Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting
For as much as I love peanut butter, it’s pretty surprising that I’ve never attempted a peanut butter cake before now. I think I’ve tried to put peanut butter into just about every other baked good that I can think of, but it never occurred to me to make a peanut butter cake, doh! Last weekend, my husband took a bite of one of my ice cream cone cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and asked if peanut butter cake was a thing, and could I make one with chocolate frosting?
Yes, and yes!
I started researching peanut butter cakes and came across quite a few recipes that ran the gamut on the peanut butter spectrum. I usually prefer cakes that include oil, as they tend to be more tender and a bit fluffier. I did see a few peanut butter cakes that included oil, but the descriptions all seemed to err on the side of “subtle” peanut butter flavor. I wasn’t in the market for subtle – I wanted to take a bite of the cake and feel like I just dug into the peanut butter jar.
In the end, I settled on the version that appears in the Joy the Baker cookbook – it had the highest amount of peanut butter by a long shot. The cake is on the dense side, but moist and extremely flavorful. It was a fantastic choice! I topped it with Joy’s chocolate buttercream frosting, which was also great.
If you adore peanut butter and chocolate as much as I do, then you’re going to LOVE this cake! It’s full of great flavor and an extra sprinkling of honey roasted peanuts for good measure.
One year ago: Muddy Buddy Marshmallow Cereal Treats
Four years ago: Homemade Primanti Bros. Sandwich
Six years ago: Eggplant Lasagna Tart with Parmesan-Basil Crust
Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting
For the Cake:
- 2¼ cups (281.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) salt
- ¾ cup (193.5 g) creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (240 ml) + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the Frosting:
- 1½ cups (340.5 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (86 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) salt
- 4 cups (480 g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (61 ml) whole milk
- ¾ cup (178.5 ml) heavy cream
- ⅔ cup (83.33 g) chocolate Ovaltine
- Honey roasted peanuts, chopped, to garnish
- Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the next.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Slowly pour in all of the buttermilk. When the mixture begins to come together, add the remaining flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the mixture comes together. Using a rubber spatula, finish mixing the batter, ensuring that there are no pockets of flour remaining.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes. Place the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- Make the Frosting: With an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the cocoa powder and salt and beat at medium speed until thoroughly creamed together (mixture will be thick). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix on low speed while adding the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup (or small bowl), stir together the heavy cream and Ovaltine. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour half of the mixture into the frosting in a steady stream. Once all of the cream is incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the frosting is too stiff, you can add a little more of the Ovaltine mixture a small amount at a time until your desired consistency is reached (for this cake, I would recommend not adding much more than half of the mixture, as the frosting could become too soft). Once your desired consistency is reached, turn the mixer on medium-high speed and whip for 30 seconds.
- Assemble the Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread with 2 cups of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer, then use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Press the chopped honey roasted peanuts into the icing around the sides of the cake. Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Peanut butter & Chocolate! Wow! You have just given a mouthwatering dish to try out! Thank you so much!
Hi there! I am in the middle of making this cake- I baked the cakes and will embark on the frosting today. My question is this- I forgot to get the ovaltine from the grocery store, do you think the frosting will be amazing without the ovaltine? Thanks for your help!
Hi Erin, I think it would be fine! Enjoy!
So sad to say that this cake turned out dry. When reading reviews on another bloggers site about this recipe, I see that others got the same result. Wish I would have seen those reviews before making and serving this to guests. Have loved many of your recipes though. Maybe the brand of PB makes a difference?
Made this cake today for my mother on Mother’s Day. The cake had a good taste but was a little dry. I used a different icing. What could I have done wrong?
I was wondering if this recipe can be used to make cupcakes? I want to make it for my coworkers and take into work tomorrow. It would be much easier portion control wise if I did cupcakes vs a whole cake.
Hi Ashly, I haven’t tried to make cupcakes, but I think it should work just fine. Enjoy!
Made this cake/frosting for my daughter’s birthday yesterday and it was delicious! Everyone enjoyed it. Now I have a container of Ovaltine in the pantry ….. guess I’ll have to make this again! Thanks for this recipe!
That cake is a thing of beauty!
Hi Michelle! I just wanted to compliment you for this recipe- I made it yesterday for our Sunday dinner and my family said that out of every dessert I’ve baked, this one is hands-down their favorite! You are my go-to site whenever I want to try a new dessert and all of your recipes have turned out beautifully, but there is definitely something special about this! I also substituted Nutella for the Ovaltine and instead of crushed peanuts, I used some Reese’s Sundae topping instead because I had it in my pantry and, let’s face it, peanut butter chips and cookie bits never hurt anything. Kudos to you for another grand slam!
What is chocolate Ovaltine, and where can I buy it?
Can I use just regular Baker’s chocolate?
Thank you so much in advance.
Hi Yelena, Chocolate Ovaltine can be found in the grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes. You cannot substitute regular chocolate in this instance.
Could Milo be used inplace of the Ovaltine?
Hi Cherrie, I am not familiar with Milo… what is it?
Simple and great use of peanut butter, kids lve it, and your recipe may be a goft for my children, Always new idea blog ;)
It won’t even last in my house for long as peanut butter is our favorite .
This looks amazing! By the way if you get a chance check out Pioneer Woman’s PB Sheet Cake if you want something quick and easy – but I def will be making yours in the very near future! :)
This is so yummy! Will try this recipe today. :)
Sound delicious! I love peanut butter frosting… maybe a peanut butter overload cake is in my near future? ;)
@Marla — Yes, a full cup of cocoa! I made this frosting when I first saw it on JTB’s blog, and I couldn’t believe how much it tasted like a chocolate malt. It’s terrific, and now I can’t wait to try it on this PB cake. A certain PB lover in my orbit is going to be deliriously happy.
Looks delicious!! I need to make this! My husband is all about peanut butter and his birthday is in Septrmber. Is there any particular brand of peanut butter that you recommend?
Hi Terry, I always use Skippy peanut butter.
This looks so delicious. Is the cup of cocoa powder in the icing correct? That seems like a lot so just want to make sure before I try this. Can’t wait!
Hi Marla, Yes, that’s correct!
I’m currently at the airport eating a bagel. I’m pretending the bagel is this cake, lol!
I know it’s a bikini season but who cares when you’ve got something that delicious in front of you! Plus, the weather in England is not for bikinis! ;)
Peanut butter and chocolate – can’t get much better than that! This cake looks amazing!
My favorite flavor combo-love it! I usually make a gf chocolate cake with PB frosting and sprinkled with Reeses PB Cups. YUM!!
Have a great day!
Can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m going to try using Nutella instead of Ovaltine because I have a jar of it.
That looks divine! The chocolate frosting looks so fluffy and rich, mmm :)