Learn how to make a delicious Vegan Peppermint Christmas Cake, with three peppermint sponges, chocolate ganache with a ultra silky peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream and homemade fondant candy cane decorations.
This cake has been created in collaboration with Flora Plant. All opinions expressed in the post are my own. (For more information, you can check out my Disclosure Policy.)
This dreamy peppermint infused cake is kissed with peppermint and chocolate for a delicious holiday treat. On the outside contains an ultra silky and smooth peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream with a simple yet effective piped Christmas tree decoration, while on the inside hides a hidden layer of rich chocolate ganache and layers of moist and extremely tasty peppermint sponge.
A piped Christmas tree cake is a modern twist to the traditional fruity and rich Christmas cake. The Christmas tree can be piped straight onto the front of a cake, either on a naked cake or fully frosted. This is what I love about this cake, it’s extremely versatile.
With this style of cake, I wanted the tree on the front to be a real show stopper. I create this recipe with three delicious vegan sponges, infused with peppermint flavouring / extract. I made the cakes in three, 6” cake tins. The cake is the perfect size and height to show off the beautiful, piped decoration.
How to create the tree effect?
Firstly you’ll want to make a batch of buttercream. For this entire cake I used Swiss meringue buttercream and it has become my favourite buttercream to frost a cake with. It’s so smooth and is super easy to work with.
In order to make Swiss meringue buttercream, you’ll need a high quality butter. I absolutely love Flora’s Plant B+tter Unsalted Block. It’s a pleasure to bake with and there’s a Salted Block available too.
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I decided to use the Unsalted Block for this recipe as it allow’s the flavours of the sponge and peppermint to shine which I absolutely love!
Flora Plant B+tter Block is a dairy-free alternative to butter. It’s vegan friendly, gluten-free, lactose-free and is made out of 100% natural ingredients. It tastes and acts exactly like ‘normal’ block butter! You’ll love it! I’m so happy I found it!
I love using Flora Plant B+tter Block in my bakes. It’s a staple in my fridge, great for making shortbread, caramel sauce and of course, this peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream.
As it states on the Flora plant website:
”All our products are vegan. What does this mean to us and for you? This means all ingredients are not of animal origin and during all stages of production and distribution we have taken appropriate precautions to avoid the unintended presence of animal substances”.
Why use block butter in Swiss meringue buttercream rather than margarine?
As Swiss meringue uses liquid from the aquafaba, having a stiffer butter is key. Block butter allows you to add the chickpea brine, while still keeping a firm buttercream. I like to use my Flora Plant B+tter Unsalted Block straight from the fridge so it’s cold, which makes the buttercream extra firm.
When it comes to the decoration, the fun is that you don’t need anything special. All you’ll need is some green food gel, sprinkles, a piping bag and nozzle. That’s it!
If you wanted to go all out like me and make some fondant candy canes, follow the steps below to make your beautiful, whimsical cake.
Looking for more Christmas recipes? Look no further:
As this is a peppermint Christmas cake, it’s only right it’s decorated with candy canes, right?!
I tried to find real, vegan friendly candy canes but to my luck, I couldn’t find any. This is where my mum came in. She has a great idea of making them out of ‘roll out fondant’. I’ll give all the credit to mum for this one- haha!
How to make fondant candy canes:
Form a ball of white and red fondant, approximately the same size.
Roll out both colours separately into long, medium size ropes.
Pinch the ends of the ropes together and braid the two ropes, intertwining them.
Using your both hands, gently twist the ends of your braided rope, going in opposite directions (this will give the candy canes that ‘classic red and white swirly effect), then roll the fondant to smooth it out. Keep twisting and rolling the fondant until you achieve your desired thickness. It may take several twists to get more stripes in. Be careful not to over twist, or the fondant rope could tear.
If at any point the fondant feels sticky, dust your hands / worktop with icing sugar.
Cut the rope with a sharp knife to the size you want (I went pretty small), and bend the end into a candy cane shape. Allow to dry out and harden on some grease proof paper at room temperature.
They’re super simple, yet effective. They’re also a fun way to incorporate some colour onto the cake!
I hope you’ll absolutely love this cake! It’s perfect for any Christmas gathering / party!
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line three, 6 inch cake tins with grease-proof paper. If you only have 1 or 2 tins, you’ll have to bake the cakes separately. Cover the batter with a tea towel until ready to use. Give it a gentle stir before pouring into the tins.
In a bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan ‘buttermilk’.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well to combine.
Add the peppermint extract / flavouring and oil and into the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.
Pour equal amounts of batter into the lined cake tins. Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
Pop the cakes into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes.You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in the centre and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.
Place the cakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully.
Once cool, pop them into a sealed container to keep them fresh before frosting.
Place the dairy-free cream into a saucepan. Gently heat until it comes to a light simmer, then turn off the heat.
Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot cream, stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the buttercream.
In a large mixing bowl, add in the Flora Plant B+tter Unsalted Block, whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.
Sift in the icing sugar and add in the peppermint extract / flavouring. Whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.
Pour in the aquafaba (chickpea brine) and whip for 5 minutes until it turns thick and creamy. Don’t over whip it or it can become too soft. If it goes too soft add more icing sugar, or too thick, add chunks of Flora Plant B+tter Unsalted Block to get it to a smooth and creamy consistency. The buttercream should be sufficient enough for the filling and decoration.
Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake stand. Dollop some of the buttercream on top and spread out until even using an off-set spatula or pallet knife.
In between each layer add a tablespoon or two of the chocolate ganache and spread out. Don’t spread it to close the edge of the cake, you don’t want any chocolate showing in your final coat.
Place the second cake layer on top. Press it down gently so it sticks, repeat with the ganache. Do the same with the 3rd cake layer.
Coat the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream using an off set spatula. This creates a crumb coat. Place the cake into the fridge to set. This will take around 10-15 minutes. Chilling the cake makes it easier when adding the final coat of buttercream.
When the cake comes out of the fridge, coat with a final layer of buttercream. Leave enough buttercream for the Christmas tree decoration. Use an off set spatula or the back of a spoon to create a stippled effect in the buttercream all over the cake. Watch the tutorial here.
With the left over buttercream, add in a drop of green food gel and whip to fully combine.
Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle. I use a Wilton 2D tip.
Use a tooth pick to mark each side of the tree in the buttercream so that you have a clear guide to help you pipe a neat shape.
Pipe stars and swirls in the marked ‘tree’ area until its all covered in. Watch me pipe this cake here.
With any left over green buttercream, use it to pipe low swirls around the top edge of the cake.
Decorate the tree with vegan friendly sprinkles, fondant candy canes / real mini candy canes and a star / snowflake at the top of the tree.