Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe


This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe is rich, decadent, and chocolaty. This recipe is like the peanut butter version of chocolate lava cake! The cake contains three different forms of chocolate for all the chocolate lovers out there. It’s the perfect dessert to satisfy that sweet tooth. This recipe has two of my favorite desserts combined—basically, chocolate cake and peanut butter cup. It’s light and delicious that it’s even better than the sum of their parts!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

Chocolate peanut butter cake

Over the years, I have made many different cakes for my children’s birthdays. But for some time now, this has been the chosen one, the cake of cakes, elected to grace many special occasions – and with good reason.

30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time

10 to 30 mins


Serves 10–12



For the cake

  • 200g/7oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250ml/9fl oz hot water from a just-boiled kettle
  • 50g/1¾oz cocoa powder
  • 100g/3½oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

For the icing

  • 600g/1lb 5oz icing sugar
  • 300g/10½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g/14oz smooth peanut butter (the regular kind, not a health-store variety)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 120ml/4fl oz double cream
  • 30g/1oz dry roasted peanuts, chopped, to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease 4 x 20cm/8in ultra-shallow layer cake tins and line them with baking paper. Don’t use loose-bottomed tins as this is a runny batter.
  2. Cut the butter lengthways into four pieces (just to aid melting), place in a heavy-based, fairly wide saucepan and set over a gentle heat. Add the just-boiled water and whisk in the cocoa and the sugars. Whisk gently until the butter has melted and you have a smooth, amalgamated mixture. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and fork to mix. Whisk the eggs together in a small jug. Pour the eggs gradually into the butter mixture in the pan, whisking all the while until they are completely absorbed. Finally, whisk in the flour mixture slowly and gently until you have a smooth batter. Pour and scrape evenly into the tins.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 7 minutes (see Recipe Tip for instructions for normal sandwich tins), until the cakes are shrinking away at the edges and a cake tester comes out cleanish; it is a damp cake, though, so it’s fine if a few crumbs cling to the cake tester. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins until cold.
  5. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. This is one of the few jobs in the kitchen I hate, so I wouldn’t tell you to do it if it wasn’t necessary. In another large bowl (or the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a whisk), beat the butter and peanut butter together very thoroughly; that’s to say, for 3 minutes if you’re using a mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld electric whisk, until it is a light, fluffy and creamy mixture. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Still beating, but now at a slightly lower speed, patiently add the sieved icing sugar a spoonful at a time until you’ve used half of it, then beat in the rest in three batches. Turn up the mixer a little and carry on beating for 2 minutes, or for 3 minutes with a handheld electric whisk. Scrape down the sides to incorporate any icing sugar clinging to the bowl and beat again for 30 seconds–1 minute. Still beating, add the cream a tablespoonful at a time and, when it’s all in, carry on beating for 4 minutes (or for 6 minutes with a handheld electric whisk) until you have a soft, aerated and moussily light mixture.
  7. Peel away the lining papers from the cakes and place one of the layers, flat-side up, on a cake stand or plate. Spread – armed, ideally, with a bendy spatula and a small offset spatula – the icing about 1cm thick, taking it right out to the very edges of the circle. This will bulge out a bit when you place the other layers on top, which will make it easier for you to ice the sides. Top with your second layer, and repeat until you have 4 layers with about 1cm of icing between each one. Then spread the remaining icing over the top, again about 1cm thick. Use the bendy spatula to get a dollop of icing onto the side of the cake, then spread it gently to cover and smooth, ideally with the small offset spatula. Carry on like this, with your 2 tools, until the cake is covered all the way round. Run the offset spatula on top and around the cake again to smooth the icing. Leave the cake plain or decorate with the chopped peanuts or as your heart desires.

Recipe Tips

You could just use 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins instead of 4 ultra-shallow tins to make a 2-tiered cake. They will need to cook for 15–20 minutes. You will also need to halve the buttercream quantities.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

My Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake is made with three layers of incredibly moist and rich dark chocolate cake, covered in peanut butter frosting, and draped with a glossy chocolate ganache drip (and I’ll walk you through the steps on how to do the drip, too!). This is the perfect cake for both celebrations and everyday indulgences. Recipe includes a how-to video!

slices of three-layer peanut butter chocolate cake on white plates

Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

With striking dark chocolate layers, layers of silky smooth peanut butter frosting and a sophisticated chocolate ganache drip, this is not your mother’s peanut butter chocolate cake!

