A rich, fudgy chocolate layer cake with a no-bake peanut butter cheesecake filling in the middle covered with a creamy, smooth milk chocolate ganache and finished with chopped Dove milk chocolate peanut butter candies and finely chopped peanuts.
A few weeks ago, I was at a wedding reception for my neighbor’s daughter. I was sitting at a table with another neighbor, Darlene, and she mentioned she’d been dreaming about baking the perfect chocolate peanut butter cake.
We talked about it having a creamy peanut butter filling, icing it with chocolate ganache, and topping it with chopped peanut butter cups. Another neighbor at the table mentioned that she thought Dove made the best peanut butter chocolate candies.
After the wedding, I couldn’t get Darlene’s perfect Peanut Butter Cheesecake Chocolate Cake off my mind. Since my boys are big peanut butter chocolate fans, I asked them if they’d like a peanut butter cake for their 19th birthday. They happily agreed.
(I love this picture of my grandsons mesmerized by the candles on the cake. Matt refused to give me a smile for the pictures. How did 19 years go by so fast?)
Since I served the cake to my crowd at the birthday party, Darlene didn’t get a piece of this decadently, delicious Peanut Butter Cheesecake Chocolate Cake. But now that she’s got a great recipe she can finally bake the cake she’s been dreaming of.
If you’re a chocolate peanut butter lover, you need to make this luscious cake too.
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Chocolate Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar*
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups hot water*
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 16 oz. milk chocolate finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 8.5- ounce bags Dove Peanut Butter Promises divided
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 9x2 inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray with flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk together water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and whisk just until combine.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert them onto the rack. Leave cakes upside down (this flattens domed cakes) to cool completely.
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. In another large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until blended and smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream a little at a time. Fold in 1 cup Dove chocolates, finely chopped.
- Chocolate Ganache
- Place half of the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add remain chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool until ganache is thickened but still thin enough to drip down the sides of the cake.
- Assembling cake
- When the cake layers are cool and ganache has thickened, evenly spread filling on bottom layer, carefully stack the second layer on top of filling. Spoon chocolate ganache on top of the cake, spreading to edges and letting the ganache drip down the sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pile remaining coarsely chopped Dove chocolates on top.
More Chocolate Peanut Butter desserts you might like:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skookie, Barbara Bakes
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Cups, Barbara Bakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake, I Wash You Dry
Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cake, Life, Love and Sugar
Peanut Butter Cake Bars, Dine and Dish
As I’m seeing some of you had a problem assembling the cake, I would like to share my little trick. I assemble these types of cakes in a lose base cake tin (same diameter of the cake). That way, the filling will firm up and will remain neat when you remove the side of the cake tin. I put my ganache last thing after the cake firmed up in the fridge (and carefully removed the side of the tin). Popped back in the fridge during dinner and was just perfect when I took it out for dessert. Brilliant cake. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks for sharing your tip Charlene. Glad you loved the cake.
Would it be possible to substitute dark chocolate for the milk chocolate? I much prefer the dark version.
Hi Marcia – yes, dark chocolate should work well in this recipe.
Can your please change the instructions to say that you should first put the filling on one layer, then CHILL it before adding the second cake layer on top (as I now see several readers have suggested)? I just don’t see how there is any way this can work with the cream cheese mixture still soft at room temperature. I also really don’t understand how you could possibly use the entire amount of ganache. I used half and it completely costed the entire cake and then some. One package of the Dove candies was also more than sufficient–a cup for the filling and plenty for the topping. The ridiculous slop of a mess that this cake made sure was tasty but wow, it was a bit of an embarrassment for my husband on his birthday! He still loved it though so all is well, haha.
Hi Emily – so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! You can definitely make those changes if you like, but it isn’t necessary to chill the middle layer before topping. You’ll get a prettier cake if you add the top layer and smooth the middle layer after adding the top. Here’s some tips to help next time:
It’s important to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. Don’t use a natural peanut butter. Be sure you are using heavy cream and not regular whipping cream and not ultra pasteurized heavy cream which is heated and doesn’t whip as well (plus it has a strange taste). Then be sure you whip the cream until a dollop of it stays the same shape on a plate and doesn’t spread out across the plate. Gentle fold in the whipped cream so you don’t turn the cream back into a liquid. You can add one third of the cream at a time if that’s easier for you. If after folding in the cream, the filling isn’t firm enough to fill the cake, you can whip it to see if that helps it set up. Or, refrigerate it until it sets up a bit before adding it to the layers.
You can half the ganache, but if you let the ganache set up more you get a thicker, nicer layer of chocolate. But it’s certainly up to you how much chocolate you like.
Thanks for taking the time to share you adventure!
I made this for the second time today. First time I got too impatient and assembled before cakes were totally cooled. Layers slid around and it was a visual mess! Tasted good. This time I cooled the cakes, refrigerated the cream cheese/peanut butter filling and waited for ganache to cool. Looked a little better. Still tasted great. Cutting it has been a challenge. I refrigerated overnight and with a very sharp knife, was able to slice it without massacering it. I used a milk chocolate ganache. Think I’ll try something different next time. Less cream. Thicker. Chopped up Reece’s peanut butter cups for top.
I have made this three times so far… The first time the cake fell apart and the filling oozed out. The second time I put way to much ganache on! This third time I was careful and nothing went wrong!! Great recipe!! I do have one question did you use all of the ganache; if you didn’t then what do you suggest I do with the rest?THANKS!
