Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Recipe for chocolate peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting;  This peanut butter chocolate cake is layered with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache.

peanut butter chocolate cakeThe Lizard is turning 16.

He’s incredibly anxious to start driving.  We probably talk about it every day.  I’m trying to see the upside of this situation, but I’m really not sure it’s worth the downside.

One of The Lizard’s finer qualities is that he is NOT a picky eater.  Hallelujah.  There had to be one in the family.  So when I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted, he had a hard time deciding.

Because he likes them all.

He finally settled on Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, which is just fine with me.  My family’s love of chocolate and peanut butter is practically legend.

After days of considering exactly how to make this cake (I wanted the cake to have peanut butter in it, and not just the frosting), I realized I had a new problem…  how to photograph it.

chocolate peanut butter cake

Here’s the thing.  You can’t photograph a cake without slicing it and looking at the inside.  And putting candles on a cake with a slice missing seems really uncool.

I stewed and stewed about this for days.  I asked The Lizard his opinion, and surprise, surprise, he had none.  Robb, on the other hand, had a brilliant idea.

Well, HE thought it was brilliant.

He suggested I slice the cake, take the pictures, then replace the slice and frost over it.  He thinks like such a man, doesn’t he?  I mean, how to you re-frost ganache topping?  And what happens when you’re ready to serve the cake and you need to find where it’s already been sliced?  And doesn’t he know how hard it is to frost over the crumbs that inevitably get all over everything when you slice it?

And, most importantly, how will I taste it?  I can’t very well serve and blog about a cake that is experimental and never been tasted, can I?  What if it tastes like soap?  Not that I think it would.  There is literally no way to combine chocolate and peanut butter that doesn’t taste good.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe

But fate stepped in.

I had enough batter to bake three layers.  Only, the third layer turned out a little… not right.  Who can say why?  When I tried to pick it up and put it on the cake stand, it fell apart and broke into several pieces.

So there I was, standing in the kitchen with two beautiful layers of a three-layer cake, and one absolutely unusable one.

Aaaaand I had just a little more frosting than I needed.  I’m guessing you know what happened next.

peanut butter chocolate cake

So, I can honestly tell you that this cake is absolutely delicious.  Robb was crazy impressed, which doesn’t happen much.  It has an almost brownie-like texture.

And, as if chocolate peanut butter cake and peanut butter frosting weren’t enough, (and also because I might be the worst cake decorator the world has ever known) I covered the top with chocolate ganache and threw some chopped peanut butter cups on top.  I will tell my family that’s because it’s double delicious.  That way they will never know that it’s because I don’t want anyone to laugh at the dessert blogger who can’t frost a cake to save her soul.

Oh, about that missing slice of cake… Do you think anyone will notice?



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4.9 from 17 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Cook time
Total time
A chocolate peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache, topped with chopped peanut butter cups.
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 T. milk
  • about 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • about 4 oz. chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and peanut butter, and mix well.
  2. Add salt and soda, and cocoa, and mix well.
  3. Add milk alternately with flour, mixing just until combined.
  4. Prepare round pans by lining with wax paper or parchment paper, and coating with a non-stick spray.
  5. Separate batter evenly into three layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let layers cool before frosting.
  6. FROSTING: Combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.
  7. GANACHE: Chop chocolate and place chocolate and cream in a double boiler. *(see notes) Stir until melted and smooth.
  8. ASSEMBLE: Place layer on cake stand and frost the top. Place second layer on top and frost. Place third layer on top and frost top and sides.
  9. Pour hot ganache over frosted cake, letting it spread across the top.
  10. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups, if desired.
If you don't have a double boiler, place chocolate and cream in a heat-safe bowl. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.

 If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from Smitten Kitchen
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake from Hungry Couple NYC
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Can Cake from Host the Toast

chocolate peanut butter cake

peanut butter chocolate cake







85 thoughts on “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  1. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    I think this looks ah-may-zing! That creamy peanut butter frosting, those moist, dark layers of cake, rich, creamy ganache and peanut butter cups — I’m drooling all over my keyboard right now. Happy birthday to the Lizard! The boy has good taste. And seriously Jen, my cake decorating skills are crap. That’s why I always have to hide my frosting imperfections with a crumb coat of something, and my wonky, lopsided layers are laughable. Oh well – like Anita said above, as long as something tastes good, who cares how it looks!

  2. Jonette

    Your pictures look so profesh! Yep, I just made that word up. Seriously, it’s almost time to start sharing where you got your cute dishes and serving pieces. Everyone wants to take their yummy treats to church and family gatherings looking like yours.

