Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake {My 30th Birthday Cake}

Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake

Today is the big day. Today I turn the big 3-0. I don’t look a day over 29, do I? 😉 I certainly don’t feel thirty. Not that I’m sure what exactly it should feel like. But I do know that today 30 will feel like getting pampered at the spa with a manicure/pedicure and a haircut. I’m pretty sure that I should have started doing this years ago. I mean, taking the day off from work and enjoying some relaxation? It’s a no-brainer. I think I may need to do this every year from now on, make it a tradition of sorts. Speaking of traditions…

I have created quite a tradition of baking myself a birthday cake over the last handful of years. The first year I did it I made an Oreo cheesecake, then I did an orange and cream cheese icing twist on Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, and now this beauty. Hmm, there seems to be a theme of cream cheese. I do love my cheesecake. And my cream cheese icings. And peanut butter. And chocolate. And, well, so many other things (pizza, burgers, popcorn, soft pretzels, pizza… oh, I said pizza already). But today I decided to celebrate not only my birthday, but my love of cheesecake, chocolate and peanut butter. And what a delicious celebration it is!

Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake

The inspiration for this dessert came from a couple of different places. First, let’s go back to an old-school favorite – the Dairy Queen ice cream cake. For the better part of 10 years, whenever my mom would ask what kind of birthday cake I wanted the reply was always the same: a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Truthfully, I could do without the ice cream or the whipped topping. I was in it for the fudge and chocolate crunchies in the middle. It was totally the best part. I always saved it for last, eating around it, and then savored each forkful. And so, I started off this dessert with that in mind. Being absolutely insane for chocolate and peanut butter together and loving peanut butter cups, I decided that chopped peanut butter cups would take the place of crunchies on top of the fudge layer.

The rest of the cheesecake took shape quite naturally. There needed to be an Oreo crust because I believe they make the best cheesecake crusts. Especially if peanut butter or other chocolate is involved. (In any other case, this shortbread crust is my go-to.) Given my love for cheesecake and my love for peanut butter (especially when sitting on top of a layer of fudge), I put together a peanut butter cheesecake. Finally, after making the Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte again for my Chief Culinary Consultant’s birthday back in February, I realized how much I love the idea of a chocolate ganache on top of a cheesecake-style dessert. It gives it a smooth and finished look and provides a great canvas on which to decorate!

Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake

And so there you have it: my decadent, rich and wonderfully chocolate-and-peanut-buttery 30th birthday cake.

It’s for the little girl in me that cherished a peanut butter and jelly sleeping bag more than anything when she was a kid. And for the slightly more grown-up girl that managed to grow out of a peanut allergy that reared its ugly head when she was 24. And that Reese’s Big Cup on top? My Chief Culinary Consultant bought me a whole bag of them the weekend after I learned I was no longer allergic last year. I have a soft spot for them now. Did I mention that my Chief Culinary Consultant is awesome in every way possible? He is.

Don’t wait for your birthday to make this; it’s much too good to keep filed away. Bake it, to celebrate all of the wonderful little things that happen between the birthday cakes.

Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake

Yield: 12 to 16 servings (depending on how generous you are with your cuts)

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (active), 5 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes


For the Crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely crushed or ground in a food processor
5½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

For the Fudge:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 miniature peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped and roughly chopped

For the Cheesecake:
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs

For the Ganache Topping:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F if you are using a dark or non-stick pan). Butter a 9" springform pan and set aside.

2. To make the crust, stir the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. (I like to use the bottom a measuring cup to press the crumbs around the pan. I've found that they get evenly distributed that way and end up looking neater around the sides.) Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let cool.

4. To make the fudge, put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately pour the simmering cream over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1-2 minutes, then add the vanilla extract and stir with a whisk or rubber spatula until smooth and combined. Pour the fudge into the cooled crust and spread evenly over the bottom. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and sprinkle surface with the chopped peanut butter cups. Return to freezer for 10 more minutes.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Scrape the bowl and mix on low for another 20 seconds.

6. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling over the fudge and peanut butter cups. Bake until the sides of the cheesecake are set and the middle just slightly jiggles, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour). Refrigerate the cheesecake at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled. To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the sides from the springform pan.

