Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Prep 30 mins
Cook 25 mins
Add'l 45 mins
Total 1 hr 40 mins

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is an extra moist, rich, three layer chocolate cake with creamy peanut butter frosting and a sweet chocolate glaze on top! Prepare to fall in love!

Looking for more chocolate and peanut butter desserts? Here are my most popular recipes: Chocolate Peanut Butter Sheet Cake, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

Chocolate peanut butter cake on a pedestal.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate and Peanut Butter — a combination after my own heart. If you are craving an extra rich chocolate cake with a thick peanut butter frosting and a layer of chocolate ganache, this cake is for you. This is one of the moistest cakes I have ever made. Every layer is sheer perfection.

I have made this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake for countless birthdays – I will always contend that it is THE perfect birthday cake. It is one of Jorge’s favorites so it makes it perfect for Father’s Day as well. Heck,  you don’t even need a special occasion. This cake will disappear on a random Tuesday just as fast. I promise. 

Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Do I need any special ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake?

I know the list of ingredients might appear daunting, but I promise the hardest part is waiting for the cake to cool! This chocolate cake contains fairly standard cake ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry:

  • Flour
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate

I recommend a good quality dark chocolate and cocoa powder, you’ll be surprised the difference it will make in your final product. Creamy peanut butter will be essential to the peanut butter frosting.

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It is always important to test the freshness of your baking powder and baking soda – this helps yield a proper rise on your cake layers. To do this for baking powder – drop a healthy pinch of powder into about ½ cup of hot water. For baking soda – drop a healthy pinch into about a ½ cup of hot water with ¼ teaspoon vinegar. If they fizz – they are still good to use!

How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

First we make the chocolate layers for the cake. This batter is pretty straight forward, don’t be nervous when it’s a little thinner of a batter than some cakes are. It will bake up perfect and moist!

Once the cake layers are cool, beat together the peanut butter frosting until it’s light and fluffy. Frost that cake in thick layers of this peanut butter frosting and then pop it into the fridge while you make the chocolate ganache to go on top. 

Chocolate Ganache

For the “cherry” on top of this delectable cake… let’s talk about the chocolate ganache! It really takes this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake to the next level. It honestly makes it taste just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but in cake form! 

This Chocolate Ganache is easy to make, you don’t need any fancy skills! And the key to the perfect texture for using on top of desserts or ice cream is corn syrup. I know, corn syrup. However, you absolutely cannot skip the corn syrup in the ganache if you want that glistening perfect texture to drizzle on the cake. It’s just two teaspoons worth! 

Slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake on a plate.

Tips for making the best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:

  • Use a good quality dark chocolate and cocoa powder. 
  • Do not rush the melting of the chocolate or sugar. Doing so may burn the ingredients and making it unusable and you will have to start over again. 
  • Ensure your cake batter is spread evenly between all three cake pans so they bake evenly. 
  • Allow proper cooling time before assembling or frosting cake, otherwise you are going to have a messy melted cake on your cake plate. 
  • Give the ganache enough time, about 5 minutes, to firm up so it properly drizzles and adheres to the chocolate peanut butter cake. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake on a cake plate with chocolate drizzled on top.

Can I make this cake ahead? How do I store it?

Yes. It’s best within the first 2-3 days after baking it…but, good luck keeping it around that long! It’s always gone so fast in my house, we just can’t stop taking a bite here and there. 

If it’s going to be longer than a few hours before you serve it, I recommend storing this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake in the fridge just to be on the safe side. Before serving it, allow the cake to come to room temperature for best flavor and texture. 

Up close image of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

I have made this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake every year for Jorge’s birthday for the past 7 years. It has become his officially birthday cake! Sometimes I swap the peanut butter frosting recipe for my favorite chocolate buttercream frosting to create an epic chocolate on chocolate cake!

I can’t wait for you all to try it out — I know it’s going to be your new favorite too! Please leave a review/comment below letting me know how it turns out for you! 

