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chocolate & peanut butter does a body good

(Update- I entered this recipe into The Peanut Butter Boy’s 3rd PB Exhibition Event! Check out his great site for all things Peanut butter inspired)

This is the kind of cake that brings out your inner child. You know what I mean? The kind of cake that brings out your worst 5-year-old behavior. The kind where you just want to scream “Gimme gimme gimme”. A cake that you made for your best friend’s birthday but in reality, you want to hoard it all for yourself. You fantasy about licking the frosting off the entire cake and chomping happily on the bits of Reese’s peanut butter cups sprinkled all over. Diets be damned. YOU WANT THE ENTIRE THING.

Have I got your attention yet?

The two layers of Cocoa Buttermilk cake came from Baking: from my home to yours and the frosting was created by the lovely Ina Garten, from the Barefoot Contessa. And sprinkled on the inside and all around the cake was cut up Reese’s peanut butter cups.

I searched far and wide for some kind of Peanut Butter cake, but couldn’t find one that seemed to have the perfect consistency that I was searching for. Light and fluffy, but insanely peanutty and buttery. My biggest pet peeve is dry, flat, and flavorless chocolate cake. I don’t think there is anything worse than blah cake, especially blah birthday cakes so I turned to a book that has yet to let me down.

I was so excited to make this cake that I even left work early just to start baking. My best friend is a peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast so I knew that my delicious concoction would make her day. But after assembling my goods and getting my butter ready, I realized that I was out of sugar. And with butter all over and the oven on, I was in pickle. But I carried on, hoping that the deep chocolate flavor would make up for the lack of sweetness. Little did I realize, the ½ cup of sugar missing would probably change the structure of the cake.

Sure enough, after the cake was baked and cooled, the middle sunk in. I wanted to seriously smash the crap out of those cakes with my big rolling pin. But after I calmed down (and cleaned up the mess I had made) I just cut off the top of the cake, and nibbled on the left over parts. No harm, no foul. But let that be a lesson to you: always check your supplies.

Despite the initial baking problem, the cake came out good. It was a little dry, probably because I overmixed it, but the frosting made up for.

Oh the frosting. For the love of God, try this frosting. The creamy peanut butter mixed in with the sugar and whipped up will make you groan with delight. I threw in some chopped peanut butter cups into the middle to give the cake some nice crunch and after assembling the layers, the cake came together beautifully. It was a little crumby, but I chalk that up to my overmixing and the missing sugar.

The results? The peanut butter cups add a sweet crunch to the creamy frosting and the cocoa buttermilk cake is a good basic cake for you build on. The cake almost didn’t make it to my friends house because I wanted to keep it all to myself. Screw the birthday, I wanted it.

But, I restrained myself as much as I could. Honest. But I won’t lie. I couldn’t help myself from saving myself a slice or two. Or three.

But to be completely fair, she had another cake too. A store-bought Mudd Pie that was pretty tasty. But not nearly as delicious as my Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cup Cake.

Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
from Baking: from my home to yours and Barefoot Contessa


2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)
Countless amounts of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, smashed or cut up.

Peanut Butter frosting recipe follows


Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and, if you want, add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (Once the layers are cooled, they can be wrapped airtight and left at room temperature overnight or kept frozen for up to 2 months.)

To Assemble the Cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost the top of the layer, and sprinkle the smashed up peanut butter cups inside. Be careful to not overload the inside with peanut butter cups or else it will look uneven when you place the top layer.

Next, cover with the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing the frosting for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look. Press the remaining peanut butter cups around the sides of the frosted cake, and if you want you can sprinkle them on top too.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 1 day, if that’s more convenient) to set the frosting, then bring it to room temperature before serving.

Peanut butter frosting:
from The Barefoot Contessa

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

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March 9, 2008 - 9:12 am

brilynn - Wow! That is a serious cake, it looks awesome!

March 9, 2008 - 10:01 am

adrienne - Oh, my gosh. That looks Amazing. I want one, right now!

March 9, 2008 - 10:25 am

slush - That is a killer looking cake! My hubs will love this. His fav candy is PB Cups.

March 9, 2008 - 10:36 am

joythebaker - That cake looks amazing! I wouldn’t have made it to the birthday party… the cake would have been mine all mine! You’re a better person than I.

March 9, 2008 - 11:04 am

Cakespy - Oh my oh my oh my oh my *faints* this looks incredible–very rich and very tasty.

March 9, 2008 - 2:08 pm

Jessica - That a really awesome looking cake! I want some.

March 9, 2008 - 3:09 pm

The Sweetest Week Ever- Cakes at JoyTheBaker - [...] of Slow Like Honey made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Cups on the inside and outside. [...]

March 9, 2008 - 3:24 pm

Kevin - That looks so amazing! So chocolaty and covered in peanut butter.

