2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup hot water
For the cream cheese frosting:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. hot water
Crushed peppermint candies and/or chocolate shavings for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and both extracts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until combined. Turn off the mixer and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape it well. Place the bowl back on the mixer and beat until there are no additional lumps. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the hot water in two increments, scraping between additions. Pour the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. After 30 minutes, check the doneness by gently pressing your fingertip on the top of the cake. If it feels slightly firm, insert a toothpick to check if the center is baked. If it still feels loose, wait another 10 minutes and check again. Be careful not to insert the toothpick too early because it will cause a hard spot in the final texture of the cake. When the cake is finished baking, immediately flip it over onto a serving plate or cake board and let it cool with the pan on top. The steam it creates will help loosen the pan and ensure a beautiful finish.
Covered, the cake can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting:
While the cake is in the oven, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape it thoroughly, and put it back on the mixer. Add one cup of the powdered sugar, beat on low speed until incorporated, and scrape the bowl. Repeat this process for the remaining two cups. Add the vanilla and water and beat just until combined. Set aside at room temperature until the cake is cool.
Covered, the frosting can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Halfway fill a plastic piping bag or a plastic storage bag with a one-inch opening cut at the tip with the frosting. Moving in a zigzag pattern over the top of the cake, gently squeeze the frosting until the top is covered. Pick the plate or cake board up a few inches and gently tap it on the counter to help the frosting smooth out and run down the sides of the cake. Top with crushed peppermint candies, chocolate shavings, or both. Serve at room temperature.
Covered, the frosted cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before serving.