This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake includes layers of chocolate cake and creamy peanut butter frosting, covered in a decadent chocolate frosting. Add some Reese’s peanut butter cups for a truly delectable cake!

Want more cake recipes? Try my Hershey’s Chocolate Cake, Missippi Mud Cake, or Berry Cake!

A cake stand displaying a Chocolate peanut butter cake with a few slices removed, showing the layers inside. .

Talk about a chocolate lover’s dream, this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake has it all with decadent, moist chocolate cake and delicious blend of two of my favorite flavors. This is a great cake to make in stages ahead of time, making it really easy for any occasion!

How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:

Combine dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add wet ingredients: eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Dry cake batter ingredients added to a mixing bowl, then milk, eggs and vanilla added.

Stir in boiling water or hot coffee (batter will be very thin). pour batter into greased round cake pans with parchment paper liners at the bottom.

Boiling water added to chocolate cake batter, then the batter in a round cake pan, ready to bake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Cut cakes in half, horizontally, using a sharp serrated knife, so you end up with four, thin cake rounds.

A baked round chocolate cake layer being cut in half horizontally with a serrated knife.

Peanut Butter Filling: Add ⅓ of the peanut butter frosting on top of the first cake layer on the serving plate. Repeat, adding frosting between the remaining 3 cake layers.

A round baked cake layer with peanut butter frosting smoothed over it, then three more layers of chocolate cake added on top with peanut butter frosting between the layers.

Make Chocolate Frosting: Pour melted butter in a large mixing bowl and stir in cocoa powder. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and beat with electric mixers until smooth. Thicken or thin, as needed. Spread frosting evenly over the outside of the cake.

A layered round chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Decorate (optional) the top of the cake with piped swirls of chocolate frosting on top and mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, if desired.

A round layered Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake decorated with Reese's peanut butter cups on top.

Variations:

  • One Layer Cake: Grease 9×13” pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool before frosting with a layer of peanut butter frosting. Refrigerate to harden the frosting, then add a layer of chocolate frosting, if desired.
  • Cupcakes: Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes. I think it’s fun to scoop a small piece of cake out of the center of each cupcake and pipe some peanut butter frosting in the center. Then frost the cupcakes with chocolate frosting and add a mini Reese’s cup on top.
  • Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack. Frosting alternating lines of chocolate and peanut butter frosting.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The baked cake and frostings can be made a day or two in advance. Wrap cakes tightly, and store frosting in an airtight container. Allow frosting to come to room temperature before using.

To Freeze: Allow cakes to cool completely, then cut in half horizontally and wrap each round in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze frosting in a freezer safe, air-tight container and allow to come to room temperature before using.

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Recipe

A cake stand displaying a Chocolate peanut butter cake with a few slices removed, showing the layers inside. .
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Cool time 10 mins
Total 1 hr
Add to Meal Plan

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Ingredients
 
 

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water , or hot coffee
  • 1 batch Peanut Butter Frosting

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for topping on cake, optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in the boiling water (your batter will be very thin–that's OK!). Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  • Once cakes have cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to cut each cake horizontally in half, so that you end up with four, thin cake rounds.
  • Place one cake layer on serving plate. Smooth ⅓ of the peanut butter frosting on top of that cake layer. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, adding a layer of peanut butter frosting between each layer of cake.

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • Add melted butter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in cocoa powder. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat with electric mixers until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar to thicken frosting or milk to thin it, as needed.
  • Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread the frosting evenly over the outside of the cake. I piped swirls of extra chocolate and peanut butter frosting on top and topped with a mini Reese's peanut butter cup. 
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

To Make Ahead: The baked cake and frostings can be made a day or two in advance. Wrap cakes tightly, and store frosting in an airtight container. Allow frosting to come to room temperature before using.
To Freeze: Allow cakes to cool completely, then cut in half horizontally and wrap each round in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze frosting in a freezer safe, air-tight container and allow to come to room temperature before using.
One Layer Cake: Grease 9×13” pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool before frosting with a layer of peanut butter frosting. Refrigerate to harden the frosting, then add a layer of chocolate frosting, if desired.
Cupcakes: Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely completely before frosting. Makes 24-30 cupcakes. I think it’s fun to scoop a small piece of cake out of the center of each cupcake and pipe some peanut butter frosting in the center. Then frost the cupcakes with chocolate frosting and add a mini Reese’s cup on top.
Bundt Cake: Properly grease and flour the pan and cook the chocolate cake for about 50-55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire cooling rack. Frosting alternating lines of chocolate and peanut butter frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 5gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 453mgPotassium: 287mgFiber: 3gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 325IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 1.8mg

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I originally shared this recipe March 2016. Updated September 2021.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    My name is Astrid and I am 11 years old and made this for my dads birthday. It turned out amazing and was easy to bake. The one thing that worried me is that my batter was soupy, but, somehow it worked! Thank you for the recipe, and I will use it again soon!

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