I’ve had both of the techniques that I use in this candy cane buttercream stripe cake bouncing around in my head for a while now. Well, I’ve had a lot of new projects and techniques bouncing around in my head, with little time to do anything about it. Between kids (one that doesn’t sleep), and my other writing, and holidays, and a husband that flies, time for extras has been short.
I managed to eke out a little time to experiment with this cake, and boy am I glad that I did! Both techniques worked beautifully. I might be a little more patient next time and actually let things chill until they’re firm, like I recommend you do. But, hey, now you know both will still work if you’ve got ants in your pants like me.
How to Make a Candy Cane Buttercream Stripe Cake
- Buttercream iced cake, chilled (I used American Buttercream and started working before it crusted.)
- Candy Canes
- Large zip-top bag
- Rolling pin or hammer
- Parchment paper
- Round piping tip
- Piping bag
Toss candy canes into a large zip-top bag and smash them into little pieces using the rolling pin.
Cut a piece of parchment paper into strips about 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches wide, and about an inch longer than the height of your cake.
Rub one side of a parchment paper strip with shortening. Press the strip, greased side down, onto the side of a thoroughly chilled cake. Repeat all around the cake, spacing the strips about 1 to 1 1/2-inches apart.
Scoop up a handful of candy cane crumbles and press them onto the exposed buttercream. Keep scooping and pressing until all of the buttercream has been coated in crumbles. Work over a tray to catch any crumbles that fall as you go.
If your buttercream finish has started to soften, pop the cake back into the fridge until it is firm again.
Peel off the parchment strips to reveal your candy cane stripes. You could totally stop here and have a very fun and festive cake. I decided to add a red stripe between my crumble stripes to help add to the candy cane look of the cake.
Use a ruler to draw a straight line on a parchment paper strip. Flip the strip over and use the line as your guide to pipe a stripe of red buttercream. Repeat with enough strips to fill in the gaps between all of your candy crumble stripes. Refrigerate the buttercream stripes until they’re firm.
Press a chilled stripe onto the side of your cake between two candy crumble stripes. Repeat all the way around the cake. Pop the cake back into the fridge if your stripes begin to soften. You’ll want the stripes to be nicely chilled before moving onto the next step.
Trim away the excess parchment paper and buttercream. A sharp pair of scissors will easily slice through the chilled buttercream and parchment paper.
Peel away the parchment paper strips to reveal your stripey candy cane masterpiece!
I finished off the top of my cake with a spray of regular and mini candy canes, along with a dusting of the rest of the crumbles. I just love how the little candy canes look like bow loops on a present!
I’m actually quite excited about the techniques I use in this cake. Now that I know they work, I see so many more uses for both. Instead of crushed candy canes you could use sprinkles, sanding sugar, or crushed cookies. The buttercream masking technique could be done with any shape, not just stripes. And, this is only the beginning of my love affair with using buttercream transfers on the sides of a cake. Prepare to see a whole lot more of that. (Other shapes and designs too!)
This tutorial is all about how to achieve these cake finishes, but if you’re looking for a cake recipe that pair amazingly with peppermint, give my Black Velvet Cake a try. If you can’t find black cocoa powder, it’s not the end of the world. The recipe will work and still pair well with peppermint if you use a nice dutch process cocoa. I used American buttercream on this cake and began working on it before the buttercream crusted over. I definitely think both techniques would work with a Swiss or Italian meringue, but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Let me know if you give that a try! I’d love to see how it turns out.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous holiday season! 🙂