A moist three layer red velvet cake covered in smooth peppermint cream cheese frosting and crushed candy canes. A perfect holiday cake!

Red velvet layer cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting recipe from @bakedbyrachel

Christmas is officially less than two weeks away! Are you ready or are you totally freaking out now that I pointed that little fact out? Are the presents wrapped and under the tree yet or will they be put out on Christmas eve after everyone is sound asleep?

Presents will absolutely be wrapped by Christmas Eve here, some or probably most will be wrapped that night. I’d say it’s because I’m a slacker, but really it’s that I’ll take no chances in the kiddos finding things before it’s time! And I know what kids do when they know there are presents around… from personal experience. Such a troublemaker around the holidays! I’ve never been a fan of surprises.

I was always excited for the presents and of course the dessert table, so whenever I get to whip up a holiday dessert, I might get a little giddy planning it out. There’s just something special about Christmas treats. From cookies to bars, candies and of course cake – there are so many amazing possibilities!

Red velvet layer cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting recipe from @bakedbyrachel

I didn’t grow up with red velvet cake or red velvet anything. I only finally experienced it within the last couple years, but I’ve grown to love it’s bright festive color, perfect for a variety of holidays and celebrations. What’s more festive than a red cake with crisp white frosting and crushed candy canes?!

This cake needs to happen now. Drop everything you’re doing and make this moist red velvet layer cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting. Grab a slice while you can because I promise your family and guests will gobble it up!

A festive cake both in color and flavor, thanks to McCormick food color and extracts.

The perfect cake for all of your holiday parties!

Red velvet layer cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting recipe from @bakedbyrachel

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Red Velvet Layer Cake with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 day
Yield: 10 plus
A moist three layer red velvet cake covered in smooth peppermint cream cheese frosting and crushed candy canes. A perfect holiday cake!



  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 C granulated sugar
  • 2/3 C light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp McCormick Red Food Color
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda


  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 C powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • Crushed candy canes


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Lightly grease the top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and both sugars. Mix in eggs, followed by sifted cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, baking powder and red food color. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Alternate additions of sour cream and flour, finishing with flour. Finally, in a small bowl combine vinegar and baking soda. Immediately add to cake batter, mix just until combined.
  • Divide cake batter between prepared pans, roughly 1 1/2 cups of batter per pan or 6-7 large cookie scoops worth. Use a small offset spatula to spread into an even layer.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then carefully remove from pans to cool on a wire rack. When room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap to chill thoroughly.
  • When ready to proceed, prepare frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in butter, followed by 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Cover mixer with a clean towel to prevent sugar escaping. Mix in peppermint extract in last 60 seconds.
  • Level off and remove any dome from chilled cakes with a serrated knife.
  • Add several large cookie scoops worth of frosting to first layer of cake, spread out into an even layer. Top off with second tier and repeat. Finally add third cake, top off with additional frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. *This is just a crumb coat. A thin layer of frosting is sufficient.
  • Chill cake for 1 hour.
  • Cover cake with remaining frosting, smoothing out with a bench scraper. Use a spatula or spoon to create a swirl in the top. Decorate with crushed candy canes.
  • Chill cake until nearly ready to serve. This will help to set the frosting.


Recipe serves roughly 10-20, yields 1: 8-inch round, 3 layer cake.
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most accurate data, use your preferred nutrition calculator with the actual ingredients you used to make this recipe.
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Snap a picture and tag @bakedbyrachel on Instagram!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cake

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by McCormick. I was compensated for my time. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
This post contains affiliate links.