7. Before serving, prepare the ganache topping. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately pour the simmering cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1-2 minutes and then stir with a whisk or rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the ganache on the top of the cheese and, using an offset spatula, spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Return to the refrigerator to set the ganache, about 20 minutes. Garnish as desired (I had some leftover peanut butter icing from filling a customer cake, so I piped that around the border).


198 Responses to “Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake {My 30th Birthday Cake}”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 4
  1. Cookin' Canuck on March 25, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Happy Birthday! What an incredible birthday cake. I might have to make that for myself on my birthday.


  2. Courtney on March 25, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Happy birthday! Yummy cake!


  3. Jodie on March 25, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Happy Birthday! This birthday cake isn’t messing around! Yum!


  4. Bob on March 25, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Now that’s a birthday cake! Many happy returns! :)


  5. Shauna from Piece of Cake on March 25, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Well. Sweet baby Jesus, happy birthday to YOU and THERE GO MY HIPBONES. Gorgeous, decadent, insane.

    Celebrate and enjoy! Only two years in, I think my 30s will be my best years. Just sayin’.


  6. Matt on March 25, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Happy birthday! The cake looks beautiful. And it seems PB & chocolate has been the theme for birthday cakes recently.


  7. Jennifer on March 25, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Happy Birthday! The 30’s are supposed to be the new 20’s is what I’ve heard. Well I’m 33 and I feel like I’m 40, LOL. I hope your birthday is wonderful. Your cake looks absolutely scrumptious!


  8. Joanna on March 25, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Happy Birthday!
    Your cake looks really yummy… makes me wanna lick it right off the screen! hahaha 😀
    I’m absolutely sure it tastes yummy too. 😀


  9. Jacquie on March 25, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Happy Birthday!!! Even though I’m partial to my traditional seven-layer chocolate pound cake as my birthday cake, this looks amazing! :)


  10. food librarian on March 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful cake!!! Wishing you a great year! – mary


  11. Sana on March 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Happy Birthday Michelle!! I made the Oreo Cheesecake yesterday and its now chilling in the fridge. Cant wait to go home and try it ! This one looks great ! yum


  12. Pablo on March 25, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Happy Birthday!!! It’s my birthday, too!! And my cousin Steve’s! A great day. Best wishes for your 30’s (mine have been great); This is my last year in the 30’s :-(


  13. thecoffeesnob on March 25, 2010 at 4:09 am

    This cake looks utterly delicious!

    Happy birthday! May all things delicious and fantastic come your way!


  14. Becka on March 25, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Happy birthday to you! 😀

    The cheesecake looks great. I don’t like peanuts (blasphemy, I know) but I have a jar of almond butter in the cupboard looking for a use, so this has inspired to me to do some adaptation & experimentation, thanks! :)


  15. Melanie on March 25, 2010 at 6:31 am


    I share your love for chocolate and peanut butter and I think I would die if I found I was allergic. So glad you’re out of that stage!

    And HAPPY Birthday!!


  16. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on March 25, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Happy Birthday Michelle!!

    That looks amazing! I’m drooling!


  17. linda on March 25, 2010 at 6:45 am

    michelle…wishing you a very magical 30th!
    the cake looks amazing & since i am on a roll re-creating ALL your cheese cakes…this baby is up next…so excited…
    wishing you all the best!


  18. Marika on March 25, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I too always asked for a Dairy Queen ice cream cake when I was little. AND — I ate it the exact same way as you!! I always always always saved the fudge and crunchies for last! Happy Birthday!


  19. Erin on March 25, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Happy Birthday! This cheesecake looks like the perfect way to celebrate!


  20. Bakingaddict on March 25, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Happy birthday!! What a wonderful cake. I love chocolate, peanut butter and cheesecake too :) This would also be my ideal birthday cake. Thanks for the recipe.


  21. Rodzilla on March 25, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Happy B-day! The cake looks amazing.


  22. shelly (cookies and cups) on March 25, 2010 at 8:08 am

    haapy birthday and oh yeah…this cake looks like a spa day cake 😉


  23. Stephanie on March 25, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Happy Birthday! I turn the big 3-0 in a few weeks too — eek! Can’t believe the 20’s will be gone forever! That cake looks absolutely divine. You are very talented!


  24. Taylor on March 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday! This cheesecake looks divine…wish I would have made this for my birthday a couple of days ago!


