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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake – Rich, decadent, dark chocolate cake layers with whipped peanut butter frosting make this cake hands-down the best chocolate peanut butter cake you’ll ever have! That’s a promise.
I love getting creative with my cake flavors and texture combinations, but there’s something about the classics that never get old. I shared a lot of classic cake flavors when I first started my blog a couple of years ago. I’ve been meaning to revisit them ever since. I finally had a chance to work on several of them this past month and can’t wait to reintroduce you to many of them.
The World’s Best Flavor Combination
First on my list is my favorite flavor combination: chocolate and peanut butter. I never get tired of this combo, in any dessert. It always works! I especially love this pairing in cake form. Bittersweet, rich dark chocolate cake, paired with a sweet and salty, whipped peanut butter frosting is like heaven on earth. Neither element over powers the other. They compliment each other so well.
The chocolate cake is my High Altitude Friendly Chocolate Cake. It’s a cake I worked on perfecting for several months after moving to Utah and having the original recipe fail on me over and over. The recipe is pretty much fool proof at this point. And don’t worry if you’re in lower altitude or higher altitude. I’ve got you covered.
If you’re at low altitude, you won’t need to change a thing about this recipe. I’ve made it several times in Southern California and haven’t run into any baking issues. If you’re at higher altitude than Northern Utah, there’s a couple steps you can take to make sure you’re chocolate cake doesn’t sink.
- For every cup of all-purpose called for in the recipe, add an extra tablespoon of flour (in addition to what I already have added).
- For every cup of sugar called for in the recipe, remove a tablespoon of sugar (sugar tends to weigh cakes down at high altitude).
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh (don’t use them if they’re over 6 months old).
- Don’t over mix the batter! You only need to mix the batter on low speed, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting
I love this frosting! For the peanut butter frosting recipe, you’ll want to make sure the heavy whipping cream is chilled before you start to beat it. It also helps the whipping cream to thicken quickly if you freeze your mixing bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes before you start beating in your stand mixer. I also suggest using smooth creamy peanut butter. And if we’re getting really specific, I also suggest using Skippy Peanut Butter – for no other reason than it’s my favorite! It makes this frosting so light and fluffy!
As you start to decorate this chocolate peanut butter cake, there’s a couple things to remember:
- You’ll want to level the cake layers, if needed, to ensure your cake stacks evenly.
- Chill the cake layers for at least an hour in the freezer before frosting. Working with chilled sheet cakes will make frosting the cake much easier – you’re less likely to get crumbs in your frosting.
- Make sure to do a crumb coat before you frost the entire cake. The chocolate crumbs are moist and easily get stuck in the frosting if you don’t do a crumb coat. Remember, the crumb coat is just a thin layer of frosting that you freeze for 10 to 15 minutes to set. This will lock in the crumbs so your final coat of frosting is crumb-free.
Ok! I think you’re all set to go. Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Rich, dark chocolate cake layers with whipped peanut butter frosting.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 18 mins
FOR THE CAKE
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (88.5 g) Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
- 3 large or extra large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup (236 g) hot water
- 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 1 cup (250 g) creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy)
- 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
- Pinch of coarse salt
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans (butter or spray, line bottom with parchment paper, butter or spray paper and dust with flour).
- In a bowl of electric mixer, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Combine eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed).
- Bake for 18 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
- When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I’ll just put it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.
- Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix in, slowly at first until incorporated, then increasing the mixer speed to high. Blend in the vanilla extract, salt and heavy whipping cream, and continue to whip on high speed until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix frosting to get rid of air bubbles.