Let me start off this post by saying this peanut butter frosting is the stuff of DREAMS. It’s luscious and fluffy and I want to slather it on everything. And this Chocolate Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting is my new favorite cake. I know I say that a lot when it comes to new posts on here, but it’s extra true this time.
This cake is so soft and moist and delicious on its own, which is a great way to start off a cake recipe because it can only get better from there. The cake layers get an extra boost of moisture and flavor from a brown sugar soak (a simple syrup). The whole thing is slathered with swoops of super creamy peanut butter frosting and finished off with a little sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top. (And mini peanut butter cups if you can manage not to eat them all first.)
The chocolate cake itself is adapted from my Classic Chocolate Cake recipe to make three layers instead of two. As I blabbed on and on about it in that post, this recipe is wonderful because it’s one bowl for the cake and I just use a hand held electric mixer. Honestly, you could probably just whisk it all together really well if you don’t feel like bothering with mixers! It’s that easy.
I switched up the sugars a little bit in this version and used a combination of granulated and dark brown sugar. The cake also gets a brown sugar soak on top after baking to keep it nice and moist and tender. I don’t usually do soaks or simple syrups on cakes mostly because it seems like an extra unnecessary step, but I think it works really well here!
This buttercream starts with some softened butter, a little bit of shortening, and plenty of creamy peanut butter. I use heavy whipping cream instead of milk in this recipe because I wanted this frosting to be super fluffy and creamy. You can still use milk if that’s what you have on hand, but you might not need as much.
If you love all things salty and sweet, this cake was made for you. The cake is soft and chocolaty, the frosting is sweet and creamy, and it’s finished off with a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt. I added it just around the top edge of my cake. The bite you get with all three is the best bite! It’s like sea salt on top of chocolate chip cookies. Just a little hint to balance things out.
Store this cake covered at room temperature either in a cake container or loosely covered with plastic wrap.
Hope you love this Chocolate Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting as much as I did and happy baking, friends!
Chocolate Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting
Brown Sugar Soak:
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup strongly brewed and cooled coffee
Peanut Butter Frosting:
- 1 cup butter softened
- ½ cup shortening
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup whipping cream or milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- flaky sea salt
- mini peanut butter cups
- Cocoa powder
To make the brown sugar soak:
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely before using. Once cool, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Brown Sugar Soak can be made a day or two in advance.
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with butter and dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and coffee. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until all ingredients are incorporated. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, shortening, and peanut butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add cream, salt, and half of powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until mostly combined, and then high speed until completely combined. Repeat with the second half of the powdered sugar. Mix for 1 minute longer, until fluffy and all ingredients are well combined.
- Once cool, level the cake layers with a cake saw or serrated knife. Drizzle brown sugar soak over each of the layers. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Top with a large dollop of frosting and spread evenly over the top. Repeat with the second and third layers. Spread frosting around the outside of the cake.
- Decorate as you like! There should be enough frosting to include some piping or embellishments around the top. Sprinkle the top edges with flaky sea salt, mini peanut butter cups, and a light dusting of cocoa powder.
- Store cake covered at room temperature.
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Patricia Cosby says
i don’t see that the recipe mentions what do do with the brown sugar soak?
Hi, Patricia! Sorry about that, but thanks for bringing it to my attention! I’ve added it to the recipe card – it goes on the cake layers right before the frosting. Hope this helps!
Beth Karches says
Could I do this recipe with 3 six inch cake pans?
hi! the baking time will differ and there will be batter leftover, but you could do three six inch cake pans if you’re alright with that!