  25. Melissa on March 25, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Happy Birthday, Michelle! This looks delish! I turned 30 in January & the best thing about being 30 is that you quickly forget that you are 30! Enjoy your day!


  26. leslie on March 25, 2010 at 8:58 am gotta stop counting birthdays now.
    You actually just celebrated the 1st anniversary of your 29th Birthday!!!!!
    Happy Birthday!


  27. jaclyn@todayslady on March 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Happy Birthday!!!! What an amazing looking cake!!! I used to love Dairy Queen cakes too and the fudgey crunchy centre was soooo the best part!! This cheesecake would top that any day though!! Have such a fun day and enjoy your cake!!


  28. gingela5 on March 25, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Happy birthday!! And that looks delcious!


  29. Michelle from Made By Michelle on March 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

    That cake looks amazing! I am a huge fan of the Dairy Queen ice cream cake too. In fact, I had one for my 30th birthday!


  30. Heather on March 25, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Well Happy Birthday! I too will be turning 30 this year, not that I look it or feel like it either!
    Your cake is beautiful, and delicious looking. indulge in an extra piece just for me…that cheesecake def doesn’t fit into my diet plan! :)


  31. Alissa on March 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Wow, that looks good. I want to make that – STAT!


  32. Devona on March 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Happy Birthday to you. I am almost halfway through my 30’s and must say I have never made myself a birthday cake. We have so many September birthdays that when it’s my turn I don’t want cake anymore…lol. Maybe this year will be the year I change that. This cheesecake looks good.


  33. Natalie (The City Sisters) on March 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Happy Birthday…and welcome to your thirties (I just hit the big 3-0 in December). So far so good!! I’m super jealous of your birthday cake and even though it’s only 8:30 in the morning I am dieing for a piece!!


  34. Meg on March 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Happy Birthday!

    I’m jealous that you grew out of your peanut allergy — I found out I was allergic to peanuts when I was 24 (a couple years ago) and now that I know it’s possible – praying I’ll grow out of it! I love all things peanut butter.. :( How did you find out you were no longer allergic?


  35. Julie @SavvyEats on March 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Happy birthday! Your cake looks fantastic


  36. Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. on March 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Happy Birthday! This looks amazing! I love chocolate and peanut butter!


  37. Mackenzie@TheCaramelCookie on March 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Happy Birthday!!! That cheesecake looks so amazing and decadent!


  38. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on March 25, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Happy birthday! I turn the big 3-0 in four months. It still blows my mind, but now that’s is almost here it doesn’t seem as scary. I think your birthday plans are right on!


  39. Meghan on March 25, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Happy 30th Birthday!!!! This is the perfect cake to celebrate! You’ve decorated it so beautifully! I always asked for the Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake as a kid too – I agree that the chocolate crunchies and fudge are the best :)


  40. annie on March 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Happy Birthday, Michelle. What an awesome decandent cake for a special birthday.I’m waaaay past the 30’s, but 30’s are great…you’re mature, but still young .Such a great idea of pampering yourself on your birthday, so enjoy every moment.


  41. Cara on March 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Happy Birthday! I’m the big 3-0 too! Your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love the peanut butter-chocolate combo. Definitely bookmarking this one to make for a special occasion!


  42. Emily on March 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Happy birthday to you! What a sweet way to celebrate. I’ve definitely added this to my must make list. Have a wonderful day!


  43. Ria on March 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Happy Birthday!! I lovvved your birthday cake! It is spectacular!


  44. Margaret on March 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    OH!! MY!! That looks FANTABULOUS!! My birthday is coming up and this may be my treat as well.

    Happy Birthday Michelle. And thanks for the (cheese)cake.


  45. Eileen on March 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Happy Birthday!!!


  46. Katy R on March 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Happy Birthday! What a great way to spend the day!


  47. Bibi on March 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday!

    The cheesecake looks fabulous. I bet it tastes even better.


  48. Alta on March 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Wow, yum! Happy Birthday! I turned 30 just a few months ago – so far, I haven’t really noticed a difference either! I wish I would have had this cheesecake for my birthday!


  49. Michelle on March 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day!


  50. Joan on March 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Happy Birthday! Love your blog and recipes. I have gained weight just looking at your cheesecake.


Comment Pages 1 2 3 4

Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)