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Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

March 25, 2008

Kyle and I had my parents, brother and brother’s girlfriend up for the weekend recently to celebrate my dad’s birthday and I knew that I wanted to make a kick-ass cake. I was tired of relying on mixes and since starting in the Tuesdays with Dorie group, my baking confidence has been knocked up a couple of notches.

Speaking of TWD, my fellow TWDer, Amanda of Slow Like Honey, posted this fabulous-looking and sounding cake a couple of weeks ago that made me basically drool on my desk when I saw it. There was no question in my mind what kind of birthday cake to make after seeing this one! I was raised in a household of peanut butter lovers where you could sometimes find my mom or brother eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon (sorry guys!) or be privy to watching my dad eat a NY bagel as a sandwich with one side smothered in cream cheese and the other side smothered in peanut butter – yes, that’s right, he ate them both on one bagel…smooshed together. It was a sight to be seen, let me tell you.


Anyhow, I know there are tons of different chocolate cake recipes out there and know first hand how incredible the Hershey’s recipe is but this time, I decided to stick with Amanda’s recommendation and make Dorie Greenspan’s cocoa buttermilk cake along with Ina Garten’s peanut butter frosting. Seriously, how could I go wrong with this one?

Well, the result was beautiful. Dorie’s cake recipe produced a perfect chocolate cake – not too sweet (and with totally flat tops not requiring any shaving!) making it a great complement to the finger-licking good peanut butter frosting from Ina. Seriously, I could have eaten a whole lot more of the frosting out of the bowl than I actually did but realized that there wasn’t really enough to begin with. Next time, I’ll double the frosting recipe so that I can frost the sides…although I have to say that the naked sides do look pretty cool. 🙂

Thanks so much to Amanda for sharing this recipe!!!


Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
source: 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.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2008 2:45 pm

    Wow! This cake looks amazing. And I’m excited to bookmark a no-fail chocolate cake recipe. The peanut butter cups for embellishment are sinful and perfect.

  2. March 25, 2008 2:50 pm

    um…that looks perfect. i mean absolutely perfect. very nicely done–your increased confidence is obviously well-founded! 🙂

  3. Annie permalink
    March 25, 2008 6:05 pm

    This is just gorgeous, Tara! I think the naked sides look really great. I love Ina’s frosting. I have a friend who I think this would be the perfect bday cake for – his bday is in July, but I’m definitely making it then 🙂

  4. emily permalink
    May 28, 2008 12:50 pm

    hey that looks so good

  5. October 8, 2008 6:02 am

    Oh my, your cake looks so good! Pretty presentation, too!

  6. stephie permalink
    December 30, 2008 10:48 pm

    hey , this cake is very delicious lol!!!

    is my favorite cake, because i love the reese´s

  7. whatsonmyplate permalink
    January 5, 2009 10:01 pm

    Thank you for bringing this cake into my life. Do I need a special reason to bake it? I think “Wednesday” is a good enough reason!

  8. January 14, 2009 3:58 pm

    Wow, this is hard to resist!!! It has all the ingredients that I love! Looks really delicious!

  9. Bri-bri permalink
    May 4, 2009 6:20 pm

    this is so yummy im using this as my project 🙂

  10. julia permalink
    May 5, 2009 8:06 pm

    my mom and I looked at this cake and said “wow that looks good” I think ill make that myself. My dad would be all over that

  11. oneordinaryday permalink
    May 6, 2009 6:10 pm

    Sounds delicious and it looks so great w/ no frosting on the sides.

  12. June 5, 2009 4:23 pm

    That looks like a super fun cake! I know quite a few who crave Reese’s.

  13. Jessica permalink
    July 2, 2009 8:22 pm

    I just made this peanut butter frosting and its amazing. I cheated a little and used a box cake mix (milk chocolate) instead of going all out but it still tastes gourmet buts its soo easy to make. This is definetly a go to recipe. I am thinking of using the frosting on brownies next time!:-]

  14. Pamela permalink
    July 19, 2009 10:19 am

    I made this for my husband’s work potluck, and it apparently disappeared quickly…thanks!

  15. August 26, 2009 10:38 am

    What a great cake! I am so drooling over these photos right now too!! Just gorgeous!

  16. October 12, 2009 10:04 am

    My dtr-in-law asked me to find a recipe for peanut butter cup cake. I had never heard of it. I went on the internet and found this. Wow, I can’t wait to make this for her birthday. It is this Friday. She just had back surgery and is recovering so maybe this will be something special I can do for her. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. March 16, 2010 12:34 am

    Wow this tasted great. I made it today and it came out fantastic. Thanks for the post!


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