The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

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.

UCPBC1

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.

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.

UCPBC2

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

Yield: 1 10" round cake, or about 16 servings

Take your chocolate cake to the next level with a creamy cheesecake layer and a fudgy cookie layer!

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup strong hot coffee (or water)
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 2/3 cup chocolate
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • For the cookie
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • For the frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 5 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • For the ganache
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup milk

Instructions

    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.
  7. For the cheesecake:
  8. 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.
  9. Melt chocolate in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside.
  10. 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.
  11. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth.
  12. 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)
  13. Let cool to room temperature on the counter. Freeze or chill at least 3-4 hours before assembly.
  14. For the cookie:
  15. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a springform pan with wax paper and spray with non-stick.
  16. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  17. Add egg and vanilla extract.
  18. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
  19. 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.
  20. Cool to room temperature. Chill or freeze cookie if not yet ready for assembly, or move on to assembly.
  21. For the frosting:
  22. Beat butter, peanut butter, vanilla and milk until smooth.
  23. Add in icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, then increasing speed to high, until light and fluffy.
  24. Assembly:
  25. Set one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top.
  26. Set the cookie layer on top and spread a thin layer of frosting on top.
  27. Set the cheesecake layer on top and spread on a thin layer of frosting.
  28. 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.
  29. Prepare the ganache: combine chocolate, peanut butter and milk in a small pot over low heat on the stove. Stir constantly until melted.
  30. Remove cake from the fridge and pour over the top.
  31. Garnish as desired, and devour.

Notes

*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.

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Cheesecake recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl.

Cake recipe adapted from Sweet Anna’s.

Cookie recipe adapted from Life, Love and Sugar.

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31 Responses to The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  1. Nick Dunn July 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    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.
    Nick Dunn recently posted…Data Visualization – Size of NFL Football Players Over TimeMy Profile

    • Ashley July 8, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

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

  2. Gloria // Simply Gloria July 1, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    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!
    Gloria // Simply Gloria recently posted…Show Stopper Saturday #46 ~ Chocolate Desserts!My Profile

    • Ashley July 2, 2014 at 11:36 am #

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

  3. Marcia Pruitt June 4, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    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.

    • Ashley June 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      I used good quality chocolate chips. I know that’s not very fancy! The people I feed would never know :) You could use your regular blocks of chocolate and just chop them up and measure in cups.

      • Marcia Pruitt June 8, 2014 at 6:18 am #

        Thanks for your help. The cake was a huge success last night!

        • Ashley June 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

          I’m so glad! Anytime :)

  4. Emiy May 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    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 May 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

      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!

  5. steffen horn May 19, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    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 May 19, 2014 at 6:33 am #

      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.

  6. Ala May 7, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    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 :)
    Ala recently posted…Vancouver, Rain-couver…My Profile

    • Ashley May 7, 2014 at 6:31 am #

      Chocolate and peanut butter are big loves of mine, too, Ala!

  7. Chet May 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Making this for Mother’s Day…will let you know but I’m expecting oohs and aahs!

    • Ashley May 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Awesome! I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  8. Julie @ This Gal Cooks May 6, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    Oh. Wow. This cake looks crazy good, Ashley! What a beauty. You did a great job. I’ve never made a cake like this. It kinda intimidates me. But you make it look easy! :)
    Julie @ This Gal Cooks recently posted…Marvelous Mondays 97 + Berry RecipesMy Profile

    • Ashley May 6, 2014 at 6:57 am #

      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!

  9. Shannon {Cozy Country Living} May 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    Wow! Now that is a cake! I have pinned this delicious dessert and will have to make it soon for my husband- he will just love this:) Thanks for sharing!
    Shannon {Cozy Country Living} recently posted…Baked Chicken Breast ParmesanMy Profile

    • Ashley May 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Hey — it’s my pleasure! Be sure to let me know how you like it!

  10. Kelly May 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    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.

    Thanks

    • Ashley May 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! It depends a bit on the ingredient. Roughly 8 ounces, though liquids and solids are a bit different. I hope that helps!

  11. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar May 5, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    My kind of cake! I love big, indulgent cakes that weight as much as a small child ;) Such a fun mix of textures – love it!
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar recently posted…Guava and Cheese PastriesMy Profile

    • Ashley May 5, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks Lindsay! Your cookie cake was awesome in it — so fudgy!

  12. dina May 5, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    it looks wonderful!

    • Ashley May 5, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      Thanks Dina! It’s pretty tasty :)

  13. Librarian Lavender May 5, 2014 at 2:55 am #

    This cake looks so good!
    Librarian Lavender recently posted…Forgive Me by Lesley PearseMy Profile

    • Ashley May 5, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      Thanks! It tasted pretty good, too :)

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