March 9, 2008 - 4:43 pm

pandaberry - oh my goodness that looks so dangerous!!
anything with peanut butter cups has my seal of approval!

March 9, 2008 - 8:12 pm

Amanda - Thanks everyone :)

March 10, 2008 - 7:47 am

robin (caviar and codfish) - I think my heart skipped a few beats when I saw that 2nd pic. Oh my god, I NEED this cake!

March 10, 2008 - 8:49 am

Karina - That is quite possibly the best looking birthday cake I’ve ever seen. What a lucky best friend you have!

March 10, 2008 - 9:00 am

Patricia Scarpin - I’m glad you took a breath and didn’t smash the cakes – this is so beautiful, Amanda!!
And peanut butter + chocolate make anyone happy. :)

March 10, 2008 - 11:41 am

Tartelette - Wow…it’s like I have gone to paradise and that’s what they serve! Splendid!

March 10, 2008 - 12:31 pm

a. grace - it’ll take more than a napkin to sop up the drool triggered by those pictures…:)

March 10, 2008 - 4:17 pm

Amanda - Karina, yes she is quite the lucky one. I try to remind her every day too :)

Patricia, I came pretty close to tossing in the towel and starting over, but once you frost it, you cant tell that this cake had a few problems at all.

Helene, this is exactly what my idea of heaven looks like!!

March 11, 2008 - 3:01 am

mari - BEAUTIFUL! I’ve found the raison d’être for the last of the 2-lb bag of Reese’s that are lounging on top of my fridge. Thank you!

March 11, 2008 - 5:08 am

another letdown « slow like honey - [...] in my defense, instead of baking this week’s pick, I just had to make this Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday cake with peanut butter frosting for my best friend’s birthday day. And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t [...]

March 11, 2008 - 11:37 am

smellslikehome - Holy crap, that is seriously one of the most incredible cakes I’ve seen in a LONG time. EXCELLENT job! :: wiping the drool off my keyboard ::

March 11, 2008 - 9:35 pm

Ashley - Wow that is a VERY impressive cake creation!! I love it. I love that you mixed in some peanut butter cups into the icing. I’m going to have to try out this cake at some point! I found a recipe for an extremely delicious and moist chocolate cake (just omit the cinnamon and the sugar topping): I don’t always like chocolate cake but I loved that one.

March 12, 2008 - 6:39 am

Dana - Whoa. I think I just tried to lick my computer screen. That cake looks awesome! Chocolate + peanut butter = bliss.

March 12, 2008 - 9:39 am

My Sweet & Saucy - This is looks deadly! I just found your blog and now I’m already hooked!

March 13, 2008 - 12:03 am

peabody - What a fabulous looking cake.

March 14, 2008 - 11:34 am

Tempered Woman - oh my~ my hubby is a certifiable Reeses addict. I’m going to have to keep this one on speed dial for the next time I need ammunition to buy something big. ;-) The cake looks absolutely beautiful!

March 28, 2008 - 6:44 pm

indaycarling33 - chocolate and peanut butter…can’t go wrong. looks soooooo good, i can just taste it!! i gotta try out the recipe

April 5, 2008 - 12:27 pm

eliza - this says you’re a peanut butter addict :D

April 22, 2008 - 11:22 am

Elizabeth - OH YUM!! that is my favorite flavor combination as well! I made the barefoot cupcakes like a year ago and they were the best thing I had ever baked in my entire life! (up until then! :-))

May 15, 2008 - 12:57 pm

Foodaholic - Wow, that is an amazing looking cake. Perfect for my friend’s birthday. She loves PB & Chocolate!

May 16, 2008 - 8:03 am

Kylie - Jesus christ that looks fricking DELICIOUS! I HAVE TO MAKE THAT!!!

May 20, 2008 - 12:07 pm

Nick - Good lord! That is one of the most delicious cakes I have ever seen. That truly looks unbelievable. Your killin’ me.

May 21, 2008 - 5:46 am

wonderment » Blog Archive » Recipe Linkfest 2, the fatty edition - [...] Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting [...]

June 6, 2008 - 2:30 am

  links for 2008-06-06 — Mama’s Bloggin - [...] chocolate & peanut butter does a body good « Slow like Honey OMG. (tags: chocolate recipes cake baking peanutbutter) [...]

June 10, 2008 - 10:22 am

orangedress - Baking From My Home to Yours is my absolute favorite baking book. It has yet to let me down as well!

June 12, 2008 - 11:54 am

e - Hi. Thanks for submitting this to our event. PBE #3 is going to be a tough competition to judge!

June 13, 2008 - 6:50 pm

Nicole - Oh my goodness that looks so delicious!! I am all over baking and then devouring that whole delectable thing.

Thank you for sharing!

