Time to get decadent with this rich and delicious peanut butter cake. This two-layer cake is filled with peanut butter frosting and finished with a chocolate ganache.
What’s in this Peanut Butter Cake Recipe?
This peanut butter cake is seriously one of my favorites! The chocolate ganache does all kinds of wonderful things and I love how it looks when it’s served to the table.
- Cake Flour: Gives the cake structure and makes it incredibly light in spite of the heaviness of the peanut butter.
- Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda combine forces to create a fluffy, light cake.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the flavor of the cake.
- Sugar: Brown sugar sweetens the cake, while powdered sugar sweetens the frosting without making it gritty.
- Milk: Adds moisture to the cake.
- Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture and makes this cake tender.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the peanut butter flavor of the cake and frosting.
- Eggs: Give the cake structure.
- Peanut Butter: Adds peanut butter flavor to the cake and frosting.
- Unsalted Butter: Gives the frosting structure.
- Heavy Cream: Helps thin the chocolate to drizzling consistency, creating a rich ganache.
- Chocolate Chips: Melt down to create a rich ganache. You can use milk, semisweet, or dark chocolate chips.
Pro Tip: Don’t use natural peanut butter, as it can separate and make the cake too oily.
Variations on Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake
This peanut butter cake is a great base for a variety of flavorful accompaniments. Try some of these suggestions:
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake: Add a thin layer of strawberry, raspberry, or concord grape jam to the cake layers before frosting. Leave off the ganache.
- Peanut Butter Banana Cake: Add slices of fresh banana on top of the peanut butter frosting between the layers. Drizzle with caramel sauce.
- Peanut Butter and Honey Cake: Use honey in place of some of the sugar in the frosting, and drizzle the finished cake with honey instead of ganache.
- Peanut Butter and Pretzel Cake: Crush up pretzels and sprinkle them on top of the frosting between the layers.
Don’t use natural peanut butter in this recipe. The oils will separate resulting in a not very pleasant cake.
If your cake is a bit flat, that’s most likely because you didn’t add enough baking powder. Also, be sure to check the expiration date on your baking powder! If it’s expired, it just won’t do the trick.
A dry cake can be caused by 2 things. You may have measured the ingredients incorrectly, or you might have overmixed the batter. It’s important to spoon and level your ingredients if you’re not using a scale, and it’s important to have a light hand when mixing the batter.
It’s best not to freeze this cake as the chocolate ganache can become dull when frozen. You can make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze those, then let them thaw at room temperature before frosting and decorating.
How to Store
Store leftover peanut butter cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy at room temperature.
How to Freeze
Freeze peanut butter cake layers tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying. I do not recommend freezing the ganache.
Peanut Butter Layer Cake Recipe
For the Cake
For the Frosting
For the Ganache
- ⅓ cup heavy cream 76 grams
- ¾ cup chocolate chips 128 grams
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs. Add in the peanut butter and mix. Add in the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the 2 cake pans.2 cups cake flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup milk, ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, ½ cup peanut butter, 2 large eggs
- Place into the oven to bake for 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once baked, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool to room temp.
- While the cake is cooling, make the peanut butter frosting by combining the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to allow the powdered sugar to be incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat for 3-4 minutes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip or a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off with ⅓ cup of the frosting. Set aside.1½ cups peanut butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the ganache, place the heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 60 seconds. Pour the heated heavy cream over the chocolate chips and let them set for a minute. Using a whisk or a fork, stir until the chocolate chips have completely melted and a smooth, chocolate ganache has formed. Set aside to cool.¾ cup chocolate chips, ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Once the cakes are cooled, place the first layer onto a cake stand or plate. Spread the remaining frosting onto the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top, making sure the sides meet up and that there is no overhang on any of the sides. Pour the chocolate ganache onto the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula or spoon, spread the ganache to the edges of the cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake if you wish. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow the ganache to finish setting up.
- Once the ganache has set, remove the cake from the fridge and pipe peanut butter swirls onto the top of the cake around the edge in a circle formation. Slice and serve.
- Cake Flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own by measuring 1 cup of all-purpose flour, removing 2 tablespoons from the cup, and adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk together and sift well before using.
- The less you mix this cake, the more tender it will remain so be sure to only mix until the flour is incorporated.
- Be sure to let this cake cool completely before frosting it with the peanut butter frosting to prevent the frosting from melting at all.
- Whip the frosting for 3-4 minutes for the best texture. If your frosting is too thick, you can add some heavy cream a tsp at a time.
- When making the ganache, instead of whisking, use an immersion blender for the best and most smooth texture. Once you pour the hot heavy cream onto the chocolate chips, let them set for a moment then blend until smooth.