  3. john@kitchenriffs

    Photographing food you need to serve is a big problem, isn’t it? I’d have just made two cakes – one for photography (and early eating) and another for the birthday dinner. But that doesn’t seem very festive, does it? Anyway, great looking cake! And good luck with your son learning to drive!

  4. Samantha

    Lovely Cake I’m going to try make this for my Nephews Birthday, but I’m having trouble understanding
    What 6 T . Milk – means?? For the frosting.. Sorry Duurh! Lol please help

    1. Jen Post author

      It’s 6 Tablespoons. 4 tablespoons equals 1/4 cup so if you want, you could use a 1/4 cup measure and fill it 1 1/2 times.

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  6. Vanessa

    Can I use the cake on Fondant icing? Can the frosting hold the cake if made as filling ingrdient?

  7. Chermaine

    Thank you Jen for sharing both the recipe and inspiration…made this for my mom’s milestone birthday today. It has all the ingredients she love! Warm Thanks – Chermaine

  8. larisa

    Do you think the batter would keep okay while baking the layers individually? My oven died,and while saving for a new one, I am using a convection toaster oven, it bakes beautifully, but only single pans at a time.

    1. Jen Post author

      I’m sure it would be fine for a little while, as long as it is not too hot or cold in your house. Change in temperature can affect the texture of the batter. And what a bummer, to be without an oven! I think for me, it would be an excuse to eat out!

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  10. Brian Mc

    It’s my wife’s birthday this week. I made this cake for her. I’m 45 and love cooking. But, I have never baked a cake from scratch. This was my first one – we loved it! Thank you for posting this. It was so very fun to make and it tastes awesome.

    1. Jen Post author

      Brian, you made my day! Glad to hear your first scratch cake experience was a good one! Wish your wife a Happy Birthday from me.

  11. emily

    i made this cake for my friends birthday and it was amazing!!!!!! My family and friends, and her family loved it(: Will make it again<3

  12. Michele

    It was my best friend’s birthday last weekend, and since her son has declared his that peanut butter is an abomination, she has chosen not to indulge in one of her favorite tase combinations. However, her son was away this birthday and so I seized the opportunity to make a cake that fits her liking. I found this recipe in a random Google search. She took one bite of this cake and her first words were, “Oh my gosh, you could SELL this cake it’s so good.” I made it exactly according to the recipe (with the exception that I used Dutched cocoa). I intend to make it again, but will likely multiply the frosting by 1.5 because I like a lot of frosting on a cake. But it was by far one of the easiest, with the biggest tase payoff, cakes I have ever made. Thanks so much!!

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  14. Kaelyn Lamas

    Made this twice. All the peanut butter fanatics love it. Only frosting recipe I’ve ever made that turned out right! Great even w/o the ganache and pb cups.

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  16. kel Hall

    just wanna say awesome recipe my kids loved it . I made this for my sons 23 birthday he loved it . so i wanna say a big ty ty . 🙂

  17. April G. Mc

    The recipe for this cake sounds completely delicious, but I have a question for you. Due to the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis & 6 old fractured vertebra, I have a difficult time making anything that has quite a bit of prep time. Do you know how I might make this cake using a devils food cake mix? I’m not sure how much Peanut Butter to use or exactly when. I really want to get this cake made for my husband…he likes chocolate more than peanut butter & I read that peanut butter is god for blood pressure, especially low blood pressure, so have trying to find various types of recipes using peanut butter that I’m pretty sure he’ll like. For your cake recipe, I’l have to use either chocolate or cream cheese frosting since he just feels so-so where peanut butter is concerned. Thanks.

    1. Jen Post author

      April, I’m sorry to hear about your pain, I’m sure that makes baking difficult. To tell you the truth, I have never made a cake like this using a box mix, so I can’t make any claims about how it would turn out. I’m not sure the box mix would save you that much work. You could try using the mix, and leaving out the sugar, salt, cocoa, baking soda, and flour from the original recipe, and see how that works. I’m fairly certain it would change the texture, but I can’t say how dramatic the change would be. I would love to hear about your results after you try it, though!

  18. Ana

    Making this cake this weekend for my daughters’ birthday! Wondering how brown sugar would be vs regular white sugar. Has anyone tried?

  19. Linda Nisbet

    Just made this for my Mom’s 95 th Birthday. The frosting tastes just like the Peanut Butter Fudge she made when we were kids. This recipe is fabulous and super easy to make. A must-try for sure that will become a classic!

  20. Joy

    Just made this as a post holiday treat. Wow! Definitely will add this to my favorites. (I did increase the icing by 1/2 and was glad I did.)

