Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cake (Low Carb and Gluten-Free)


I always have grand plans when it comes to the holidays. Starting in October, my little mind starts whirring about all the things I plan to make and cook and decorate. But the closer and closer the holidays get, the more I realize that my grand plans are too grand by far, and I have to scale them back. I would make myself utterly miserable if I attempted them all, and this year that fact hit me with full force. The weeks leading up to Christmas were incredibly hectic and I scrapped many of my plans in an effort to keep my sanity. I’d like to say I think it worked, but as a mother of three, my sanity is always in question as it is. Still, it felt very good to just let Christmas happen, without trying so hard to direct and control it all. And you know what? It all went beautifully and we had a fantastic time. Lesson learned, my friends.

One of the grander plans I scrapped for Christmas was this cake. I had intentions of serving it for dessert after Christmas dinner. But we had so many goodies thrust upon us by friends and family, and I had decided already that I wanted to treat my father, who was visiting, to one of his all-time favourites, mincemeat tarts with hard sauce. So a whole huge cake on top of all of that just seemed excessive. And deciding not to make it left me with a lot more time to spend with my family. But my husband’s birthday comes fast on the heels of Christmas, and I thought that making the cake for that celebration would be just the right thing.

The whole idea of this cake is based on a recipe from an old December issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It’s one that I once made in its full sugar, full carb version for a friend’s birthday, and I thought I could take a stab at making a low carb version. The filling in the original version is supposed to be chocolate peppermint, but as I was making it, I decided that a white filling would give a better, more interesting contrast. I also decided to add some crushed sugar-free peppermint candies into the filling, instead of just using them as the garnish.

The Results: I have to confess that cake-decorating is not my strong suit; I simply haven’t the patience for it. So although I had visions of my cake all beautifully glazed and perfect, it was a little messier than that. But flavour is the most important part, and this cake lived up to my expectations beautifully. It was a great mix of both chocolate and peppermint, and everyone in the family loved it. Don’t let my lousy glaze-spreading skills deter you from this tasty treat.

In fact, I made the mistake of leaving the cake within reach of my 2 year old. And I made this mistake not once, but TWICE. It was my husband who caught her both times, once before we’d even had a chance to eat any, and once on the day after his birthday. She did some serious damage the second time round, and I just had to take a picture to show you. It’s like a little mouse got at it!

Regardless, it’s a lovely cake and I highly recommend.

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cake

2 cups almond flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/4 cup chocolate whey protein powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz Greek yogurt
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
20 drops stevia extract
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Peppermint Crunch Filling:
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/3 cup powdered erythritol or xylitol
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 to 4 tbsp heavy cream
4 sugar-free peppermint candies, crushed

Chocolate Glaze:
7 tbsp butter
3.5 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsp powdered erythritol
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
20 drops stevia extract

4 sugar-free peppermint candies, crushed

For the cake, preheat the oven to 325F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, erythritol, protein powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt, breaking up any clumps with the back of a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat yogurt and butter together until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and stevia and beat until just combined. Add half of almond flour mixture and beat until combined, then beat in almond milk. Beat in remaining flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the pan and release the sides. Flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When cake is completely cool, slice horizontally into two halves using a serrated knife.

For the filling, beat butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered erythritol until well combined. Beat in peppermint extract, and then cream one tablespoon at a time, until a spreadable consistency is achieved. Mix in crushed peppermint candies and spread filling over the cut-side of the bottom half of the cake. Top with the other side of the cake, cut-side down.

For the glaze, melt butter, chocolate, erythritol and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in peppermint and stevia extracts. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened but still pourable.

Pour half the glaze over the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread glaze over top and carefully down sides of cake, spreading along the sides as you go. Pour the rest of the glaze over the top and sides, spreading as you go. (Alternatively, you can simply let the glaze drip down the sides).

Sprinkle top of cake with remaining crushed peppermint candies. Let glaze set, about 1 hour.

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 12.2 g of carbs and 5.3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6.9 g.

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  1. says

    This cake looks worth waiting for! Sometimes we forget that the holidays really should be about spending time with family and not spending all of our time working in the kitchen. Glad you were able to keep that in mind this year!

