Candy Cane Cocktail Cake

Candy Cane Cocktail Cake

After my first encounter with Godiva's white chocolate liqueur...

...I was obsessed! And four years later I’m STILL obsessed with it, especially around Christmastime! 

I also love peppermint schnapps, but the sharpness of the peppermint definitely needs some tempering (otherwise it feels like a peppermint stab to the sinuses. No thank you). The combination of the white chocolate liqueur and peppermint schnapps in these red marbled cake layers was ABSOLUTELY delicious! Recipe below!


"Do I have to make the cake / frosting from scratch?"
  • Not if you don't want to! You can substitute your favorite cake mix plus the ingredients the mix calls for; keep the baking pans the same. The cake layers will just be a little less rich - though substituting butter for oil and buttermilk for water will help! Replace 2 teaspoons of the liquid with peppermint extract. 
    Store bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well.

Can I make the cake / frosting ahead of time? 
  • Definitely! Wrap the cake layers well and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Transfer the frosting to a zip-lock bag and squeeze out the extra air, and again - refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. 
    On a related note – cover any remaining cake well after serving to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

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Candy Cane Cocktail Cake pinterest pin

Candy Cane Cocktail Cake

White Chocolate liqueur and Peppermint Schnapps combine to make this incredible Candy Cane Cocktail Cake - perfect for the holidays!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Decorating time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Candy Cane Cake, Candy Cane Cocktail Cake, Christmas Cake, Christmas Cocktail Cake, Peppermint Christmas Cake
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 725kcal
Author: Sarah H



Candy Cane Cake Layers

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (or 1 stick, room temperature)
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¾ cups buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Few drops of liquid red food color (save & add at the end)

Cake Drizzle (optional)

  • ¼ cup Peppermint Schnapps (I used Rumplemintz)
  • ¼ cup White chocolate liqueur (I used Godiva)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package; softened)
  • 1 cup butter (1 stick; softened)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 3-4 drops Americolor red gel food color (Save and add later!)



Candy Cane Cake Layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 6-inch round pans with baker's floured spray (or grease and line with parchment rounds).
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture looks crumbly.
  • Pour in egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk on a low speed. Add in peppermint extract and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly evenly between prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height. Add a few drops of red food color to each pan, and marble it in with a knife or offset spatula.
  • Bake for 28-35 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans.. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart. (This is a great time to make your frosting!)

Cake drizzle (optional)

  • After cake layers are leveled, combine peppermint schnapps and white chocolate liqueur and use a squeeze bottle (or jigger) to infuse each layer with about 2 Tablespoons each of liqueur mixture.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk and peppermint extract until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Beat until well combined.
  • Remove about 1 cup of frosting from the bowl and color with red gel color – you’ll use this in a bit for decorating!


  • Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle.
  • Spread the layer with frosting, and sprinkle a bit of crushed peppermint candy over the frosting. Place your next cake layer on top, and repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once the frosting is mostly smooth, work your way around the cake several times with the textured cake comb, until the stripes are smooth and even. Place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting and chill the cake before adding the stripes!


  • Now the fun part – stripes! Transfer some red frosting to a small piping bag with a small round tip, and fill the small gaps left by the cake comb with red frosting. Over-filling a bit is fine, and actually makes the smoothing process easier.
  • Turn the cake comb to the smooth side and run it around the cake until the stripes appear smooth – work gently; you don’t want to scrape off all the stripes! This is where having the cake well-chilled is helpful; it makes it easier to smooth the stripes without scraping them off.
  • Transfer the rest of the red frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe a rim of large frosting swirls around the top of the cake – I alternated large swirls and slightly smaller stars.
  • Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the frosting swirls and around the cake base, pressing them gently into the frosting around the base. Place two mini candy canes together to form a ‘heart’ in the center of the cake if desired!
  • And you're done! Step back and admire your fabulous-looking cake - and cut in and enjoy!



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate.) 


Serving: 1slice (1/12th cake) | Calories: 725kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Candy Cane Cocktail Cake? 

Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

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