  21. Jessica

    HELP ASAP! I made this cake for an anniversary dinner for my parents that was supposed to happen tonight. Because of all the snow we are getting, we have to cancel. POLAR VORTEX!!! Do you think there is any way that this cake would freeze well? I have a chest freezer I could put it in. And if I do, how much time do u think it would take to thaw? The cake turned out so beautiful. Such a great recepie. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Jen Post author

      Jessica, freezing cakes is fine, but freezing frosting sometimes isn’t. Be sure it is well sealed and wrapped in wax paper before freezing, and be aware that because of the moisture in the frosting, it might change the texture a bit. If it’s not frosted yet, wrap the layers well, and they’ll freeze great! As for thawing… I’m not sure. (I don’t freeze cakes much, so I don’t have any experience with it.) I would give it 3-4 hours if it’s already layered and frosted, and 1-2 for individual layers. Then again, frozen cake doesn’t bother me at all! Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  22. Mom A Peel

    My 5 year old was in charge of our dessert for our family night. He wanted a chocolate cake with peanut butter. So my boys and I made this tonight after finding you in a web search. I ran out of white flour, so I substituted Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. I was nervous that it wouldn’t turn out, but I was very happy with the results. My family LOVED it!! I will definitely make this again. Next time I will make more frosting, because it wasn’t quite enough to frost the layers like I wanted.

  23. Ally

    I’m thinking about making this recipe but did you use salted or unsalted butter and is the flour plain or self raising????

    1. Jen Post author

      Ally, I use regular, all-purpose flour for this cake. As for the butter, you can decide. I usually use salted butter, but the unsalted butter gives you a little more control over the salt content. Honestly, I’ve never noticed it to make a huge difference either way, especially in a cake like this that has strong flavors.

    1. Jen Post author

      Abbe, the baking takes about 30 minutes. I don’t like to specify an amount of time for prep, because it varies so much from person to person, but you could plan on about 20-30 minutes to put together the batter and the frosting. Also remember that the cake will need to cool before frosting, so total time is probably around 3 hours.

  24. Odette

    I made this cake and it came out delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!
    Because I was on a time restraint (and lazy), I substituted the cake part for duncan hines devil’s food cake. I also made mine 2 layers.
    It came out delicious- everyone loved it and it was gone within 2 days!
    I will definitely be using this great recipe again!

  25. lori

    This is the very very very best cake!!! I’m putting this my my book to pass down to my children. Thank you! I’m not sure I would have shared it! It would be the greatest secret! I will share since you were so kind to share it! 😉

  26. Leanne Webster

    I really want to make this recipe for my sisters 21st with all the amazing reviews but I struggle working with cup measurements, is there any chance of a conversion to grams and millimetres? Pleaseeee 🙂 x

    1. Jen Post author

      Leanne, I generally don’t do those kinds of conversions here, but I’m sure a quick google search will bring you a site that will help. Good luck!

  27. Leanne Webster

    Hello again Jen, thanks for your reply! I have done a google search and it has helped however still a bit unsure! What size layer pans do you use? Also what does T stand for regarding the milk measurement.. What flour so you use and finally I am worried I have the measurement wrong for the powered sugar (icing sugar as we call it I think and hope haha) as it seems an awful lot but then again I have never cooked a cake haha! Wish me luck and look forward to your reply 🙂

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  29. sarah

    Hey Jen I haven’t made this yet but I plan on doing this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. Is this recipe able to be made a day ahead? Or is it best to just do it on the same day so as to not destroy the texture/flavor?

    1. Jen Post author

      Sarah, You bet! You can make it a day ahead, if you keep it covered until you eat it. If you have a cake plate with a domed lid, it will work great. At the very least, cover it with aluminum foil. I’m sure he will love it!

      1. sarah

        Thank you so much for this recipe! He loves it! The minute it was finished he was all over it. This is my first time ever baking a cake from scratch. Will definitely make this again! 🙂 Thanks again Jen!

        1. Jen Post author

          Sarah, you have totally made my day! I guess you can see why this is one of my more popular recipes! I’m so glad you liked it.

  30. Catherine Saunders Hartoch

    Yours was the winner! The nicest chocolate peanut butter cup cake recipe I found this fall!

    I made a practice cake without the ganache or candy on top, and my family liked it. Then I made 3 3- layer full versions over a week of party preparations-baking three layers an evening and doing a marathon 2-hour frosting and decorating job on all of them the day before the party. This was for my son’s 7th birthday and they were quite impressive! 40-50 people really enjoyed them and I sent your recipe out in a link to all our party guests.

    I like to use whole wheat flour whenever possible, so I did that here and decreased the flour amount by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I still found the cake slightly dry, though it just gave us an excuse to eat it with vanilla ice cream! Do you have any suggestions for including whole wheat flour?

    Thanks a lot. We will use your recipe again! Five stars!