The layers of today’s recipe are closely based off of my dark chocolate cupcakes with all the richness of my devil’s food cake, which means they’re decadent, intensely chocolatey, and moist, moist enough that you can store it in the fridge and still have the crumb melt in your mouth the next day.

While I certainly don’t consider myself a decorator, I wanted today’s cake to be extra stunning and I want you to be able to pull off a cake just like the one in the photos. To help with this, I include detailed decorating instructions in the post, in the recipe, and in the how-to vide below.

Let’s dive in!

What You Need

2 picture collage of Ingredients: cake layer ingredients (on left) and ingredients for ganache and frosting (on right)
Ingredients for cake layers (left) and ingredients for frosting and ganache (right)

Each ingredient in my peanut butter chocolate cake recipe has been carefully selected to yield a perfectly rich and deeply flavorful, but not too sweet cake.

  • Flour. For a sturdier, easily stackable cake, I like using all-purpose flour here. You can substitute cake flour if you’d like, but I don’t personally feel the need.
  • Sugar. You’ll need brown sugar and granulated sugar for the cake, and powdered sugar for the frosting. Using a combination of sugars in the cake adds some serious flavor and moisture to make for a rich cake.
  • Cocoa powder. Use dark cocoa powder for a strong chocolate flavor that stands up against the creamy peanut butter icing. This is typically sold in the baking aisle beside other cocoa powders, but you have trouble finding it Dutch-process cocoa will also work. If you can’t find either and can only find regular, natural cocoa powder, hop over to my chocolate cake recipe and make that one instead!
  • Butter and oil. Yes, we’re using both butter and oil in this cake! The combination of the two makes for an incredibly moist cake with an amazing flavor (which you already know if you’ve made my vanilla cake). I recommend vegetable or canola oil, but you can really use any neutral cooking oil.
  • Buttermilk. Besides providing flavor, buttermilk also adds moisture to this cake. If you don’t have any on hand, use my buttermilk substitute.
  • Water. You can use water or coffee (for a more intense chocolate flavor), but the liquid you use must be hot to properly react with the cocoa powder.
  • Peanut butter. Use a smooth peanut butter and avoid the “natural” kind that separates, people have reported mixed results when using natural peanut butter.
  • Semisweet chocolate. Any kind of semisweet chocolate will work, whether that’s chocolate chips or a chopped up baking bar.
  • Cream. Warm heavy cream will turn our chocolate into a rich chocolate ganache for decorating our peanut butter chocolate cake. Make sure you heat it to just simmering, then immediately take it off the heat.

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Assemble and Decorate Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

collage of four photos showing how to ice a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing

SAM’S TIP BEFORE YOU BEGIN ASSEMBLY: For a professional-looking, totally level cake you will want to level your cake layers before assembling (but after they’ve completely cooled). You can do this using a cake leveler or just using a sharp knife to level the top of the cake.

Bake your cakes as instructed and let them cool completely before frosting. When your cakes are almost done cooling, make the peanut butter frosting. Once your cakes are cool and your frosting is prepared, you’re ready to assemble!

  1. Place one cooled cake layer on serving platter and cover with a thick, even layer of icing (this recipe makes a lot of frosting, so you should have plenty for a nice thick peanut butter layer!). Repeat with the next two layers.
  2. For a clean looking cake, do a crumb coat! Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. It’ll look messy and you’ll see crumbs poking through, this is fine (just make sure you don’t get any crumbs back in your icing bowl as you move your spatula back and forth). Move your cake to the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This “crumb coating” holds all the crumbs in place, so when you do your next frosting application it will be clean, smooth, and crumb-free.
  3. Remove cake from freezer and cover immediately with a thick, even layer of frosting. You should still have a fair bit of frosting left over, hang on to this, we need it for our decorative topping!
  4. Smooth frosting until you’ve reached your desired look. If you aren’t adding ganache, pipe a decorative border on top of the cake; otherwise, place your cake back in the fridge or freezer and move on to the next steps.
  1. Prepare ganache and let it cool. Pour cooled (but still liquid) ganache into a squeeze bottle (you could alternatively use a piping bag or even a spoon, but I’m not skilled enough to make these work very well personally). Holding the bottle vertically, drip ganache around the entire cake, allowing the chocolate to slowly run down the edges.
  2. Drizzle ganache over the top of the cake (you may not need all of it!). Don’t go overboard, I do a few drizzles and then spread the ganache, adding as little as I need, otherwise it drips over the side of the cake and ruins all of our work from the earlier steps.
  3. Use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache into one even layer. Return the cake to the fridge and chill until ganache set.
  4. Use remaining peanut butter icing to pipe a decorative border or dollops around the cake. I used my favorite Ateco 848 tip here.

