Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: it’s the dessert your family wants you to bring to the holiday get together this year! Trust me!!

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: no one will know it started from a box mix! So rich, fudgy, and full of peppermint candy!

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Okay. Confession time. When my kids were little I hated having them help in the kitchen. I mean seriously, I love my kids, but baking a batch of cookies would take about ten times as long.

And don’t hate me for this okay.

Cause I don’t know too many people who LIKE bringing their kids to work.

And cooking and baking in the kitchen, it’s my job. It’s a fun job, don’t get me wrong, but the kitchen is my office.

Fast forward a couple years and suddenly I’m all about having assistants. I can be writing a blog post and editing pictures on my laptop while putting my kids to work, baking and cooking.

Teaching them young paid off in the end. They know how to read recipes, crack eggs, and use the stove top. Most of the time.

It’s especially helpful when mom has a migraine and deadlines. I knew I wanted to bake….but I also knew my migraine was keeping me 10 feet from all food due to nausea.

Fortunately my youngest LOVES to help out!

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: no one will know it started from a box mix! So easy, even a TEN year old can make it!


And guess what? This cake is so easy, even a ten year old can make it (you may have seen this photo on instagram…do you follow me yet??).

How to make a Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

I started with a box mix, and then grabbed some of my favorite ingredients from my pantry and refrigerator. And by “I grabbed” I totally mean my daughter did. Because I sat in a chair on the island, supervising.

To the chocolate cake mix, you’ll want to add a box of JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding mix (wow does this add some moisture to the cake!!), as well as your eggs, oil, water, milk and some sour cream. No one is going to believe this cake started from a mix.

I also put my daughter to work pounding out 18 small candy canes. This is where our first “happy error” came about. The original recipe called for about 1 cup crushed candy canes, divided. Whoops…that ALL went into our batter! And our cake never tasted so good. Seriously. It was minty and delicious, and I’m writing the recipe just as she made it.

That’s why we call it a Happy Error!

She also chopped up some semi-sweet chocolate and added that to the cake batter. What a wonderful surprise to the cake. It’s like chocolate chips, but bigger chunks. The sweet peppermint, the moist and rich chocolate cake, and the surprise crunches of chocolate…this is seriously one splendid dessert.

Bake the cake 35-40 minutes and allow to cool in pans 5 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans and invert onto wire racks. Cool COMPLETELY before frosting. We chilled our cake layers in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Once we chilled our layers of cake, my daughter made a quick chocolate ganache by using another bar of Semi-Sweet Chocolate and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. This was spread over the bottom layer of cake. We also doubled the amount of COOL WHIP in this recipe. First, who doesn’t love extra COOL WHIP? Second, we wanted a nice thick layer in the center of the cake, without being skimpy on the sides.

She also then crushed up a few extra candy canes for garnish.

The best part of this Chocolate Peppermint Cake recipe? You can make it ahead of time! We made ours the day before serving and stored it in the refrigerator. Such a cool, refreshing treat after dinner. This one is sure to please this holiday season.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: no one will know it started from a box mix! So rich, fudgy, and full of peppermint candy!

What you will need to make a Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix

JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding mix

4 Large Eggs

Sour Cream

Oil (vegetable or canola)



2- 4 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bars

18 small candy canes coarsely crushed (plus extra for garnish)- or substitute peppermint candies

Heavy Whipping Cream

Cool Whip

2- 9″ cake pans

Baking Spray (or cooking spray)

Parchment Paper

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: no one will know it started from a box mix! So rich, fudgy, and full of peppermint candy!

If you love holiday cakes, these are a few of my favorites

Take your love of chocolate peppermint cakes to a new level. This Christmas favorite is a Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake and is layered with rich chocolate cake, peppermint cheesecake, and peppermint frosting!

I’m obsessed with making these cheesecake cakes. And it was only necessary to make an eggnog version. With a homemade spice cake. And eggnog buttercream frosting. This Eggnog Cheesecake Cake is a true Christmas treat!

Have a little fun this Christmas and make an entrance at your next holiday party with this easy Ugly Sweater Cake!

The most delicious, from scratch, white cake recipe is used to create this perfect Coconut Cake!

Old fashioned, best ever, 7 Up Pound Cake recipe! You’ll love this classic cake with it’s perfect texture!

Don’t forget the fudge! This Candy Cane Fudge recipe is packed with peppermint and creamy vanilla fudge flavor.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: no one will know it started from a box mix! So rich, fudgy, and full of peppermint candy!

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Yield: 12-16 servings

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake: it's the dessert your family wants you to bring to the holiday get together this year! Trust me!!


For the Cake:

  • 1 package (2 layer cake size) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (3.9oz) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 container (8oz) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 package (4oz) semi-sweet chocolate bar, chopped
  • 18 small candy canes, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

For the topping:

  • 1 package (4oz) semi-sweet chocolate bar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tub (8oz each) COOL WHIP, thawed
  • 4 small candy canes, coarsely chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix with JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, water and milk. Blend completely for about 2-3 minutes. Fold in crushed candy canes and chopped chocolate.
  3. Spray two 9inch cake pans with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Divide batter evenly into the pans.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes and allow to cool about 5 minutes in the pan. Loosen cake from the sides and invert onto wire racks. Cool cakes COMPLETELY before frosting. We chilled our cake layers in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  5. For the ganache, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream in a small glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and heat an additional 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Place bottom layer of cake on cake plate. Top with melted ganache. Allow to cool slightly before adding COOL WHIP. Spread 3/4 of one container on top of ganache. Top with second layer of cake. Using the remaining COOL WHIP (from the first container and the second), spread evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes for garnish.
  7. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. ENJOY


  • Lining the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper is optional. But with the full cup of candy canes crushed into the batter, some parts may be sticky. This helps it remove from the pan easily!
  • recipe adapted from [Kraft recipes]

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Did you make this recipe?

