Moist and fudgy layers are paired with spoon-licking, delicious buttercream in this Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. The chocolate peanut butter drip is utterly mouthwatering and perfect for celebrations grand and small.
Why You'll Love this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
This chocolate cake is moist with a fudgy, tight crumb. It uses an oil-based recipe that comes together easily with mostly pantry staples. No need for a stand mixer, you can make this cake with just a large mixing bowl, a whisk, and a spatula.
The peanut butter frosting is so good that you will want to eat it straight from the mixing bowl with a spoon. It is creamy and nutty with just a pinch of salt that pairs perfectly with the rich chocolate cake.
Take this layer cake to the next level by adding the chocolate peanut butter drip. Now it is ready to party!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Ingredients
Here is a quick glance at some of the ingredients needed beyond basic pantry staples. Find a complete list with quantities in the full recipe to follow.
- Sour Cream
- Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
- Hot Water or Coffee
- Creamy Peanut Butter
- Confectioners' Sugar
- Corn Syrup (for the glaze)
- Dark Chopped Chocolate
Tools and Equipment Needed
These are the primary tools you will need to bake this cake. I've listed my recommended cake decorating equipment too.
- 6-inch Cake Pans, with sides at least 2-inch high
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- Hand or Stand Mixer (for the frosting)
- Rotating Cake Stand
- Offset Spatula
- Piping Bag
- Star 1M Piping Tip
- General Kitchen Tools (measuring spoons, cups, etc).
Sour Cream - You can swap out the sour cream and milk for equal parts buttermilk. The taste and texture will be comparable. If you opt for a buttermilk substitute (ie milk + vinegar), the end results will likely be slightly off.
Coffee - You can use instant coffee dissolved in hot water. If you prefer, skip the coffee all together and just use plain hot water.
What Makes a Moist Chocolate Cake
This oil-based cake remains moist well after baking. Use a neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed.
Most cakes need a bit of fat and acidity to create a tender texture. Here, we use sour cream to do just that. Where many chocolate cakes use buttermilk, I prefer sour cream mixed with a bit of milk as it has a higher fat than buttermilk.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder gives the cake a deep, chocolatey flavor. Look for a brand with around 20% fat content.
How to Make This Easy Chocolate Cake
This cake is easy to make and comes together quickly in just a couple mixing bowls. To start, whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, and eggs. Next, add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
Add about half of the dry ingredients to the batter and stir together with a large rubber spatula. Carefully pour in half of the hot water or coffee and use the whisk to combine. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and liquids and mix until smooth.
The cake batter will be rather thin. That is okay!
No, unfortunately you can’t use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed. One is acidic while the other is neutral. You could try in a pinch, but understand that it will change the results.
You can bake it in two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Adjust the baking time accordingly. Make sure to only fill the pans ⅔ of the way full.
Choose a good quality aluminum cake pan with at least 2-inch tall sides.
Yes! Wait until the cakes have completely cooled before wrapping well in plastic. If desired, wrap in a layer of foil or pop the cakes into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Baker's Notes For a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- You can swap out the sour cream and milk for equal parts buttermilk. The taste and texture will be comparable. If you opt for a buttermilk substitute (ie milk + vinegar), the end results will be slightly off.
- Unfortunately you can’t use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed. One is acidic while the other is neutral. You could try in a pinch, but understand that it will change the results.
- Although highly recommended, you may bake this cake without coffee. Use plain hot water instead.
- For the frosting, make sure the butter is very soft but not greasy and melted.
- Use no-stir, commercial creamy peanut butter, like Skippy or Jif.
For more tips on creating the chocolate drip, click here.
Serving and Storage
This recipe makes 8 to 10 slices of cake. It should be enjoyed at room temperature. Leftovers may be kept at a moderate room temperature in a cake box overnight.
Beyond the first day, store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow cake slices to come to room temperature before serving.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes
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Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
For the Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cups (210g) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (66g) Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teas baking powder
- ¼ tea baking soda
- ¾ tea salt
- 1 ⅔ cups (330g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120ml) canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (120ml) whole milk
- ⅓ cup (80ml) sour cream
- 2 teas vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) hot coffee
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
- pinch salt
- 2 teas vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
- 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 ½ tbsp creamy peanut butter
- pinch salt
To Make the Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
- Whisk or sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth.
- Add the milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Stir together until smooth.
- Add in half of the flour mixture to the batter and stir to combine with a large rubber spatula.
- Carefully pour in the coffee and whisk until smooth. Repeat with the remains flour and coffee.
- Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 to 20 minutes before removing them from their pans. Continue to cool the cakes on a wire rack before storing, slicing, or frosting.
To Make the Peanut Butter Frosting
- Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy (1 to 3 minutes). Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.
- Stop the mixer and add 3 cups of confectioners' sugar. Mix in the sugar on low speed until just combined.
- Add the cream, salt, and vanilla and mix to combine.
- Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix for 2 to 3 minutes until the frosting is completely smooth and creamy. If needed, add more confectioners' sugar. The frosting should spread easily without tearing the crumb of the cake but thick enough that it holds shape when piped and spread between the layers.
- Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to vigorously stir the frosting by hand for up to 30 seconds to make it smooth and knock out any air bubbles.
To Make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze
- Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup in a small a saucepan and set on the stove over medium heat.
- Gently heat the ingredients until the cream begins to simmer and the chocolate starts to melt. Add the peanut butter and salt. Stir everything together until smooth.
- Pour the glaze into a heat-safe container and refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it is no longer warm to the touch. When ready to use, the glaze should be fluid but not hot.
To Assemble the Cake
- Once the cakes are completely cool, trim the tops until flat with a serrated knife.
- Place on layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish
- Dollop on about 1 cup of peanut butter frosting and spread with an offset spatula until smooth.
- Add the next layer of cake and repeat.
- Crumb coat the cake with thin layer of frosting all of the sides and top of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to chill the frosting before adding the chocolate peanut butter glaze.
- When ready, spoon the glaze over the top edge of the chilled cake to create the drips.
- Pour more of the glaze on the top of the cake and spread carefully with an offset spatula.
- For the decorations, fill a piping bag fitted with a star 1M piping tip with any remaining buttercream. Holding the bag at a 45 degree angle, pipe continuous spirals around the top edge of the cake.