1 lb 2 ounces ounces white chocolate wafers (or chopped white chocolate), melted and slightly cooled
4 ounces (1/2 cup) Tito’s Handmade Vodka
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
crushed candy cane bits
Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
Chocolate Peppermint Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9” cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment rounds and dust sides with cocoa powder.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add milk, oil, vodka, vinegar, and vanilla and fold in just until evenly incorporated. Fold in chopped peppermint kisses.
3. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched in the center.
4. Let cakes cool to room temperature in pans, and then carefully turn each out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Peel off parchment and wrap cake entirely in plastic wrap until ready to frost. For best results, place cake in freezer for 30 minutes before frosting.
Peppermint White Chocolate Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add confectioner’s sugar until fully incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-high again and beat until smooth and fluffy.
With mixer on low, slowly pour in melted white chocolate. Once all has been added, beat in on medium-high until smooth (if any white chocolate hardens on sides of bowl, do not scrape it into the frosting). Add vodka and peppermint extract and continue to beat until light and creamy.
Place one cake layer bottom-up on a cake board or plate. Spread a layer of frosting over cake and top with second cake layer, bottom side up. Apply a smooth layer of frosting over top and sides of cake.
Cup candy cane bits in palm of hand and gently press onto sides of cake to cover completely, allowing to extend over top perimeter of cake slightly. Use a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip (I used Ateco #846) to pipe 6 dollops of frosting around the top perimeter. Top each with a peppermint kiss. Garnish top of cake lightly with extra candy cane bits as desired.
Leftover cake can be covered with plastic wrap or kept in an airtight container and stored at room temperature.
The Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses are not certified gluten-free by Hershey’s. If you need to be certain the cake is gluten-free, I would suggest leaving them out or substituting with white chocolate or mint baking chips. (Peppermint Bark could also make a good substitute for the garnish!)