Chocolate peanut butter cake has layers of milk chocolate cake with rich peanut butter filling and vanilla peanut butter frosting.
Since my mom a baker extraordinaire, I’ve been relieved of birthday baking duties since Emma was 2. Last weekend was Spencer’s birthday, so my mom came in for the day and brought chocolate peanut butter cake.
Snicker’s candy bars are his favorite, so she usually makes something candy bar-ish. This cake was unanimously declared one of the best she’s ever made. (Although, I still favor plain almond cake.) The milk chocolate layers and fluffy peanut butter filling make an outstanding combination.
This chocolate peanut butter cake recipe is from a brand new cookbook called Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. If this recipe is any indication of the rest of the book, it’s bound to be fabulous!
Let me know what you think of the chocolate peanut butter cake!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Milk chocolate layers
- 2 ounces milk chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup hot coffee
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces unsalted butter softened, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, softened, cut into ½ inch cubes.
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Peanut Butter Vanilla Frosting
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces unsalted butter cool but not cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Peanut Butter Filling
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For decorating the top
- 1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts chopped
- 2 ounces dark chocolate shaved
For the chocolate layers
- Pre-heat oven to 325* F. Butter two 8" round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust lightly with flour.
- Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Pour hot coffee over the chocolate and cocoa and whisk until combined. Add the milk, whisk until smooth.
- In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto rack and let cool completely.
Peanut Butter Filling
- In a mixer, beat the butter on high until smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat on medium-low speed until just combined.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla and beat until smooth. Set aside.
Peanut Butter Vanilla Frosting
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of mixer. Beat on high until cool, at least 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of reserved Peanut Butter Filling and the vanilla and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, refrigerate to chill slightly then beat again to proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Assembling the cake:
- Place bottom layer on serving platter. Evenly spread with Peanut Butter Filling, then spread about ¼ cup of Vanilla Peanut Butter Frosting on top of the filling.
- Add the next layer, and frost the top and sides with the remaining Vanilla Peanut Butter Frosting. Sprinkle peanuts and shaved chocolate shavings around the edge of the cake.
- Cake can be stored at room temperature, covered for up to 3 days.
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Chocolate Cake With Coconut Pecan Frosting
I was at the right place at the right time! Spencer’s birthday cake was fantastic! This is a must for my chocolate/peanut butter loving husband’s birthday cake this year!
Glad you were able to taste it!
Peanut butter and chocolate…a must try. Maybe I’ll take it to our upcoming family reunion! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
Laurie, let me know how you like it!
Cynthia, Your Cake is Beautiful!!! Absolutely Lovely. I cannot wait to try the Peanut butter filling! Great Flavor combination!
Talk to me about the coffee. I love coffee, but my husband does not. Does it taste at all like coffee in the final product?
No, I don’t think so at all. I don’t drink coffee or like it either. I think coffee brings a certain depth to some dishes though.
Not being a fan of coffee’s taste, I was going to ask about the coffee flavor, too. I think coffee enhances the chocolate flavor maybe.
Kathi J Peacock says
For our dinners at church on Wednesday nights people bring the desserts, I know I will have to make a big batch but oh what a hit I believe it would be. Have to wait until I can afford all the ingredients though. Thanks for this awesome cake.
Can’t wait to make this! Love Chocolate & Peanut Butter Combos. I’ve been spooning chunky peanut butter on oreo cookies lately. YUMMY!
Haha Lorri, close, but not quite!
I’m confused. You list yourself as the author on the recipe but say it comes from a cookbook not written by you. Is this your recipe or theirs?
Kristi, I can see your confusion. The way the wordpress recipe card works asks who input the recipe into the post. I should have re-stated the author of the recipe within the card. As with this recipe, I always credit the author, if it is not my original recipe. Thanks for pointing this out.
I am going to make this for a friend’s birthday however, I was wondering if I can cheat a little bit and use box cake mix for the mike chocolate layers. Will this ruin the cake?
I think you’ll be fine! It won’t taste exactly the same, but if you make the frosting and the filling, I’m sure it will be delicious!
yeah hubby and I don’t drink coffee but I will try this recipe. what kind of coffee? I don’t even know how to make coffee lol can I just make some instant crystals coffee in a cup? I could try it if so. If not is there a substitute ingredient to use in place of the coffee?
Also I’d like to know if I could use dark chocolate pieces like Ghirardelli 60% cacao Instead of milk chocolate?
thanks for an answery hubby loves everything peanut butter and chocolate so I’d love to make this for him!