Yield: serves 12

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dream Cake -- it tastes like a giant Reese's cup in cake form! Start with a crazy moist, rich chocolate three layer cake with creamy peanut butter frosting and top it with a sweet dark chocolate glaze! #Chocolate #Cake #PeanutButter

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is an extra moist, rich, three layer chocolate cake with creamy peanut butter frosting and a sweet chocolate glaze on top!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • about 2 tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate Sauce

Instructions

  1. Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until melted.
  4. Whisk in vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Quickly beat in eggs (do this quickly so they don’t cook) into the chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch – then frost.
  7. Peanut Butter Frosting: Cream butter and peanut butter in a stand mixer. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, one half cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  8. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk, one teaspoon at a time, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  9. Assemble the three cake layers with a thick layer of frosting in between the layers. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop cake in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
  10. Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake and top with chocolate sauce if desired!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12 Servings

Serving Size:

1 Serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 745Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 682mgCarbohydrates: 90gFiber: 3gSugar: 66gProtein: 9g

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Comments

128 Responses
  1. Randi

    Is it supposed to be so incredibly liquidy before baking? Mine looked like soup and I double checked all the ingredients. It’s also taking way more than 20min to bake.

    Also, as I put the egg in the sugar mixture, it definitely cooked the whites some even though I wisked like mad! Is that okay or will it ruin it?

      1. Jessica

        Hi Teal, cake flour has a lower amount of protein. It should work, but I can not guarantee it. I have only tested this recipe fully with all purpose flour.

  2. Bet

    I love baking and have been doing it for a long time. I tried this recipe over the weekend and didn’t have success with it. I greased my cake pans and baked the cake. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dislodge the cake layers from the baking pans. When I finally did, the cake layers came out in pieces. I was very disappointed and have resorted to another chocolate cake recipe that works.

  3. MJ Perry

    I had no problems with this cake. It came out gorgeous & impressed the men in my life (my nephews birthday). One stated “top 5 best things I’ve ever made, 10/10”. Even if your not wanting peanut butter ( i used 1 cup of sugar) frosting the cake is a keeper. For those that the cake crumbled, be sure to let it cool long enough as well. I almost did the same thing to one but not too bad and saved my other 2 that pulled out perfectly. I have to make the birthday boy another cake because it was a fourth of July birthday and he only got a bite everyone else got a piece but him because he was so busy handling fireworks safely and we forgot to pull a piece for him (that’s how good it was). lesson learned, lol

    1. Gretchen

      Thanks for the recipe. This impressed my guests for my husband’s birthday. My BFF worked at a cupcake shop for years so I invited her over the morning after I baked it to help with decoration. She had me make a corn syrup free ganache with 1/2 c heaving whipping cream and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips in the double boiler. She did a crumb layer of frosting and then a second layer after refrigerating for half an hour. It gave us some good talk time. Everyone loved it, even our one year olds begged for seconds.

    2. Laura

      I have made this cake multiple times with absolutely no problems! I use two, 9 inch rounds. I line the bottom w/parchment paper! Ran a thin blade knife between cake and pan after cooling, no issues with cake releasing. I have made MANY different chocolate cake recipes searching for a soft, moist texture! I look no further! This is probably the moistest cake in my recipe box! I top with peanut butter cups, and layers of peanut butter mousse and dark chocolate mousse!

  4. Lindsey G

    Made this for my husband’s birthday. What a delightful cake! I made him a
    4” mini cake with 2 layers by cutting the recipe in half. Turned out great. Followed all instructions and made the chocolate sauce. Absolutely decadent! Thanks! (Wish I could upload a pic of my results.)

      1. Samantha Blum

        My cake fell apart every time I tried to ice it too. Other than that delicious! Any tips on how to make the cake without it crumbling everywhere?

        1. Jessica

          Hi Samantha! Usually with a cake like this, the reason it may crumble on you is due to the cake being over-baked. Was it dry? If it turned out dry and crumbly, I’d recommend watching closely and pulling it out of the oven a little sooner! Hope this helps!

  5. Jenessa Gronemeyer

    This worked out ok for me, but the chocolate sauce was a complete fail. I made it twice following the exact instructions and it was a weird putty-like texture and was very greasy. I had to keep it on the heat to keep it at a spreadable texture. I should have left it off the cake. When I put it on it immediately hardened and is now sliding off the side of the cake because of the greasy texture. Ruined an otherwise nice cake…

  6. Miranda Wynne

    Hi! I’ve seen this question a lot but no answer. Is the dark chocolate just any old chocolate bar we like or is it bakers chocolate?

  7. Aleksandra Kowalska

    Hi. I dont think anyone asked you yet…could you please tell me if I have to cook the base in 3 separate pans? I have just one at home and I would have to wait to cool them down to start another portion. Can I cook it all in one and cut it through?

    1. Jessica

      Hi! Yes, this recipe needs to be baked in three separate pans to make it a 3 layer cake. You can bake it in a large casserole pan like a sheet cake if you would prefer!

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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