Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Here’s how it went down on Monday night.  My roommate and (incidentally) younger sister Casey and I bought three bags of candy to satisfy the trick-or-treaters we expected to come knocking.  We live in an apartment building, so figured we wouldn’t get that many kiddos come to beg for candy.

We were wrong.  By 5:30pm our bowl of Three Musketeers, York Peppermint Patties and Take Five bars was running low – dangerously low, some might say.  So Casey, excellent roommate and sister that she is, ran out to the corner store to re-stock our candy bucket.

She was gone for about fifteen minutes, during which time a few boatloads of adorable pirates, strawberries, mickey mice and, my favorite, one pint-sized Justin Bieber came and depleted our stock, almost entirely.  Returning with a bag each of miniature Kit-Kats, Milky Ways, and M&Ms, as well as four (!) large packages of regular-sized (!) Reese’s peanut butter cups, we high-fived while refilling our bucket, eager to please more of our adorable trickster/treaters.

We sat on the couch with our candy bowl brimming, waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more.  One group of haphazardly costumed teenagers, clearly too old to be going through the trick-or-treat song and dance, came knocking unabashedly.  They took handfuls of loot and went on their way.  We shrugged and wondered who’d be next.  Batman?  A pumpkin?  Baby Cookie Monster?

Nope.  That was it.  After the teenage dreams, our doorbell sat quiet and our candy bowl, all shining and strategically replenished, sat entirely full.

…Fate?  is that you?  Alright.  I’ll take it from here.

Things to do with leftover Halloween candy:

  1. Eat Kit-Kats for breakfast
  2. Make candy bark
  3. Eat Kit-Kats for lunch
  4. Make M&M blondies
  5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

If I was smart, which it seems I am not, I would have added a few crumbled Reese’s cups between the cake layers, for an extra peanut buttery candy punch.  You are probably smarter than me, so maybe you’ll do that.


for the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg

for the frosting:

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups, to decorate


To make the cake, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.

In a third bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy (I use a stand mixer for this step).  Add the egg and mix vigorously until combined.  Add half of the dry team (flour, cocoa, etc.) to the butter/sugar/egg bowl, and mix gently until incorporated.  Then add the wet team (buttermilk/vanilla), mixing until just combined.  Finally, add the rest of the dry team and mix the batter gently, until all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the cake has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool the cake completely before cutting it in half, horizontally, and frosting.  (For a nice cake cutting/frosting tutorial, check out this video from Zoe Bakes).

To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.  Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt and mix, starting slowly, until completely smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.

When you’re ready to frost the cake, cut it in half horizontally, so you’re left with two rounds of cake of even thickness.  Place one cake round on either a cake wheel or your serving platter (if you’re going to frost the cake right on your serving platter, place little pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake, so you can easily pull them out after frosting and be left with a clean platter) and top with an even layer of peanut butter frosting.  Place the second cake round atop the first, and, starting from the top and working your way down the sides, frost the double layer cake until you have a nice, even, smoothly frosted cake.  Decorate with Reese’s peanut butter cups and enjoy!  The cake is best eaten as soon as possible after frosting, but will keep for a few days, well wrapped or in the refrigerator.

Makes one double-layer 8-inch cake.

This entry was posted in Breads & Cakes, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  1. emily says:

    oh em gee. if i didnt already stress-eat all my leftover candy, i would make this tonight.

  2. rachel adler says:

    i believe ive already made my enthusiasm for this cake quite clear.

  3. jane bursky says:

    what would we do without our chef molly???????? kind of stressing though…don’t think i could do this!!! but i sure do love you!

  4. ileana says:

    Chocolate and peanut butter, yum. Love your presentation of this cake, too.

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