Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

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When I first stumbled upon this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe, I was instantly transported back to my childhood. Growing up, my mom used to bake a similar cake for special occasions. The rich aroma of chocolate mingling with the distinct scent of peanut butter would fill our home, creating an atmosphere of warmth and anticipation. This cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a slice of nostalgia that brings back fond memories of family gatherings and celebrations.

This recipe is perfect for those who appreciate the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter. The cake itself is incredibly moist, thanks to the addition of sour cream and buttermilk, which also lend a subtle tang that balances the sweetness. Using hot water or coffee in the batter not only enhances the chocolate flavor but also ensures a tender crumb.

One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is the frosting. Creamy peanut butter and softened butter come together with confectioners’ sugar and a touch of vanilla to create a frosting that is both luscious and smooth. Adding heavy cream gives it a light and airy texture that is easy to spread between the layers of the cake.

I particularly enjoy the flexibility of this recipe. You can make a few tweaks to suit your preferences or to cater to different occasions. For instance, if you’re a fan of dark chocolate, using dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet can give the cake a deeper, more intense chocolate flavor. Alternatively, for a more indulgent treat, you can fold in chopped peanut butter cups into the batter for added texture and surprise pockets of peanut butter goodness.

The ganache is the finishing touch that elevates this cake from delightful to decadent. By pouring the thickened chocolate ganache over the chilled cake, you create a glossy, smooth surface that looks as impressive as it tastes. Garnishing with mini peanut butter cups adds a fun and festive touch, making this cake a real showstopper for any celebration.

Whether you’re making this cake for a birthday, a family gathering, or just because you crave something delicious, it’s sure to impress. The combination of flavors and textures is simply irresistible, and it’s bound to become a favorite in your household, just as it has in mine.

How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (tossed in 1 tablespoon flour)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup hot water or black coffee
  • 8 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • optional garnish: chopped or mini peanut butter cups

Directions

  1. Set your oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line them with parchment paper rounds, and grease the parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and optional espresso powder. Set this mixture aside.
  3. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, blend the oil, eggs, and sour cream on medium-high speed until well mixed. Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, add the hot water or coffee, and mix on low speed until the batter is fully combined. Gently fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips. The batter will be thin with some bubbles.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly among the 3 pans. Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, around 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix for another 1-2 minutes until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the heavy cream. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  6. Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread about 1 cup of peanut butter frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the second and third cake layers, spreading about 1 cup of frosting between each layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides as a crumb coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir slowly until smooth. Refrigerate the ganache for 20-30 minutes to thicken before spreading it on the chilled cake.
  8. Pour or spoon the thickened ganache over the chilled cake. Smooth the top with an icing spatula and the sides with a bench scraper. If desired, pipe any remaining peanut butter frosting around the edge of the cake. Garnish with chopped or mini peanut butter cups if you like.
  9. Serve the cake immediately, or chill it uncovered for 4-6 hours before serving. The cake can be served at room temperature or chilled. Store any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Making Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

FAQs:

How can I make this cake gluten-free?

To make this cake gluten-free, substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum. Ensure that all other ingredients, such as baking powder and chocolate chips, are certified gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.

Can I use natural peanut butter instead of creamy peanut butter for the frosting?

While natural peanut butter can be used, it may alter the texture of the frosting due to its oil separation. For best results, use creamy peanut butter that does not separate.

What can I use instead of espresso powder?

If you don’t have espresso powder, you can omit it entirely or use instant coffee granules as a substitute. Dissolve the coffee granules in a small amount of water before adding them to the dry ingredients.

How do I prevent my cake from sticking to the pans?

To prevent the cake from sticking, thoroughly grease the pans with butter or cooking spray, line them with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper as well. This ensures the cakes release easily from the pans.

Is it necessary to use hot water or coffee in the batter?

The hot water or coffee helps to bloom the cocoa powder, enhancing the chocolate flavor. If you prefer, you can use hot milk as an alternative to achieve a similar effect.

How long can I store the cake in the refrigerator?

You can store the cake tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To keep the cake moist, ensure it is well-covered with plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Bake the best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with this easy recipe. Perfect for birthdays and special events.
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
chill 4 hours
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12
...

Ingredients
  

  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder optional
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup full-fat sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water or black coffee
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream or heavy whipping cream at room temperature
  • 8 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • optional garnish: chopped or mini peanut butter cups

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using). Set aside.
  • Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix oil, eggs, and sour cream on medium-high speed until combined. Add buttermilk and vanilla, beating until combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, add hot water/coffee, and whisk or beat on low speed until batter is completely combined. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips. The batter will be thin with some air bubbles.
  • Divide batter evenly among the 3 pans. Bake for 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
  • For the frosting, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and beat until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, then pour in heavy cream with the mixer running on low speed. Turn mixer to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes until fully combined and creamy.
  • Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with about 1 cup peanut butter frosting. Repeat with 2nd and 3rd cake layers, spreading about 1 cup of frosting in between each layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides as a crumb coat. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • For the ganache, place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. Pour over chocolate, let sit for 2-3 minutes, then slowly stir until smooth. Chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator to thicken before spreading on the chilled cake.
  • Pour or spoon thickened ganache over the chilled cake. Smooth the top with an icing spatula and the sides with a bench scraper. Pipe remaining peanut butter frosting around the edge if desired. Garnish with peanut butter cups.
  • Serve cake immediately or chill, uncovered, for 4-6 hours before serving. Cake can be served at room temperature or chilled. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Keyword chocolate, Peanut Butter

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