  2. says

    I had grand plans too. I always do. The time just slips by and I'm lucky to do just a few of the ideas over the whole month;)Happy Birthday to your hubs. This cake is gorgeous. I know those little hands are quick when you turn around. Most my cakes end up looking just like your last photo in two minutes. Happy New Year sweet friend.xxoo

  3. Kiri W. says

    I don't like peppermint much, but this cake looks stunning! Love the color contrast between the rich, dark chocolate (ohmanIwant) and the mint creme! Looks lovely!

  4. says

    Ha! a little mouse or a smart tiger :) My 2 year old is the same, he can reach the counter tops now and what fun that is….Choc and peppermint is a great combo and I used it also for the season. Good to see you back and have an awesome New Year!

  5. says

    I knew exactly the cake from where you drew inspiration and I've always wanted to make it! Turns out my plans are too grand too. This sounds like a much friendlier version 😉

  6. says

    I love this cake..I think it looks beautiful, even more so after your 2 year old got to it. That's what really makes it beautiful – real life, not perfect glaze. Looks delicious, I want that slice!

  7. says

    Sometimes we do get a little carried away in the Christmas planning/preparation. Good for you for taking a step back and letting it just happen!
    Love the idea of crunchy peppermint candy bits in the frosting! Yum!

  8. says

    Well, I can see why your sweet girl wanted some extra samples! Fabulous cake, Carolyn…and I agree that the white filling looks perfect!

  9. says

    That looks delicious! :) I am definitely a fan. It looks way too good to be low carb though, which makes it that much better! I love mint anyways, but mint and chocolate is even better! :) I will definitely be trying this cake. Thanks!

  10. Mearced says

    What kind of sugar-free peppermint candies did you use? Most of them make me sick because of sorbitol or isomalt. Were you able to find others with healthier sweeteners?

  11. says

    Oh, I've been away for a while now, and it is so awesome to come back to a post like this! It looks absolutely incredible! Yummy and decadent… Can't wait to browse through all the recipes I've missed, Carolyn! Happy New Year!

  12. says

    Come on, mom! How can you expect Lumpy to keep out of this glorious cake!? I don't know what you're talking about with the decoration…I think it looks fabulous :)

    And thank you so much for the nice comment about my pictures. That's definitely the area I feel most insecure about so the compliment was a major compliment! I may have squealed :)

  13. says

    Thank you so much for sharing! This cake is amazing and I’ve been inspired to feature it in my Friday Food Fetish roundup. If you have any objections, please let me know. Moar, moar, MOAR please :)

  14. says

    I'm the same exact way! I always think I'll try out all these new recipes, and then I get so busy I can barely keep up! Hope you enjoyed your holidays!

  15. Michelle says

    I love this cake and want to make it for my hubby's birthday. Unfortunately I have everything but xanthan gum. Do you think this can be made without xanthan gum?

  16. food_dreamer says

    Honestly I couldn't find any made with erythritol. I tried. But I decided to use the ones made with isomalt (no sorbitol) because I wasn't using all that many of them.

    The cake would be pretty great even without the crushed peppermint candies…


    Blog: All Day I Dream About Food

  17. says

    Oh man I could eat the whole cake. I wouldn't but I …oh who are we kidding, I totally would. Looks great. My daughter would go crazy for all the chocolatey goodness.

  18. Susan says

    I made this cake yesterday and I have to say, it is divine!!! My non LC family members enjoyed it as much as I did and today after being in the frig all night, it is even better cold. Love, love this and thank you.

  19. Catherine H. says

    My now four year-old chose this cake for his birthday celebration. The only thing I changed was adding more candies to the middle frosting layer. It was as delicious as I expected, especially since I remembered to put it in the fridge several hours before serving, so that the glaze came out with the perfect *al dente* texture I loved in the Boston Cream Pie. This has given me an idea for making some of your chocolate donuts dipped in this glaze (minus the peppermint), then set in the fridge. Just like Entenmann’s Frosted Devils Food Donuts–yeah, baby!

    Also, we had a family for dinner whose daughter has celiac disease. I impressed her parents by preparing your turkey chili verde, cheesy skillet bread, and this cake–she loved being able to eat everything everybody else was eating!

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