    1. Jen Post author

      Catherine, I’m so glad you liked it! Our family devoured it too. 😉 I don’t actually bake with whole wheat flour much. Basically never, to tell you the truth. I have found that it has a tendency to change the texture, and make baked goods more dry and chewy, so I don’t like using it at all. From what I’ve read, for cakes and other similar recipes, it’s best to use whole wheat pastry flour, and not replace more than 50% of the all-purpose flour. I hope that helps!

      1. Catherine

        Thank! I’ve heard that suggestion before and will remember: half and half of each at most, whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour! The recipe will be even more delectable next time I make it!

  31. Christiane Hopkins

    Thank you for this delcious recipe. My 11 year old daughter Caroline and I made it for Thanksgiving and it wont the award for the best dessert there!

    We are not experienced cake makers, but this was pretty easy. I think we went a little heavy on frosting the first layer, so we had to make some more frosting. We’ll be careful to divide our frosting up next time so we don’t run out! 🙂

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  34. Nichol

    Have you have tried these as cupcakes? Would it work just as well, as long as I don’t overcook them? I had this made by a friend it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted!! Really hoping to do cupcakes instead though, sinces I’m not a very good baker! 🙂

  35. Den

    Has anyone tried making this with natural peanut butter with good results? Or should one just stick to one of the commercial brands. Thank you!

  36. Sandy Kane

    I’m going to make this for a family function next weekend, but have a stupid question: You don’t mention greasing and flouring the cake pans (and/or lining with parchment paper) first. I’ve never made a cake without doing so. Can you clarify? Thanks.

    1. Jen Post author

      I should have mentioned it, it was an oversight on my part. I normally line round pans with either wax or parchment paper, then use a non-stick spray.

      1. Sandy Kane

        Thanks. I went ahead and made the cake, buttering the pans, then dusting with cocoa powder, and didn’t line them with paper. The cakes came out of the pans easily. I also only made a two layer cake, and used the leftover batter for mini-cupcakes. The family loved the cake, and my niece (who is not a baker) asked for the recipe. Will definitely make it again in the future.

  37. Jaxqui

    I made this for my boyfriend 24th birthday and oh my god it was delicious! I’m so glad I found this recipe — thank you!!

  38. Michelle

    I’ve followed this recipe to the tee and the three layer cake was so amazing!!! I’m on a bit of a time crunch and I was thinking that these would be great cupcakes and may be a tad quicker. Would you recommend any changes to use this recipe for cupcakes instead of a cake?
    Thanks a bunch!

  39. Marissa

    Hi! This cake looks amazing! Im going to make it this weekend! I read in the comments that someone asked if you can make it a day ahead and you said yes- does this include the ganache? Can I pour the ganache over the cake friday night and serve it on saturday? Let me know! Thanks so much!!!

    1. Jen Post author

      I’ve never seen a definitive answer about the shelf life of ganache. I suspect it varies based on fat and water content. However, most people agree that it should be fine at room temperature for 1-2 days.

  40. shauna

    Jen, before you make this cake again separate the eggs whip the whites really stiff and fold in at the last. for the frosting try thinning the peanut butter with some milk then add the heavy whipping cream and some chocolate pudding and beat until stiff. Then use the chocolate sprinkles around the sides to hide flaws and pipe the bottom and the top of the of the cake like a bakery does.

    1. Jen Post author

      I’m sure you could. It would change the texture of the cake a bit, but if that doesn’t bother you, I say go for it!

  41. Jane Maltais

    I just tried a couple of weeks ago and even though I have to Veganize my baking, the cake turned out great. It would help if you mentions the size of cake pans. The frosting was too peanut-buttery (if that’s a word) and difficult to work with. Also, it was certainly a peanut butter colour–not like your picture. I have just made cupcakes and will try the frosting reversing the amounts of butter and PB. Many thanks for the recipe. It’s a big hit here.

  42. Nana Wink

    ***** (IPad won’t let me give the five stars it deserves!!!!!)My family loved this cake last night! I didn’t have room in my new freezer to make my d-I-l’s usual favourite BD cake – Reese’s peanut butter ice cream cake. Switched to milk chocolate chips for the ganache d/t her tastes. Even with 9” size the ganache spilled over the sides and even onto the plate but was still a nice design. Maybe less ganache if you want to keep it on top or let it cool some first. Thanks Jen for saving her BD with this delicious recipe!

  43. Jennifer

    This is a wonderful cake! The cake recipe is only enough for 2- 9 inch layers, you will need to increase the batter quantity for 3 – 9 inch layers!

  44. KM

    Hi Jen! I’m planning to bake this cake and it will be my first time ever. What kind of cocoa powder did you use and is it white sugar or brown sugar?


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