June 17, 2008 - 8:39 pm

Leah - Thank you so much for posting this on the internet. This year my husband is joining the air force and he wanted a special cake for his last birthday as a “non-veteran civilian”. It’s like a giant inside out reese cup and he literally -drooled- when he saw this.

Very wonderful cake !!!! ^^

July 13, 2008 - 11:46 am

giz - What an amazing looking cake – I’m tagging and definitely going to make this one. Congrats on 1st place at PBE – it was fun, wasn’t it?

July 15, 2008 - 12:07 pm

e - Congrats on your 1st place finish in PBE#3, can’t wait to see more of your delicious entries in the future!

July 16, 2008 - 3:15 pm

Kylie - Holy crap that looks INCREDIBLE!!!! I am SO making that!!! THANK YOU!

August 7, 2008 - 8:25 pm

the token california girl « Slow like Honey - [...] Posts chocolate & peanut butter does a body gooda single girl’s manifestoend of summer party attiremy cupcakes bring all the boys to the yardcalling [...]

August 12, 2008 - 1:51 pm

Kyla - Ok, so I have had this page saved in my bookmarks for a very long time…well my boyfriend happens to LOVE a peanut butter and chocolate combo, while he doesnt care for sweets in general (what are you supposed to bake for a birthday cake for someone who doesnt like sweets???) So here goes…I will attempt this feat tonight! wish me luck!

October 13, 2008 - 11:23 am

Joanna - will you please mail me this cake!! i’ll give you my address haha this is one of the best lookin cakes i’ve seen.

October 17, 2008 - 1:34 pm

Rachel - So sorry that my using this picture caused such distress. I attributed the photo to your site from the very beginning. Most bloggers are happy to get links from other blogs, but I have taken both the photo and link to your blog off of my site.

October 17, 2008 - 2:45 pm

Amanda - Rachel- I sent you an email detailing the circumstance. I hope you accept my apologies for any grief. Unfortunately, I’m not a virgin to plagarization and to say I am on high alert is an understatement. I did leave a comment two minutes after my initial one but that didn’t make it to the blog :(

November 4, 2008 - 10:58 am

Rachael - Do you think I could substitute heavy cream instead of buttermilk? I always end up throwing away half the thing of buttermilk when I buy it.

November 6, 2008 - 11:00 pm

Roundup: Peanut Butter Exhibition #3 - (Cup)Cakes | The Peanut Butter Boy - [...] Place: Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake w/ Peanut Butter Frosting from Amanda at Slow Like Honey created something much more than a combination of two recipes. I saw [...]

June 4, 2009 - 12:34 pm

christakoskosky - Can you make this as a sheet cake?

June 4, 2009 - 8:32 pm

Amanda - It’d be hard to do it with the layers, but if you try it, let me know. I think you would have to keep an eye on the baking time, as it will to stay in the oven a lot longer than this one.

June 8, 2009 - 9:07 am

DJ Alisha High Five…. « Radio 1190 - [...] 4)Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting- The name says it all. To know me is to know I love to cook and bake and I found this delish recipe online that I’m making for my sister’s baby shower! Get the recipe 5)Loving the new Jarvis Cocker record “Further Complications” out on Rough Trade! Things that don’t get a high five at all, but wanted to mention: [...]

June 13, 2009 - 2:53 pm

Shannon - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! I have made it a few times and always get rave reviews from it!

June 29, 2009 - 5:19 am

choccycake - That looks like a delicious cake – thanks for sharing!

July 26, 2009 - 3:15 pm

Lisa - I’ve been looking at a lot of recipes on the internet and I’ve got to admit, this is the first time I have sat up in my computer chair and mouthed “Oh My Goodness”. I am soooo trying this cake, if it’s the last thing I do.

June 4, 2011 - 5:53 am

s - Amanda/Slow Like Honey:
Moist Chocolate Cake with light fluffy peanut butter frosting is of regional popularity for some time now in Central Pennsylvania/ Schulkillhaven County. I recall eyeing a very similar cake to this one under a glass covered cake stand nearly 10 years ago at a family run home town restaurant and then enjoying cupcakes that were brought into my office by a co-worker/lady from the very same town! I no longer work in PA but always regret not having tried to get her recipe.When I praised her excellent baking, she acted as though these PB Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes were the most common item and what was I fussing about.I have never forgotten them or that initial layer cake that caught my eye on that cake stand under the glass.I have actually spent a lot of time looking for a similar recipe which one would think would be easy to find given the abundance of online recipe sites today.However, I never could come close to finding a similar recipe. I have found alot of heavy PB and Choc desert combos but nothing light, soft, moist, fluffy and ‘Simply’so commonly good like hers. Your combo of recipies looks very close to it. I will try it! I will forego the PB Cups 2 save some calories. Thank you so much! Your writeup about the inner 5 year old is SOOO true!

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