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Today’s recipe was originally posted on November 23, 2014 and has been republished in November 2018


About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 24, 2018

Comments & Reviews

  1. I am so excited to try this cake. Love peppermint and chocolate. However, not a fan of Cool Whip. Do you have any suggestions for different topping? Maybe chocolate or vanilla buttercream? Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe.

    1. I personally would go with a homemade whipped cream instead of buttercream for this cake. The cake itself is very dense, moist, and fudgy, so something light would be much better! If you still opt for buttercream, go with vanilla 🙂

  2. Oh wow! That cake is beyond amazing. The chocolate lover in me is itching to make it. I definitely will. Thanks for your recipe and wait a new your post!!

  3. What a sweet story, Amy! I love knowing that you taught your children kitchen skills early. Your cake looks minty divine! But, I am so sorry to hear about your migraine headache. I finally figured out why I used to get them. (Actually, mine were diagnosed as “cluster headaches” which can be worse than migraines, believe it or not.) Perhaps what I have learned can help you. I’ll send you an email, my friend. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas (belated) and Happy New Year! 🙂

  4. I made this cake for Christmas. It was so easy, so pretty and delicious! Everyone loved it. Someone said it was the best thing they had ever eaten! Thank you for sharing your lovely recipe!

  5. I made this cake for a dinner party that I attended (Turkey was the main course) and it was a big hit! I have never made ganache before, I was a little alarmed that I was essentially putting hot liquid onto the bottom layer when assembling.

    All turned out of course, and that step made the cake even more wonderful.

    I did have to refrigerate it for 10 hours as I made it on the morning of a very busy day. I found that there were little pools of liquid around the crushed candy canes on the outside of the cake. It did not detract from the presentation, really, but I wonder if that would happen if I had finished it only a couple of hours before serving…

    1. Refrigerating food made with candy canes does seem to create a little bit of a stickier mess. Did you sprinkle the candy canes on the Cool Whip and then refrigerate? I would wait (next time :)) to sprinkle candy canes immediately before serving! Hope that helps (glad you still enjoyed the cake)!

  6. I made this tonight! I am taking it to my ugly sweater party tomorrow…. It sure isn’t as pretty as your 10 yr olds!! 🙂 Hopefully it’ll taste alright. I think I needed to pound the candy canes more, but, at least it’ll be a lesson learned!!! Thanks so much for this!

  7. Hi there,
    Do you think that this cake would work using something besides the Cool Whip? I’m not sure that real whipping cream would hold up very long, even with the addition of a bit of instant vanilla pudding. (Great trick, by the way!) I also thought about using vanilla buttercream, but I’m concerned that it might be over the top sweet. Any ideas? Just not a fan of Cool Whip.

    1. Vanilla buttercream would be good, but yes, very sweet. You can also buy Dream Whip (in the Jell-O aisle) and make that as your topping.

  8. I love that your daughter made this cake!! My daughter is also ten and loves helping in the kitchen as do all my kids!! It is precious!! This is totally my kind of cake. It looks incredible!! Have a very happy Thanksgiving Aimee!! 🙂

  9. May I borrow your daughter for a day?? I could totally use a baking assistant! My guy offered to help one time, but… Well, let’s just say I redid that entire recipe. 😉 And hooray for happy mistakes!! Pinned!

  10. I was the same way when my kids were little…it was just so much easier to do it myself. But I am glad that I had them help me then because they still love helping now. You cute little helper did an amazing job on that cake! It is gorgeous and I love all the happy errors and additions. Perfect holiday cake!

  11. So sweet that you have a little cook to help you out when you’re under the weather! Hope the migraine goes away quickly, Aimee! This cake is totally gorgeous and I can’t believe it’s so simple to make!

  12. You have yourself a fabulous assistant Aimee! She could take over the business one day. She did a remarkable job! I was the same way with my kids when they were little, it was always more trouble having them help. Now, My daughter makes dinner. It did pay off.

  13. I love love love chocolate and peppermint, I wish it was a thing all year long and not just at the holidays! This cake looks so delicious!

  14. I wrote a post a while back where I talked about my kids in the kitchen. How I need to let go and let them help because those will be lasting memories for them that they can eventually pass to their kids! I am SO loving this cake that your daughter made!

    1. It’s so hard, because it’s our work too. I was so much more relaxed about letting them help before I became a blogger.

  15. Wow this cake sounds amazing! I absolutely love chocolate and peppermint together.
    I can’t wait for my daughter to be able to help more in the kitchen. She’s two and she LOVES helping but baking with a two year old can be stressful sometimes. Right now her duties include dumping in ingredients, unwrapping the butter and transfering veggies/fruit to whatever pan they need to be on 🙂

  16. I had a migraine yesterday, Aimee, and was so nauseous too! Man, I feel your pain. You can’t eat or move, much less bake.
    Well, my kids are too young to do anything but mess up the house, but I someday hope that at least one of them will be as handy as your daughter! She did you proud. Great cake!

  17. Sorry about your migraine! Your daughter is an awesome little helper to have 🙂

    And this cake, wow! Every season you seem to make one of these types of cake. Your pumpkin one, your eggnog one from last winter, and I love them all! They are just so signature you! That filling. I want to live in that 🙂 Pinned!

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