avoid getting confectioners’ sugar everywhere. If you have a stand mixer, you can cover the top of the bowl with a large towel.
·      Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
·      Add the rice milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get to a firm, but spreadable consistency.
·      If desired, remove about 1½-2 cups of frosting and add crushed candy canes. Use this for the filling.
·      Assemble and frost the cake.
·      Optional: On a freshly frosted cake, press crushed candy canes onto the sides of the cake.
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What a pretty cake!