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.

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Comment

  • March 25, 2008 at 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.

  • March 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM

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

  • Annie
    March 25, 2008 at 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 🙂

  • emily
    May 28, 2008 at 12:50 PM

    hey that looks so good

  • […] frosting.  Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.Source: inspiration from Smells Like Home, cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, frosting from Ina Garten Possibly […]

  • October 8, 2008 at 6:02 AM

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

  • […] Inspired by Annie’s Eats and Smells Like Home. […]

  • […] Originally from Smells Like Home, seen on Annie’s Eats; cake recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, […]

  • stephie
    December 30, 2008 at 10:48 PM

    hey , this cake is very delicious lol!!!

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

  • January 5, 2009 at 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!

  • January 14, 2009 at 3:58 PM

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

  • […] I suggested peanut butter cake of some sort and stumbled upon this jewel while looking for recipes http://smellslikehome.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/reeses-peanut-butter-chocolate-cake/. I sent it to Cassiboy for review and due to the favorable reaction, we decided to try […]

  • Bri-bri
    May 4, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    this is so yummy im using this as my project 🙂

  • julia
    May 5, 2009 at 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

  • oneordinaryday
    May 6, 2009 at 6:10 PM

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

  • June 5, 2009 at 4:23 PM

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


  • […] inspiration from Smells Like Home, cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, frosting from Ina […]

  • Jessica
    July 2, 2009 at 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!:-]

  • […] found this at:  Smells Like Home; Originally from (cake) Baking: From My Home to Yours – Dorie Greenspan and (frosting) […]

  • Pamela
    July 19, 2009 at 10:19 AM

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

  • August 26, 2009 at 10:38 AM

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

  • September 22, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    […] a 14″ round cake in none other than a slight variation of my most favorite homemade cake: Peanut Butter Cup. But I got nervous about serving a peanut butter cake to 50 people and I knew of at least one guest […]

  • October 12, 2009 at 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.

  • March 16, 2010 at 12:34 AM

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

  • Liz
    July 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Do you think this could be made and frozen in advance?

    • smellslikehome
      July 15, 2010 at 2:24 PM

      Liz, i’d say yes but i’ve never tried it. You’d have to freeze the cake unwrapped then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to avoid messing up the frosting.

  • Joy
    September 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday as he is obsessed with Reese’s anything. It was just phenomenal! The cake is just sweet enough to let the absolutely addictive peanut butter icing be the star of the show and not so sweet as to make your teeth ache. I followed the recipe to the letter except for two tiny changes: I added semi-sweet mini choc chips to the cake batter rather than the melted choc and this turned out nicely; also, I found that I needed to add a bit more cream to the icing to get the gooey consistency I wanted. Definitely let the cake reach room temp before serving or it has a somewhat dense texture (not bad though). Better yet, I have discovered the beauty of microwaving a slice of the leftovers to elevate this to warm ‘n gooey cake-gasm status in 20 sec flat. Get off your computer and GO MAKE IT, for someone’s birthday, for yourself, or heck, to celebrate the fact that it’s 3:09pm on a Thurs. The reason doesn’t matter, just make this cake.

  • Snowy
    December 8, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Ah, the perfect recipe for my Dad’s 51st birthday! Last year he didn’t get a cake because we were moving house. 🙁 Ever since I saw this cake, I knew I had to make something similar for dad. This looks to be exactly what I wanted! I think if I bump up the icing and use a chocolate genache for the outside, we’ll have a decent replica on our hands! 😀 Thank you for posting!

  • Zauq e Pakistan
    May 26, 2021 at 3:21 AM

    this was the perfect recipe, really new for me at least, thanks for sharing