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a 6 layer chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate cake drip

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 slices


This is the ultimate cake for peanut butter cup lovers! This moist chocolate cake is 6 layers and smothered in smooth peanut butter frosting. Topped with chocolate ganache and peanut butter cups, this peanut butter chocolate cake is so rich, so fudgy, and so so delicious.


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups (300g) all purpose flour* see notes for GF option
  • 1 cup (90g) dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (235ml) milk, room temp
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) hot water
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup (250g) creamy no-stir peanut butter
  • 2 cups (220g) powdered sugar
  • 23 tbsp milk

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 oz dark chocolate (about 1/4 cup chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • Peanut butter cups (regular and mini), for decorating
  • Finely chopped salted roasted peanuts, for decorating


Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the inside of 3 6″ cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Also fit the pans with cake strips if using.
  2. First, stir together the milk and vinegar in a measuring glass and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla, followed by the milk and vinegar mixture.
  5. In another measuring glass, mix together hot water and espresso powder.
  6. Dump the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and whisk together as best you can (the dry ingredients will resist at first but just keep mixing and it will slowly come together).
  7. With some dry ingredient swirls still visible in the mix, pour in the hot coffee and continue to whisk until smooth.
  8. Distribute the batter between the three cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. They’re done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool inside their pans for about 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before moving on.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  1. When the cakes are completely cooled, make the frosting.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
  3. Mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. The buttercream should appear thick and slightly lumpy after the second cup. Mix in 1 tablespoon of milk at a time to smooth out the buttercream. It should be smooth and creamy but still thick and sturdy.


  1. To turn 3 cake layers into 6, first level off the tops of each cake either by hand with a knife or use a cake leveler.
  2. Once all the layers have an even top, go back and cut each layer in half like a hamburger bun. This can again be done by hand with a large knife or use a cake leveler.
  3. To stack the cake, spread about 3/4 cup of frosting between each layer. This buttercream recipe makes just enough for the layers of this cake so you shouldn’t have any left at the end.
  4. Spread the buttercream all the way out to the edge and then some. Then once all the layers are stacked, go back and smooth out the buttercream edges to that they’re flush with the cake. This will create a naked cake affect.
  5. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator to chill while we make the ganache

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Add the chocolate to a dish and the heavy cream to a heat safe measuring glass. Microwave the cream for about 1 minute or until bubbly and steaming.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a couple minutes, then whisk to combine.
  3. Transfer the ganache to the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes. Do not pour the hot ganache over the cake as it will just drip off the cake.
  4. To test if the ganache is ready to drip, place a small spoonful of ganache off the side of the cake. If it drips down and stops halfway or before it reaches the bottom of the cake, it’s ready.
  5. Pour the ganache around the top edge of the cake and allow it to drip off the sides. Return the cake to the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the ganache to thicken (this creates the perfect consistency to allow all the peanut butter cups to stick).
  6. When the ganache still appears glossy but visibly thickened, arrange the peanut butter cups on top followed by a sprinkle of chopped nuts. All that’s left to do is slice and enjoy!


GLUTEN FREE – Replace this chocolate cake with my gluten free chocolate cake recipe for a gluten free version.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cooling Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: peanut butter chocolate cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake recipe

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