Yes Michelle, you can absolutely use coffee crystals. I don’t drink coffee at all either, but it does add a depth of flavor to the cake. Dark chocolate would be delicious too! I think everyone loves peanut butter and chocolate together!
Thanks for the quick response. Im sure even I can handle mixing up the instant coffee lol
I’m off to go make the cake now.
Hi Cynthia I made this cake and it disappeared faster than I could cut it and put on a plate!
No taste of coffee at all! People were surprised to learn it had coffee in it.
I did do some changes such as using dark chocolate 60% cacao (going to try 72% cacao next time), the frosting – most everybody I know LOVES peanut butter so I added two whole cups of peanut butter to the frosting instead of just adding the Tbsp. peanut butter cake filling to it. I chilled the frosting and whipped again a little before putting it on the cake and it was perfect.
The cake layers were moist but not as moist or chocolatey as I’d like so I’m going to try adding yogurt or sour cream to the batter to see if that helps raise the moistness or perhaps I should chill the cakes after baking? Or would using cake flour or a mixture of half all purpose and half cake flour work?
What do you think?
Everyone is already asking when I will be making this cake again! LOL
Thank you for sharing!
A+++ recipe, you wont be disappointed when making this cake!
Oh also people were so surprised to learn the frosting has flour in it. At first I was a little skeptical if it would taste good but after making it was very pleased! I will use this frosting recipe again and add other flavors to it for future cakes, its light and fluffy yet strong enough for stacking cakes oh and its super easy to make!
Hi Abbie, thank you for taking the time to write. I’m sorry that you had problems with the frosting. As you can see, the recipe was taken from the book “Baked Elements”, and no changes were made. (I always indicate changes, if any, if the recipe is not mine). I will tell you, though, that baking can be so tricky, which is why I definitely prefer cooking. Any one of a number of things can affect the outcome of baked goods, from the weather, to the quality and age of the ingredients. From my own experience, I’ve made a recipe on a cool, rainy day, that turned out perfectly, and again on a warm day, where everything just tanked. Without being there with you, it’s hard for me to say which, if any, of these were the reason for the runny texture of the frosting. Let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
I made this cake also and ended up chilling the filling and frosting for a little bit which helped. I also chilled my cakes in the fridge before frosting them.
When I made this recipe I ended up playing around with it till it was what worked for me.
The first time I use a recipe I usually follow it exactly, then make personal changes for the next time.
I would try the recipe again and see if you can pin down where the frosting and filling went wrong.
Thank you for responding Chelle! Baking can be so temperamental and it could have been a particularly wet or humid day, in which case, your suggestion to chill the filling and frosting is great!
Michelle Oelfke says
That’s so true about the climate. I’ve now made the cake 4 times and one time was just a disaster at my sisters house with the frosting it was too warm there and I had to remake it.
I just made the cake and the peanut butter filling, but the filling seems thick and oily – is that normal?
I added more powdered sugar which made it more the consistency of peanut butter balls (or buckeyes). I think I’ll just spread it out in a circle shape and lay it in between the layers of cake.
I also had trouble with the frosting. Came out way too thin. I tried adding corn starch and powdered sugar to thicken it and also tried refrigerating, but it didn’t seem to help much. I think I’ll just go get some store bought frosting and whip in some peanut butter.
Otherwise, the cake itself tastes amazing!
Hi Becky, as you can tell by the comments, some others have had difficulty with the frosting too. The only thing I can think would be different, is the type of peanut butter? Some peanut butter is oilier than others? The frosting is really good, and you can see by my cake it was thick. Also, weather can affect the texture of baked goods. Rainy, moist days usually have an adverse effect on some baked goods.
We are going to a Family Reunion the end of July. Do you think it would be okay to bake the cake and freeze before frosting? Also do you think the frosting could be made a day or two before, then bring to room temperature and then frost?
Tara Geisel says
This is the second year in a row I’ve made this cake for my chocolate and peanut butter loving daughter. This cake is AMAZING and beautiful! I love the colors in the layered slices! The only thing I do different is adding Reese’s on top (my girl’s favorite). Thanks for sharing!
I love the addition of the reese’s on top of the cake! That would certainly make it really incredible! Thank you for responding!
Anne Kirby says
I am going to be baking this cake in about 5 hours. I see there is no baking powder in the recipe and want to clarify this is correct.