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.