The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

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I have this thing with giving food cheesy names. As in, I’m against giving food cheesy names. I apologize if it’s something you’re really into. To each their own.

Personally, when I hear the name of a recipe, I want it to tell me what’s in it. Telling me something is “Aunt Mary’s Super Special Layer Cake” doesn’t give me any idea what it is. And I would probably choose “Raspberry Lemonade Cake” over “Luscious Lemony Razzmatastic Dream Cake”.

It’s just who I am.

No judging.

I promise I won’t judge you for whatever you choose to call your recipes.

But I was trying to decide how to title this post, and I was kind of stumped. If it was just a cheesecake cake, I could call it “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake” and it would be a somewhat reasonable length. But it’s not just a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake cake, because it has the all-important  cookie layer, and I can’t just leave that out of the title. It would give people the wrong impression.

So I could call it Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, or I could call it Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake Cake. But I feel like it’s a little ridiculous.

So I think we’ll just call it the Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake for short.

The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake: two fudgy chocolate cake layer, a double chocolate chip cookie and a creamy chocolate cheesecake. The ultimate indulgence!


Anyway, so I had to choose a dessert to make for Easter at my in-laws. I know chocolate and peanut butter isn’t super Easter-y, but I’m never not in the mood for chocolate and peanut butter, so I went for it.

When I’m making something for a big dinner, whether we’re hosting or being hosted, I usually try to make something that I feel I shouldn’t be left alone with in our fridge. I had been dreaming up a chocolate cake, cookie, cheesecake combination for a long time, so I thought this was my chance.

You see, if I’m going to make a cake that weighs as much as my toddler, I feel like I probably shouldn’t eat it all myself.

The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake: two fudgy chocolate cake layer, a double chocolate chip cookie and a creamy chocolate cheesecake. The ultimate indulgence!

Kidding. I really don’t know how much the cake weighs.

But I do know that it is quite large. And that I’d rather not get too much larger myself.

One of the things I love about this cake is the mix of textures. The cake is so moist and fudgy. The cookie layer is a bit crisp on the edges and has crunchy chocolate chips. The cheesecake is decadent and creamy. Just a wonderful, wonderful combination.


So whether you’re feeding a crowd or you’re going to hide this away in your fridge for yourself, I won’t judge. Enjoy :)

The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Take your chocolate cake to the next level with a creamy cheesecake layer and a fudgy cookie layer!
Serves: 1 10" round cake, or about 16 servings
For the cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup strong hot coffee (or water)
For the cheesecake:
  • ⅔ cup chocolate (good quality chocolate chips or chopped milk, semisweet or dark chocolate -- depending on your tastes)
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla
For the cookie
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
For the frosting
  • 1½ cups butter
  • 1½ cups peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 5½ cups icing sugar
For the ganache
  • 1½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • ¾ cup milk
Important notes: you will want to use the same pans or pans that are exactly the same size for all components. I used 2 10" springform pans and my layers were about the right thickness. Each time, I line the springform pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick.
    For the cake:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 springform pans or cake pans the same size with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray. If using springform pans, line the outside with tin foil to catch any leaks.
    2. In a large bowl, with a stand mixer or a whisk, combine milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
    3. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and beat until just combined.
    4. Slowly stir in hot coffee or water.
    5. Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-30 minutes (baking time will depend on the size of your pans - check after 20 minutes), until a toothpick comes out clean.
    6. Cool to room temperature before freezing or chilling for at least a few hours before assembly.
    For the cheesecake:
    1. Line a springform pan (I used all 10" springform pans)with wax paper and spray with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Melt chocolate in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside.
    3. In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
    4. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth.
    5. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes, until set and doesn't jiggle. (*Note: the original recipe recommends a water bath. I'm a bit of a rebel -- obviously -- and rarely do water baths. I didn't this time and it didn't crack at all)
    6. Let cool to room temperature on the counter. Freeze or chill at least 3-4 hours before assembly.
    For the cookie:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a springform pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick.
    2. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
    3. Add egg and vanilla extract.
    4. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
    5. Press into prepared pan (I recommend lightly wetting your hands to spread the dough evenly in the pan). Bake for about 15 minutes, until set. Be careful not to overbake as it will be hard and difficult to cut through.
    6. Cool to room temperature. Chill or freeze cookie if not yet ready for assembly, or move on to assembly.
    For the frosting:
    1. Beat butter, peanut butter, vanilla and milk until smooth.
    2. Add in icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, then increasing speed to high, until light and fluffy.
    1. Set one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top.
    2. Set the cookie layer on top and spread a thin layer of frosting on top.
    3. Set the cheesecake layer on top and spread on a thin layer of frosting.
    4. Set the last cake layer on the very top. If the sides of your cake are quite uneven and you want to trim them, do that now with a serrated knife. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Set the cake in the fridge to set.
    5. Prepare the ganache: combine chocolate, peanut butter and milk in a small pot over low heat on the stove. Stir constantly until melted.
    6. Remove cake from the fridge and pour over the top.
    7. Garnish as desired, and devour.
    *Notes: I made this cake over several days. All parts of the cake freeze extremely well, so you can make the cake one day, the cheesecake another, the cookie another and then frost the last day. You can break it up however you want. I actually recommend assembling your cake when your cake and cheesecake layers are frozen, especially if you are going to trim the edges so that they are even all the way around.