SAM’S TIP: If you’re adding a ganache drip to your cake, be sure your cake is chilled beforehand. Just a few minutes in the fridge or freezer can make a huge difference!

peanut butter chocolate cake frosted with peanut butter icing topped with chocolate ganache drips and a perimeter of icing swirls

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my water need to be hot?

Very hot water is critical for this recipe. When you (very carefully!) add hot water to cocoa powder, you are “blooming it. Blooming cocoa powder intensifies its flavor, and we want our cake to be as flavorful and chocolatey as possible! For an even more intense chocolate flavor, you can use hot coffee instead of hot water; your cake won’t taste like coffee, but it will have a very intense chocolate flavor!

My ganache is dripping all the way down my cake. What happened?

Either it’s your cake that isn’t cool enough, or it’s your ganache. For good measure, pop your cake back in the fridge (or the freezer) for a few more minutes and let your ganache cool down some more before trying to add the drip. You can also try making your drips smaller.
This recipe yields a bit extra ganache, so experiment with your drips on something besides your cake before beginning (sometimes I test my drips on an upside-down bowl before moving over to my cake).

Can I use this peanut butter chocolate cake recipe to make cupcakes?

Yes! You can make 24-30 cupcakes. They’ll need to bake for approximately 17 minutes.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Cake

  •  Prep Time: 25 minutes
  •  Cook Time: 22 minutes
  •  Total Time: 47 minutes
  •  Yield: 12-14 Slices
  •  Category: Dessert
  •  Method: Oven
  •  Cuisine: American


This Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Cake recipe is made with layers of moist chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting and chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups! It’s rich, delicious and so fun!



  • 1 3/4 cups (228g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water


  • 2 cups (448g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (350g) peanut butter
  • 9 cups (1035g) powdered sugar
  • 6–7 tbsp (90-105ml) water or milk
  • 6 reeses, chopped


  • 6 oz (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 8 reeses, cut in half
  • Crumbled reeses


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper in the bottom.
2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in a large mixer bowl and mix until well combined.
9. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add 3 tablespoons of water or milk and mix until smooth.
11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. Add remaining water or milk and mix until smooth, keeping an eye on the consistency of the frosting so it doesn’t get too thin.
13. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the tops of the cake layers so that they’re flat.
14. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle and top with about 1 cup of frosting. Smooth frosting into an even layer.
15. Add about half of the chopped Reese’s on top of the frosting and press into the frosting. Spread a small amount of frosting on top of the Reese’s so that it’s sticky on top for the next cake layer.
16. Add the next cake layer and top with about 1 cup of frosting. Smooth frosting into an even layer.
17. Add remaining half of the chopped Reese’s on top of the frosting and press into the frosting. Spread a small amount of frosting on top of the Reese’s so that it’s sticky on top for the next cake layer.
18. Add the final cake layer to the top of the cake.
19. Smooth out the frosting on the sides of the cake, creating a thin crumb coat.
20. Add about 1 cup of frosting to the top of the cake and smooth into an even layer.
21. Frost the cake . Stop just before using the paper towel, which won’t be necessary with the pattern on the sides of this cake.
22. Use an offset spatula to create the stripes around the cake. For guidance, see the video above starting at about 1:40.
22. Set the cake aside and make the chocolate ganache . Put the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.
23. Microwave the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
24. Use a squeeze bottle or a spoon to drizzle the chocolate around the edges of the cake, then fill in the top of the cake and smooth it with an offset spatula.
25. Allow the ganache to firm a bit, about 10 minutes, then top with remaining frosting, additional Reese’s chopped in half, and Reese’s crumbles.
26. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. Cake is best for 3-4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1097
  • Sugar: 112.1 g
  • Sodium: 774 mg
  • Fat: 61.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 133.4 g
  • Protein: 13.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 109.8 mg

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