First on the First: Candy Cane Red Velvet Jars

 “At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures – be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.” – Albert Camus

While I can’t say I know myself like the palm of my hand and haven’t calculated the exact number of my defects and qualities (despite being older than 30), I can fortell my failures and accept them — at least in the kitchen! Candy canes, December’s First on the First challenge, was a foretold failure, since I hate to make candy and am rarely successful at it.

I do, however, love to bake so I created these Candy Cane Red Velvet Jars. They share the festive red and white motif and peppermint flavor of candy canes without the need for a candy thermometer or pulling.

(If in examining the palm of your hand, candy-making isn’t one of your defects, check out the links below to First on the First posts by blogger friends who took on the challenge!)


Click Here to Print This Recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Optional: Crushed candy canes, whole candy canes, peppermint bark


For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • On low, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  • Divide cake batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans.
  • One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.


For the Frosting:

  • In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add extracts, beating until blended. Add whole milk; beat on medium-high for 3-5 minutes.


Putting It Together:

  • Place one layer of cake into jar, pipe frosting to cover cake, sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of frosting. Repeat until jar is full.
  • Top with candy cane and peppermint bark, if desired.


This recipe was adapted from Sara Moulton’s Southern Red Velvet Cake and Southern Living’s Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

More Candy Cane Treats from First on the First Bloggers!


14 responses

  1. I love how you branched out on this one and really played with the theme! These cakes look great–so festive! It is important to know yourself and be true to that. Awesome way to work with the challenge within your own limits!

  2. Delicious and definitely satisfying for any sweet tooth. :-) Bet this would be great with fresh whipped cream as well. Glad I was lucky enough to try it!

  3. Candy cane peppermint flavor isn’t my favorite; however, your creation was eye-appealing and was really tasty. How about this variation: ice cream, instead of the frosting, make it like a sundae. Oh, the possibilities!

  4. I still don’t know myself at 50 no less 30!!!! Red velvet is my new fave and this looks delish! I think with the holidays here, you need to share this creation with your family!

  5. Glad to read there is someone else who dislikes making candy Judging by the ingredients in your jars, the candy won’t be missed. The Candy Cane Red Velvet Jars are so colorful and appealing.

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