This Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake is made with three layers of moist and rich chocolate cake, covered in an equally delicious peanut butter buttercream frosting. An ultimate cake for chocolate and peanut butter lovers!
Peanut butter and chocolate is a classic flavor combo that most people can’t resist. So I’m adding this Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake to my growing collection of PB treats you’ll love! If you’re not feeling cake today, have a Peanut Butter Brownie or a Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie on me.
What you’ll need
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to create this masterpiece of a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. The full ingredient list and quantities are also in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Which type of cocoa powder to use in this cake?
You can use either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder. But since I’m not using coffee in this chocolate cake to enhance the chocolate flavor, I prefer Dutch-processed cocoa for the darker color cake and a richer chocolate flavor.
If you want to use coffee in your chocolate cake batter, you can refer to my Mocha Cake recipe instead for the chocolate cake portion.
Step by Step Instructions
Keep reading for the step by step instructions with process photos to guide you through making this peanut butter chocolate cake.
Make the chocolate cake
This simple chocolate cake batter can be made with just a hand whisk. You can use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, but it’s not necessary, and be sure not to over mix in step 3.
- Add buttermilk, melted butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Beat until combined and smooth.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and add the mixture to the liquid mixture.
- Whisk just until a smooth batter forms.
- Divide the batter evenly among three 8” cake pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
Make the peanut butter frosting
This peanut butter frosting is an American Style Buttercream Frosting. But unlike the sugar loaded frosting you might think of when you hear American buttercream, this one is not too sweet and is full of delicious peanut butter flavor.
- Add all the ingredients to the stand mixer bowl. You could also use a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer.
- Stir to incorporate at first.
- Then increase the mixer speed gradually to high and beat until the frosting is lighter in color and fluffy.
Assemble your peanut butter chocolate cake
The frosting recipe makes about 5 cups, so:
- I used 1 cup of frosting in between each layer of cake as well as on top of the third layer. This will be a total of 3 cups. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly.
- I used 1 cup of frosting for the side. This is enough to lightly cover the cake, the frosting layer will be slightly thicker than a naked cake.
- I used the remaining 1 cup of frosting for the swirls on top. I used a Wilton 1M open star tip for the swirl decorations.
- If you don’t want the swirl decoration, you can use the remaining 1 cup of frosting on the side for a thicker layer of frosting.
- Decorate with peanut butter cups.
- Use a kitchen scale to divide the cake batter if you want to be more precise, about 500 g of batter per pan for a 3-layer cake. This will also help the cake bake evenly.
- You can also make a 2-layer cake from this recipe but I thought the layers were too thick when I tried it so I decided to go with a 3-layer cake for the final recipe.
- If you want to make a smaller version of this peanut butter chocolate cake, use this Mini Chocolate Cake recipe for the cake portion and reduce the peanut butter frosting recipe by half.
- You can also make cupcakes with this recipe, you’ll get about two dozens.
- I use Skippy honey peanut butter for the peanut butter frosting. It is a little sweet already from the honey, so if you’re using a different type of peanut butter, you may want to give it a taste and adjust the sugar to your taste.
- The Skippy peanut butter I used for this recipe is labeled as natural peanut butter, so using another brand of natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter should work. However, since natural peanut butter tends to separate, I recommend sticking with Skippy or just using a common brand of creamy peanut butter to be safe.
This peanut butter chocolate cake should be stored in the refrigerator since the peanut butter frosting contains butter and cream. Be sure to take it out about half an hour before serving to let the buttercream soften up a bit.
Any leftovers should also be kept refrigerated for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze this cake, I would first refrigerate it to let the frosting harden completely, then cut it into individual slices, wrap each slice in plastic and store in a freezer bag.
You can thaw frozen cake at room temperature about 2 hours before serving.
Both the chocolate cake and the peanut butter frosting freeze well, which makes it very convenient to make ahead of time.
If you have a freezer that can handle a large cake, you can assemble and freeze the cake whole. Otherwise, I suggest making the cake layers and the frosting, then freeze them separately. You can thaw and assemble the cake the day you are planning to serve it.
For the frosting, let it thaw at room temperature and re-whip it until light and fluffy before using. Or you can just make the frosting the day of, it is very simple and quick.
More amazing chocolate treats
- Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Chocolate Muffins
- Dark Chocolate Financiers
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
- 2 cup all-purpose flour (260 g)
- 1 cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed preferred, 91 g)
- 2 cup granulated sugar (400 g)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cup buttermilk (room temperature, 470 g)
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (melted and cooled, 113 g)
- ½ cup oil (102 g)
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting (yields 5 cup)
- 12 oz unsalted butter (3 sticks, room temperature, cubed, 340 g)
- 12 oz creamy peanut butter (340 g)
- 6 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (90 g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar (150 g)
Make the chocolate cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush three 8” cake pans with melted butter. Line the bottom of each cake pan with a piece of round parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with butter as well. Set aside.
- Add buttermilk, melted butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until combined.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt to the flour mixture, and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
- Divide batter evenly among the three prepared cake pans, and bake for 25 – 26 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 20 – 30 minutes. When you can comfortably touch the cake pans, use a butter knife to loosen the sides, flip the pan over to remove the cake from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper, and allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting.
Make the buttercream
- Add butter, peanut butter, cream, and vanilla extract to the stand mixer bowl.
- Sift powdered sugar into the bowl.
- Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients, then increase the mixer speed gradually to high and beat until the frosting is lighter in color and fluffy, about 5 – 15 minutes
Assemble the cake
- Line a cake stand or plate with a few strips of parchment paper around the edges and place 1 layer of cake on top.
- Add 1 cup of peanut butter frosting on top of the first layer and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Repeat this step with the second and third cake layer. So there will be 1 cup of frosting in between each cake layer and also on the top.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover the side of the cake or use 1 cup of frosting for the side and reserve 1 cup of frosting for the swirl on top.
- If adding swirl decoration on top, refrigerate the cake and the remaining frosting for about 15 minutes to firm up before piping. Add the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip (1M) and pipe swirls around the edge. Add Reese’s peanut butter cups for additional decoration if you wish.
- Use a warm paring knife to separate the bottom of the cake from the parchment paper, wiping as you go, carefully pull out the parchment paper lining the plate or cake stand from the bottom of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before serving.
- Use a kitchen scale to divide the cake batter if you want to be more precise, about 500 g of batter per pan. This will also help the cake bake evenly.
- Use just two 8” cake pans for a 2-layer cake. Note that the cake layers will be much thicker, you’ll want to increase baking time to 30-35 minutes in this case.
- If you want to make a smaller cake, use this Mini Chocolate Cake recipe.
- You can also make cupcakes with this recipe, you’ll get about two dozens.
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Valentine’s Event
I’m so excited to participate in this Valentine’s event (again). This is the fifth year for our event and we want to continue to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.
Cancer is the #1 cause of death of children by disease in the U.S. There are 40,000 U.S. children actively battling cancer right now. The National Cancer Institute’s budget for childhood cancer is less than 4%. It’s such a small number and that’s why I got involved.
And with the ongoing pandemic, children are still being diagnosed with cancer. It’s imperative that we raise awareness and continue to raise funds to fund the ongoing pediatric cancer research!
Help us make a difference by donating to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!
Our goal is to raise at least $3000. Because these three companies: OXO, Mediavine amd Dixie Crystals have each pledged to match our donations raised through this campaign up to $3000! That means when we raise $1, it turns into $4!
Thank you to so many of you who have already donated, please help us reach our goal so we can get the full matching donations and help us make an even huge difference!
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