Last week was Uncle Chris’s birthday, and on Sunday he hosted some family at his house for a little holiday/birthday get together.  I love this little tradition we have.  Sometimes the Christmas Eve > Christmas > post-Christmas rush is so hurried and tiring that I don’t get to fully enjoy it.  This is a nice way to relax without having to lug a ton of gifts.

Holiday Party

Typically the day involves food, wine, more food, games, more food, laughing, and more food.  I also love this tradition because my uncle goes all out with the holiday decorations, and I wish I could decorate like he does!  Everything is always perfectly festive.

Keep Calm and Merry On

The day’s menu included bruschetta, cheese & crackers, Greek avgolemono soup, cod, rice with spinach and feta cheese, cranberry sauce, and squash.

Holiday Party Food

This year’s game of choice was The Game of Things.  The premise of the game is that there are ridiculous questions or fill in the blanks presented to everyone.  Everyone writes down an answer and then one designated “reader” reads them aloud.  Everyone then has to go around guessing who said what.  There’s a scoring system involved, but if you are that interested then you can just go buy the game and figure it out.  Everyone’s answers were so funny and primarily involved some kind of toilet humor every single time.  We’re mature like that, especially my dad.

This year I offered to make a birthday cake.  A few years ago I also offered to bake the cake, but I had a “I’m-not-patient-enough-to-wait-for-the-cake-to-completely-cool-before-frosting-it” moment and pretty much had a nervous breakdown when my cake cracked in half and the frosting dripped everywhere.  And THEN it fell over in the car on the way there.  My family still makes fun of me for it to this day.

uncle chris cake

NOT my best work.

However, I knew that if I was bringing a cake again this year that I would need to go all out.  After all, I needed to redeem myself!  I spent a few days deciding on what a perfect birthday AND holiday cake would entail, and I finally decided that what better choice was there than red velvet for a festive dessert?  Then Pinterest got the best of me and convinced me to also make a peppermint frosting.  A little risky for my “redeem myself” cake, but I felt up to the challenge.

red velvet cake with peppermint frosting2

Note:  I did NOT try to “healthify” since I was already taking a bit of a risk with this recipe in the first place.  Maybe next time.

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Recipe inspired by Taste of Home


For the cake…

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (actually I lied, this was substituted for sour cream.  I don’t even consider that “healthifying.”  Sorry, but there’s REALLY no excuse not to make that substitution a habit).
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2.5 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the frosting…

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 or 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (depends on how sweet / thick you like your frosting)
  • Peppermint sprinkles or crushed candies
  • Peppermint candies, whole


For the cake…

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Beat in plain Greek yogurt, food coloring, and vinegar.
  4. Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  6. Transfer to two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting…

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter until combined.
  2. Beat in peppermint extract.
  3. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth.
  4. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.
  5. Press crushed candies (or sprinkles) on top and side of cake.
  6. Arrange whole candies around bottom of cake.

I must say, I’m super proud of how this one came out.  I even went the extra step and busted out a new tip on my frosting gun to make a cool little design with the frosting for the top of the cake.

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting

We all sang happy birthday to Uncle Chris and then dug in!  I was a bit nervous for everyone to take their first bite, but I think they enjoyed.

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Definitely a festive and creative dessert option for Christmas!

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Frosting

Don’t worry, we did single leg burpees AND regular burpees in class on Tuesday so I could make sure I burned off every last calorie.

Totally worth it.

What’s your favorite festive holiday dessert to bake?

Hope you had a great birthday, Uncle Chris!  Thanks for hosting us.