This chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is a classic flavor combination that really never gets old! The rich chocolate cake is paired with a creamy peanut butter frosting, then topped with tons of peanut butter cups to take this sheet cake onto another level!
Why I love this chocolate peanut butter cake:
There’s multiple reasons why this chocolate sheet cake is so great, but my favorite part is how easy it is to make to be able to feed a whole crowd! The batter comes together in just one bowl and there’s no need to fuss with a number of chocolate cake layers or a bunch of unnecessary ingredients. I love how moist the chocolate cake is due to the combination of oil and whole milk and the chocolate flavor really shines through thanks to the addition of hot coffee to amp it up (don’t worry, you can’t taste the coffee)!
Ingredients you’ll need for chocolate peanut butter sheet cake:
For the chocolate cake:
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Whole milk
- Vanilla extract
- Freshly brewed coffee
- All-purpose flour
- Natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
For the peanut butter frosting:
- Softened butter
- Creamy peanut butter (not the natural stuff)
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Mini peanut butter cups (optional for decorating)
How to make this peanut butter chocolate cake:
- Combine the wet ingredients.
- Sprinkle in the dry ingredients.
- Mix to form a loose batter and bake.
- While the cake bakes, make the creamiest peanut butter frosting.
- Top the cooled cake with the frosting and decorate with Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Pro tips for the best homemade chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting:
- Use freshly brewed coffee in the batter (it doesn’t have to be scorching hot but fresh, hot coffee is great because it helps work out any lumps that may be hanging around in the batter).
- Don’t over-mix the batter! You just want to fold everything together until there is no visible flour remaining. The batter will be runny but that’s ok- it will turn into delicious, moist crumbs once baked!
- Grease or line your baking pan. If you plan on serving the sheet cake right from the pan, simply greasing it with a little non-stick spray or softened butter is great! On the other hand, if you want to fully remove the cake from the pan once it’s baked, I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper and leaving a little overhang on the sides to act as handles to easily lift the cake up and out of the pan for decorating!
- Use softened butter in the frosting! If the butter isn’t softened, you’ll end up with a lumpy frosting that has pockets of un-mixed butter throughout. To get it as smooth as possible, you’ll want the butter to be softened.
- For the frosting, stick with Jif or Skippy peanut butter brands. You don’t want to use any of the natural peanut butter brands for this because your frosting will end up being very oily.
- The consistency of the peanut butter frosting is sort of up to you! If you like a thick frosting, don’t add as much milk, if you like it soft and light, add more milk, and if you like it in-between, follow the ingredient amounts listed in the recipe card below!
Sure! Like most recipes that are baked in a 9×13 pan, this chocolate peanut butter cake recipe can be cut in half and baked in a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan. Keep in mind the bake time may vary for smaller cakes.
Sure! The two are usually interchangeable in cake recipes but I like using a neutral oil for this cake because it results in a light, airy crumb. If you choose to switch the oil out for butter, make sure it’s melted first!
I highly recommended adding freshly brewed coffee to chocolate cakes because it really complements the chocolate flavor and actually makes the cakes taste more chocolatey! If you really don’t want to add the coffee, you can substitute hot water instead.
For the frosting you’ll want to stick with Jif or Skippy peanut butter brands. You don’t want to use any of the natural peanut butter brands for this because your frosting will end up being very oily. Also be sure you’re using softened butter in the frosting so that the end result is super smooth and creamy!
You can cover this cake and refrigerate for up to 5 days!
Chocolate Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1 whisk or rubber spatula
- 1 9×13 inch baking pan
- 1 electric hand mixer
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting:
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter Jif or Skippy brand
- 5 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
For decorating (optional):
- 1 bag mini peanut butter cups chopped
- *Set the butter for the frosting out at room temperature to let it fully soften in advance!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Brew one cup of coffee (it doesn't matter what kind, just whatever you drink at home as long as it's unflavored).
- Add the hot coffee to the mixing bowl and mix again.
- Sprinkle in the flour, natural cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a runny batter forms. Make sure there are no streaks of flour remaining (especially on the bottom of the bowl).
- Grease a 9×13 inch pan and pour in the cake batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
- For the frosting, combine the softened butter and peanut butter in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whip the two together using an electric hand mixer until the mixture is very smooth and fluffy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and milk, then mix to incorporate.
- Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and switch to a rubber spatula for mixing to avoid clouds of powdered sugar flying everywhere!
- Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the frosting all over the surface of the chocolate cake. If you like, you can use a spoon or offset spatula and make swooping motions with the frosting to give it a textured look.
- Optionally chop up mini peanut butter cups and sprinkle them all over the top of the entire cake before serving!