Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting


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Incredibly moist, soft chocolate cake topped with a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter frosting is a dessert worthy of the most special occasions.

My husband often requests a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for his birthday. However, with just a few people in our house, making large-layer cakes can be dangerous for my sweet tooth.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting full cake on white stand

Especially when the cake tastes this amazing, it’s impossible to avoid eating a large piece with every meal – or even just substituting cake for our meal. We may or may not have a history of doing that in the past. But hey, birthdays demand cake – very good cake.

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This cake is very likely to become your favorite go-to chocolate cake for special occasions. It is soft (and did I mention that it’s crazy moist?) and delivers a rich chocolate flavor.

That’s not even mentioning the light, fluffy frosting that will melt in your mouth. Just don’t question the amount of butter and be sure to save some for the cake. You will want to have a spoon handy for tasting as you’re making it.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I will admit, this recipe isn’t simple. It isn’t complicated to make as the directions are straightforward. But it requires multiple bowls, stovetop cooking, and careful mixing. A labor of love worth every bit of effort.

Let’s talk for just a moment about the science behind really good chocolate cake. This cake is over-leavened, meaning that at first glance, this cake recipe has too much baking soda in it. Over-leavening a cake will cause it to sink in the middle when baking.

The extra baking soda causes the air bubbles to enlarge to the point they pop, causing a flat, dense cake. However, the extra baking soda is what helps give the chocolate its rich taste and helps lend a darker color to the batter.

This is why the boiling step is necessary for the recipe. Boiling the baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar together allows the baking soda time to react with the cocoa.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting slice with Reese's cups

This enhances the flavor of the cocoa and deepens the color. The boiling will also deactivate some of the baking soda. Resulting in the proper amount of leavening for baking.

The other unusual thing about this chocolate cake recipe is the instant coffee. I promise you will not be able to taste the coffee. The subtle flavors of the coffee enhance the cocoa leaving a richer chocolate taste.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation of baking soda, cocoa, and coffee. I think this pushes me into the category, of a “baking nerd”.

And I promise you don’t need to understand the chemical reactions that create this masterpiece. Measuring the ingredients correctly and following the recipe directions are more important to creating the perfect chocolate cake.

If you’re looking for a cake that’s a little simpler to whip up on a whim, this Ho Ho Cake is a family favorite from childhood and it’s a breeze to make.

You won’t believe how easy it is to make this addictive and flavorful Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting uncut on a clear plate

Chocolate Cake with Instant Coffee

To make this decadent and delicious chocolate cake you will need the following ingredients:

  • white sugar
  • salt
  • cocoa
  • baking soda
  • instant coffee granules
  • water boiling
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla
  • all-purpose flour
  • egg yolks
  • eggs
  • buttermilk
Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting slice with cake in the background

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Creamy and delicious peanut butter buttercream is easy to make:

  • butter 
  • peanut butter
  • powdered sugar
  • milk

To make the frosting, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes in a stand mixer until white and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute.

Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add enough milk until the frosting is a nice spreading consistency.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut Butter Chocolate Recipes

Chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. The salty-sweet combination is irresistible for those of us with a sweet tooth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Bread is a fun way to use up that extra zucchini. This is a moist, chocolate zucchini bread with a peanut butter swirl.

These Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips are a dream come true for any peanut butter and chocolate lover. Perfectly soft and chewy, you can’t eat just one.

Creamy, smooth batches of chocolate and peanut butter fudge are combined to make this chocolate peanut butter swirl fudge. It’s an unforgettable holiday treat.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Incredibly moist, soft chocolate cake topped with a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter frosting is a dessert worthy of the most special occasions.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Course: Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16


Cake Ingredients

  • cups white sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk


Cake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Set aside. In a saucepan over a cold stove, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and instant coffee. Pour the boiling water into the sugar-cocoa mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Turn the heat on under the saucepan and bring to a boil while continuing to stir. As soon as the mixture boils, remove from the heat and let cool in the saucepan for 10 minutes.
  • When the mixture has cooled for ten minutes, pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and vanilla, and beat on low speed to combine. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until combined. Last, add the egg yolks, eggs, and buttermilk, while mixing on low speed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans, bake for 23-26 minutes until the cake spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, before inverting over a plate or colling rack.

Frosting Instructions

  • Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add enough milk until the frosting is a nice spreading consistency.
  • To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving platter, Spread about a half cup of frosting on the top and then place the second layer on top. Finish frosting the cake with a knife and garnish with chocolate peanut butter cups if desired.


Serving: 1piece · Calories: 561kcal · Carbohydrates: 71g · Protein: 5g · Fat: 31g · Saturated Fat: 11g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g · Monounsaturated Fat: 8g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 100mg · Sodium: 309mg · Potassium: 134mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 57g · Vitamin A: 458IU · Calcium: 30mg · Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

{originally published 5/30/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/14/23}

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting cake slice with Reese's cups

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  1. aimee fauci says

    Let them eat cake!!! hee hee.. Is the cake rich.. like ‘Ow my tummy hurts after that huge piece’? It looks great… Have you thought about freezing pieces for treats throughout the week. If I don’t do this.. I WILL eat the entire cake! Connecting through SIT Link Up.

    • Mallory says

      Freezing pieces is a great idea! The cake is definitely sweet and moist! It all depends on your sugar preference I guess!

  2. Bree says

    Visiting from the SITS FB page – This looks incredible! It could effectively kill my diet in one bite, but you only live once, right? Thanks so much for sharing – I’m pinning this for later! 🙂

  3. elle says

    oh wow, not a huge fan on peanut butter because I overloaded on it as a kid but goodness, this looks so good and tasty.

  4. Niki says

    This looks amazing! My boyfriend love chocolate peanut butter anything so I’m definitely going to have to try this for his birthday! So glad you posted to SITS!

  5. Camila says

    This is mouth-watering! I just adore the mix of chocolate and peanut butter! wow, I’ll definitely try it! 🙂 thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says

    Seriously, it doesn’t get better than this!! I want to eat this now!! Thanks so much for linking up to Freedom Fridays! Sharing on FB and pinned! 🙂

  7. Jenna says

    You had me at chocolate cake…and those peanut butter cups didn’t hurt either 🙂 I really appreciated your explanation of the chemical process of baking and how the chocolate flavor is enhanced~being an impatient cook, baking is laborious for me, and I am always looking for shortcuts~ knowing the reasons will ensure I take the extra time and steps, thanks so much!

  8. Cathy says

    This cake looks delicious and decadent! I absolutely love the presentation!! PB & chocolate is a fave combination of mine! Checking this sweet dessert out from strut your stuff Tuesday!