Pixelated Crumb

The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

Can I let you in on a little secret? Baking brings out the perfectionist in me. I have very high standards for how things look, especially if it’s going to end up on my blog. And it was especially important to me that this cake look perfect. Why? Because this is one of my favorite cakes, right up there with the chocolate raspberry cake.

making the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

The first time I made this cake, way before I started blogging, it looked perfect. Just gorgeous. And then when I made it for the blog last week, well, it was ok, but it wasn’t up to my standards. I let the chocolate ganache topping cool too much (what can I say, our apartment is sadly a refrigerator in the winter) before pouring it on the cake and ended up having to spread it rather than letting it drip down the sides. Did it change how the cake tasted? No, not at all. But it mattered to me. I wanted the cake to look perfect. I need everything I can to get you to get into your kitchen to start making this because I’m convinced the world would be a much happier place if everyone could just get a slice or two of this cake. It is that good.

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

That’s why this past weekend, I headed to the kitchen and made it again. It wasn’t exactly a hardship, because making it again meant that we got to have some cake and eat it too. The chocolate layers are rich and moist and perfect. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting is smooth and decadent. And the chocolate ganache on top with just a hint of peanut butter? Come on, how can this possible go wrong! This cake is not only stunning, it is good. It is really, really, really good. And insanely rich and decadent, which is why my coworkers will be enjoying some of this cake tomorrow (otherwise, Joseph and I will have major belly aches).

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

When I made this cake last week (you know, the cake I was so embarrassed of I couldn’t take any pictures of it), it was for a birthday bash at my in-law’s house. The two birthday girls, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, aren’t particularly chocolate peanut butter fanatics like my brother-in-law. But I’ve made them the chocolate raspberry cake the last couple of years and it was about time to share my other favorite cake with them. I think there may have been some skepticism at first, but after one bite, the room was filled with rave reviews. One friend even said she’s not a fan of chocolate and peanut butter together, but this cake had her converted.

I’m telling you, this cake is amazing. Make a cake right now and share a couple of slices with your neighbors. World peace, here we come.

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

Adapted from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes via Smitten Kitchen

This cake is seriously intense, in a very good way. Treat it with some cautious respect and serve it in thin slices with a glass of cold milk (or if you're like me and not a big milk fan, a tall glass of water).

The recipe has you make this using three 8-inch cake pans, but I only have 2, so decided to go with 9-inch pans since I have a ton of those. If you only have two, you can just bake them in batches. I like to spread the work over a couple of days, so I often make the cakes a day or two in advance, freeze them, and then proceed with the frosting and ganache on the day that I'm going to serve it.


For the Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

For the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half


For the Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least half an hour, or up to a couple of days, in advance.

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

For the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

  1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Assemble the Cake

  1. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate the frosted cake for at least half an hour to set the frosting.
  2. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.