This Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake is a classic Texas sheet cake all dressed up in holiday attire. The festive, candy cane-studded, vanilla-peppermint buttercream is truly "the icing on the cake"!
With a one-bowl, no-mixer, 10-minute batter and a simple, 3-ingredient frosting that you mix up while the cake cools, This Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake is a cook's holiday life-saver!
I love that this recipe doesn't require any soft butter, pots on the stove-top and/or dirtying of multiple dishes. If you have a microwave-safe bowl, a whisk, and a sheet pan, you're good to go and all set to make a ridiculously easy, ridiculously delicious dessert!
Ridiculously Easy History
A number of years ago, we did a reader survey and asked our Café followers, "what kind of recipes are you looking for?". With so many people having a busy lifestyle these days, the response was overwhelming: "Easy, delicious recipes that don't take a lot of time, unusual ingredients and/or special equipment to put together.
Although I LOVE to cook and the kitchen is my happy place where I can spend the whole day, a little light bulb went on in my head. I decided right then and there that, if this is what our readers really want, these are the type of recipes I'm going to focus on. And you know what? I love these super easy, delicious recipes now as much as you do!
About the same time, we created a category of Café recipes that we titled "Ridiculously Easy". A recipe has to follow a few fairly strict guidelines to be eligible for the Ridiculously Easy collection. You can read more about these guidelines in this post, but my nutshell definition for Ridiculously Easy recipes is "recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part".
You can check out our Ridiculously Easy category HERE.
How to make this Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake
Don't believe a super moist, tender crumbed, deliciously chocolatey cake could be that easy? These are the simple steps:
- Preheat the oven and spray a sheet pan with baking spray.
- Combine the butter and water in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high power for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is melted.
- Add the sugar, cocoa powder and buttermilk and whisk until well combined.
- Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add the baking soda, salt and flour and stir until combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake.
- While the cake is cooling a bit, mix up the one-bowl, no-mixer icing.
- Frost the cake, sprinkle with crushed peppermint and mini chocolate chips.
- Wipe the drool off of your mouth, cut a piece for yourself and enjoy! Do that now, because once others discover this Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake, your opportunity to privately indulge will be history!
So if you're looking for an easy holiday dessert that everyone will love, check out The Café Tips below, gather your ingredients and make this Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake asap! It's not only ridiculously easy, it's also ridiculously DELICIOUS! Cheers!
Cafe Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake
- The topping on this cake calls for crushed candy canes. The easiest way I've found to crush candy canes is to place them in a ziplock bag, then tap them with the back of a soup spoon. I used to use a hammer or mallet but that's not really necessary, a soup spoon works great!
- The frosting on the cake calls for peppermint extract which is a strong flavoring. Start with ½ teaspoon as indicated in the recipe. Taste the icing after it's all mixed together. You can always add more but the crushed peppermint topping will add additional mint flavor.
- What size pan should you use to make this Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake? There are actually two answers to this question.
- You can use a regular half sheet pan which is 18x13 inches.
- You can also use a jelly roll pan which is a little smaller, measuring 15x10 inches. The sheet pan will yield a larger but thinner cake and icing, the jelly roll pan, a thicker cake with a thicker icing. My preference? I really like making sheet cakes like this in the smaller, jelly roll pan for a thicker cake, but either will work.
- You'll need a microwave-safe bowl to make the cake batter for this recipe. What is a microwave-safe bowl? It's a bowl made from glass or material that won't melt, get too hot, cause damage to the microwave or release chemicals when exposed to microwave rays. I LOVE these microwave-safe 2-quart measuring cups. The handle never gets hot, which means taking things in and out of the microwave is not a problem. If you look at the bottom of a bowl, it should say "microwave-safe" or have the microwave symbol:
- This recipe calls for buttermilk, both in the cake and in the icing. If you don't want to purchase buttermilk, just for this recipe, you could sub an equal amount of yogurt or sour cream.
- You can also make your own buttermilk. Just add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar to a measuring cup and fill the cup to the one half marking with milk. Stir well, then wait 5 minutes and stir again. Use this in place of the buttermilk.
- The frosting recipe for this Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake calls for half and half. If you don't live in the United States, you might not be familiar with half and half. It's an American convenience product that's half milk and half cream. You can also use milk for the frosting.
- I use salted butter to make this cake. If you only have unsalted butter, add an extra ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Although you can use any type of stirring implement for this recipe, a whisk works really well. If you don't have a whisk in your cooking collection, it's a really handy kitchen tool to add. A good whisk is not expensive and can be used for quickly stirring lots of things and getting lumps out with minimal effort. It's also a great stocking gift - hint, hint!
Thought for the day:
The true light, which gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world was made through Him.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 8 ounces butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa
- ½ cup buttermilk see Café Tips above for substitues
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces butter 1 stick
- 4 tablespoons half and half or milk maybe a bit more
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar maybe a bit more
- ¼ cup crushed candy canes about 4 average (5-inch) candy canes
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 10x15-inch sheet pan (aka jelly roll pan) with baking spray. Set aside. (You can also you a regular 13x18-inch half sheet pan but your cake will the thinner.)
Combine butter and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high power for 2-3 minutes (just until the butter is melted).
Add the sugar, cocoa powder and buttermilk. Whisk well to combine.
Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until the eggs are well incorporated then add the baking soda and salt and stir until well combined.
Finally, add the flour and whisk until the batter is nice and smooth.
Transfer to the prepared pan. If you use the 10x15-inch jelly roll pan, it will be quite full. This is okay!
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake feels firm when lightly touched on the top.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes then spread the top with the peppermint buttercream and garnish with crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips.
Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl (I wash out the cake bowl and use the same one). Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and cook on high power for 30-90 seconds or until the butter is melted.
Add the half and half, vanilla and peppermint extracts and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and whisk until smooth and creamy. The consistency should be thick, but nicely spreadable. If the buttercream seems too thick add a bit more half and half, a teaspoon at a time, stirring well after each addition until the desired consistency is reached. If the icing seems too thin add more powdered sugar, a heaping tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Proceed with step 8 above.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detained instructions and tips to ensure success.