It would have been so much nicer if I could have posted this recipe prior to Christmas, but I served it on Christmas Eve -- topped with birthday candles so we could sing "Happy Birthday" to Baby Jesus. And I didn't want to post it until I made sure my adjustments to the original recipe from Kraft Foods were good. And boy were they! Everyone loved this cake!
One thing I want to point out about the ingredients is the use of a pudding mix. There are MSPI-friendly pudding mixes, in particular many of the JELL-O brand mixes. Just double check the ingredients on the box, because I've seen the mixes both dairy-free and with dairy.
(By the way, this is a great short cut when you're craving dessert: Use an MSPI-friendly pudding mix and make it with rice milk. Since the rice milk is so thin, use about a quarter-cup less than the instructions call for on the box.)
You can also make this in a 9x13-inch pan. Just adjust your baking time.
Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake
1 pkg. (2-layer size) MSPI-friendly chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) MSPI-friendly chocolate instant pudding
1 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips, lightly chopped
18 small candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 1 cup), divided
1 container MSPI-friendly vanilla frosting (use more frosting, if you like it thick)
Peppermint flavoring, optional
Food coloring, optional
Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Beat first 6 ingredients in large bowl with mixer on low speed just until moistened, stopping frequently to scrape side of bowl. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate and 2 tablespoons crushed candy. Spoon into prepared pans.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with spatula or knife. Invert cakes onto wire racks; carefully remove pans. Cool completely.
If desired, mix together frosting with a few drops of peppermint flavoring and food coloring -- I made ours green for Christmas, at my daughter's request.
Fill and frost cake with frosting. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy just before serving.