    Cheesecake recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl.

    Cake recipe adapted from Sweet Anna’s.

    Cookie recipe adapted from Life, Love and Sugar.

    You might also like my Grandma’s Hot Fudge Sundae Cake!

    Grandma's Hot Fudge Sundae Cake -3

    Or these Cinnamon Roll Bites!

    Cinnamon Roll Bites -3

    More chocolate peanut butter treats from friends!

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie from Bakerita.

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cake from Life Love and Sugar.

    Molten Peanut Butter Chocolate Microwave Cake from Savory Nothings.

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    1. Tasha says

      I made this for my husband’s birthday today and it was a HUGE hit with all our friends and family! Thank you so much for such a great, easy to follow recipe!

    2. RaeLeigh says

      This may be a silly question but what is the difference between cocoa and cocoa powder? Or are they the same thing?

      • Ashley says

        I don’t know how substituting eggs in all of the different types of cake would work. You can always purchase and use an egg substitute, but aside from that I don’t know what would give you the same texture and cause the cakes not to become crumbly. Hope that helps somewhat!

    3. Rosie says

      Wow! So glad I stumbled across your website! What started with a search for a yummy crepe recipe has now turned into making a list of all the recipes I’m going to try of yours…starting with the cannoli crepes…mmmmmm….
      This cake looks A-MAZING! Chocolate and peanut butter are my favourite desserty foods, so thank you for coming up with a cake which also happens to be the size of a newborn! LOL
      Keep the recipes coming!

    4. says

      This is possibly the most amazing chocolate cake I’ve seen yet and I’ve seen quite a few. Well done, it looks fabulous and must be a dream to eat.

    5. says

      I made this for the fourth of July. It took a few hours but the end result was amazing. I recommend freezing each layer once it’s done; it makes the assembly process much easier. By the way I weighed the cake at the end – it weighed 7.6 pounds. That’s one serious cake.

      • Ashley says

        I definitely also froze my layers in between — much easier! I can’t believe it was over 7 pounds!

    6. says

      Ashley, you are too funny! I am the same way when it comes to names of recipes. In fact, when I get stumped on what to call a creation I just finished, I ask my boys and husband… and THEY come up with the cheesy names! Thank you for being on my team! lol
      Loving this recipe, by the way! Love you shared this peanut butter action at the party this week!

      • Ashley says

        Haha, I’m just not into all the fluff I guess. Thanks for hosting Gloria — I’ll definitely be back!

    7. Marcia Pruitt says

      I’m in the midst of making this cake for a friend’s birthday on Saturday. My cake layers turned out great. My cookie layer just came out of the oven and it looks good too. What kind of chocolate did you use for the cheesecake? I normally use the blocks of chocolate and they’re measured by ounces instead of cups.

    8. Emiy says

      I’m in the process of making this cake for my boyfriend, he’s been gone the last three weeks for his annual military training, so i really wanted to make something special for him and he LOVES chocolate with peanut butter. However, the cake is currently a disaster! I don’t know what I did wrong but the cake parts completely crumbled when I took them out of the pan. I want to try those layers again but I’m scared I’ll screw it up again! Plus he’ll be here tomorrow and I currently only have the cheesecake layer (which is freezing on the bottom layer of my spring form pan so it doesn’t crumble also)! Any advice? Please and Thank You!!!

      • Ashley says

        I’m sorry to hear that Emily! I have used this cake recipe a few times and it’s always been super moist. Was it crumbly because it was dry? The batter should be a pretty thin consistency before baking. Could if have been overbaked? If it was moist but crumbled, I’d say maybe give it more time and even stick it in the fridge for a but before removing from the pan. I also always line the bottom of my pans with wax paper so that I can easily flip them out and then just peel off the paper. I hope that helps!

    9. steffen horn says

      i love the recipe an want to bake it tommorow but actually i m not sure what size the “cup” should be?

      thankfull for any help :-)

      • Ashley says

        Hi Steffen! A cup is roughly 8oz, but it depends a little on whether something is wet or dry. If you stick with 8oz it should be okay — I’m not sure how much that would change the measurements.

    10. says

      I believe I’ve fallen in love <3 this is a gorgeous cake and totally rivals Cheesecake Factory's monster cheesecake/cakes. You're so lucky your folks will dig in with you; every time I try making something as indulgent as this, my family and friends can barely take a bite before diving for a cup of milk. But no problem I know I would have to hoard this! Can't wait to feature it in my weekly roundup :)

      • Ashley says

        Thanks Julie! I did it over a few days and froze the layers, so it wasn’t too labour-intensive. It’s definitely a big cake!

    11. Kelly says

      I really want to try this amazing sounding recipe!

      It may sound like a silly question but how big is a ‘cup’? I’m in the uk and usually measure in grams or oz.


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