Directions for Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep 3 6" cake rounds with a wipe of shortening and dust of flour. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Sift in the cocoa, cake mix, (flour if high altitude) and toss in chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. Split cake batter evenly between prepared cake rounds.
3. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until center is fully baked. Do not over-bake. Remove rounds from the oven, let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip upside down onto wire rack to cool to room temperature. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill/freeze until you are ready to frost.
Directions for Buttercream
1. In a medium glass bowl, microwave white chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream for 30 seconds, then stir until there are no lumps. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip up the butter on high until light and fluffy. Add in white chocolate ganache mixture, salt, vanilla, peppermint extract, and heavy cream. Slowly add in the powdered sugar with the mixer on low speed about ½ cup at a time. Add in more heavy cream or more powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Split the buttercream batch in half and color half the buttercream in a separate bowl with the red coloring gel.
3. Fill two piping bags with buttercream - one with the red buttercream and one with the white.
Directions for White Chocolate Ganache
In a medium glass dish, heat candy melts and heavy cream in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir until there are no longer any lumps. Add ganache to a squeeze bottle for applying drip to cake.
Using a cake turntable, tape on a 8" cardboard cake round. Then tape on a 6" cardboard cake round to the 8" cardboard cake round (this will make it easier to transfer the 6" cake to a cake stand without damaging the cake).
Add a small bit of buttercream to the 6" cake round to act as glue for the cake round to the cardboard cake round. Next, place one bottom cake round. To make the "striped candy" effect on the inside of the cake. Pipe a circle the size of a silver dollar in the center of the cake round with red buttercream. Then trace that circle with the white buttercream, followed by the red, then the white, until you reach the edge of the cake round (should look like a target).
Place the second cake round on top, then repeat the candy cane pattern inside, followed by the top (3rd) cake round. Crumb coat the entire cake with white buttercream. Freeze or refrigerate until frosting has set.
To add the candy cane strip effect to the side of the cake, starting at the bottom, add on a stripe of red buttercream (buttercream is in two separate bags - one red, one white), followed by a white, until you reach the top of the cake. Using a cake scraper, slightly press the cake scraper on the side of the cake, smearing the stripes together in a straight fashion on the side of the cake. Fill in any gaps with the red or white buttercream, then smear again, making sure to clean off cake scraper between scrapes. Chill the cake for at least 10 minutes before adding ganache.
Add ganache to cake, varying the depths of drips. Chill the cake for about 5 minutes to set.
Top the cake with candy canes, lollipops, peppermints, sprinkles, fondant pieces, when the ganache has set and is sturdy enough to hold everything up.
MANDY’S NOTES ON HER FONDANT DECORATIONS
The "North Pole" sign is made from a fondant rectangle that I dried out, then wrote on (with an edible marker) "The North Pole", and then added to a candy cane stick with buttercream. Easy peasy.
The next fondant topper is the Christmas tree. I made a cone out of green fondant, then took scissors and snipped around the top to bottom in a circle pattern to create the texture. It was actually super easy! The star on top is made from fondant and a toothpick.
The last fondant topper is Rudolph! I made him from chocolate fondant, and white fondant tinted red and black for the hooves, antlers, and signature red nose.