Hi Natalie – so glad that you stuck with it until you nailed it. I usually use all of the ganache. If you look closely, you can see a second layer of ganache on top of the first. If I do have any leftover, I’ll make some chocolate covered raisin or nut clusters.
This is my kind of cake! It looks so good! And indeed, it is the perfect peanut butter cheesecake chocolate cake!
How/could I substitute a chioclate cake mix!
Hi Kim – you could easily follow the cake mix directions for the cake layers and then proceed with the recipe.
Hi Barbara! Just made this cake and it is SO GOOD. However, both my cake layers began to crumble after I removed them from the pan. They nearly broke in half! I sprayed and put flour on the pans before cooking them, and I let them cool all the way? What am I doing wrong? Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be back for more! (:
Thanks Emillie – so glad you loved it. If you didn’t make any changes to the ingredients, it sounds like your cake layers were cooked too long. Every oven cooks a little bit differently so your probably need less time. You could also try reducing the oven temperature.
I just made this cake today for the second time, and it was delicious! I was just wondering if anyone else had the issue of the filling squishing down after adding the top layer and ganache? Mine has done that both times and although it tastes just as good, it makes for a pretty ugly cake and doesn’t look anything like the picture. I’m going to refrigerate the cake itself next time, because this time I think it was the warmth of the cake that made the center layer squish down, but I’m thinking adding the ganache is just going to warm it up again. Any ideas on making the center layer stiffer?
Hi Mary Kate – glad you enjoyed the cake. Sorry you had troubles with the middle layer. Definitely make sure your cake is completely cool before adding the middle layer. You could even freeze the cake layers if you think they’re too warm. Are you beating your cream long enough before you adding it to the cream cheese peanut butter mixture? Are you using heavy cream? You could also refrigerate the cream cheese mixture to let it set up some before adding it to the cake layers.
I made your cake today for our Easter dessert. I used flower shaped cake pans. The cake turned out perfect! It was picture pretty and tated as good as it looked. I was a bit nervous making a cake with no eggs but it was amazing! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. I will definitely make this cake again.
Thanks Diane! How fun to make it in a flower shape for Easter. I’d love to see a picture if you took one, you can share it on my Facebook page or on Instagram at tag me 🙂
Hi I have a gluten allergy and im dieing to try this recipe but im worried if i convert this cake to Gfee it wont bake right im new to gfree baking so im not sure about converting a recipe like this do you think the filling and ganache would work with a basic chocolate cake recipe
Hi Winnie – I would probably buy a chocolate gluten free cake mix to make the cake layers and then the rest of the recipe should be fine. Unless you’ve already got a gluten free chocolate cake recipe you like.
Hello I’m in the middle of making this cake and your recipe is a little confusing for the filling you have vanilla extract but do not have where and when to use it then in the ganche you have the dove peanut butter candies but its not in it so I was just wondering exactly what to do I added vanilla to cream and will just put candies on top but would like that clarified Thanks
Hi Julie – you add the vanilla to the filling with the cream cheese and sugar; then some of the Dove chocolates are folded into the filling. The remainder are piled on top to decorate the cake. I’ve updated the recipe to make it easier to understand. Thanks!
I would like to try your cake for my hubby birthday…
May i know how much of ingredient needed and the baking time & temp for a 6 inch cake?
Hi Emily – sorry I don’t have 6-inch cake pans, so I’ve never made 6-inch cakes. You could try google for 6-inch recipes and just adapt the ingredients.
hi! im a newbie in baking..and i tried this recipe..im actually in the middle of doing it…why does it not include any eggs in it? and it cooked so quick! i dont know if ive done it right or my oven is too high(but ive set it right) it was cooked in jst more than 10mins! its clean on toothpick test, its fudgy…im jst scared that i might serve it not cooked properly…really confused!
Hi Mona – I’m sorry I don’t know what you did wrong, but the cake should not have cooked in 10 mins. Perhaps you left out an ingredient. It is an old fashioned eggless recipe. https://www.barbarabakes.com/old-fashioned-chocolate-cake-with-maraschino-cherry-filling/
What type of chocolate did you use for the ganache? I will be making on Thursday for hubbys birthday but wondering if chcolate chips or a chocolate bar would work best
Hi Kayla – if you can get good baking chocolate that would be the best, or chocolate bars. (They often have Ghirardelli in the baking aisle now.) You don’t want to use chocolate chips unless you can’t find anything else, because chocolate chips are created so they don’t melt when baked. I use Guittard Old Dutch Milk Chocolate Wafers that I buy at Gygi in Salt Lake. Hope he enjoys his cake!
I loved this recipe sounded thebmost reasonable in all the other recipes for peanut butter cheesecake ! My only question is how long does it last in the refrigerator of am making it ahead of time ?
About 4 or 5 days, but if you know you won’t eat it right away, cheesecake freezes and thaws very well.
I love all your recipes! I will make the Cake for my birthday ★
Greetings from Germany
Any reason there’s no sugar in the cheesecake filling? I haven’t seen that in a cheesecake recipe before and it tasted a little off to me and my boyfriend. Other than that it was delicious! Especially the ganache!
Hi Emily – glad you enjoyed the cake. Peanut Butter already has lots of sugar in it, but if you wanted it sweeter, you could definitely add sugar.
My neighbor also commented she thought the cheesecake filling needed sugar, so I’ve amended the recipe to include 1/4 cup of sugar. Feel free to add more or less sugar to taste.