This Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Drip Cake is dessert perfection. The heavenly creation is made with three fudgy chocolate cake layers with peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter ganache drip. If you’re like me and know there’s no better flavor combination than chocolate and peanut butter, then this is the cake for you.
Prepare to be overcome by the rich and fudgy chocolate layers, the creamy peanut butter American buttercream frosting, and the chocolate and peanut butter ganache drip flowing gracefully down the sides. Or, if you’re low on time or motivation, use the same chocolate and peanut butter components in a simple sheet cake variation.
This chocolate cake with peanut butter icing was created for my 50th birthday cake-a-palooza a few years ago. I hand-delivered frozen pieces of cake so friends could have cake during a zoom party. In addition to the triple chocolate layer cake that uses the same cake layers as this chocolate peanut butter cakes, the others were my tiramisu birthday cake, purple velvet cake, and Earl Grey lavender cake.
Chocolate and peanut butter
While I’m ok with other combinations like chocolate and orange or chocolate and caramel, you’ll almost always see me pick a sweet with chocolate and peanut butter. When baking with that combination, I recommend:
- Coffee in the chocolate cake is used to bring out the chocolate flavor and creates a super moist, fudgy cake. Feel free to brew your favorite decaf.
- Cream is an essential component of ganache. Typically, you’d use a ratio of three parts chocolate to two parts cream by weight or two to one in cups, but we reduce the cream because of the peanut butter in the chocolate peanut butter ganache. If you want to skip the peanut butter ganache, use 9 ounces of chocolate and 6 ounces (three-quarters of a cup) of cream.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Recipe tips and tricks
Making the cake layers
The fudgy chocolate cake layers can be a bit fragile, so make sure to bake the layers until the edges have started to pull away from the pan and let m thecool completely in the pan. Run a thin knife or spatula around to release (Panel #1, below). To remove them from the pan, put a rack over the pan (Panel #2) and flip it over (Pane #3).
Gently tap on the pan to get the layer to release. Remove the parchment paper (Panels #4-6). To flip back over to decorate, support the cake layer with the length of your hand and gently flip the cake back over to right-side-up and place on the cake stand or whatever you are using to decorate. This recipe makes the layers with the flattest tops I have ever seen, so there is no need to level the cakes.
Assembling the chocolate peanut butter cake
I often use the bottom from a 9″ tart pan put over a piece of parchment paper on the cake stand because I am a messy decorator. One by one, add about a half cup of generous frosting in between the layers.
Beware that the layers are somewhat crumbly. If you want to have frosting without crumbs, you will definitely need to make a crumb coat. To make a crumb coat, use a small amount of frosting to make a thin layer around the cake and put it in the fridge for an hour or so. Then proceed as directed. You may need to increase the amount of frosting in order to do this.
The peanut butter frosting is definitely soft, because I love the peanut butter taste without it being overly sweet. If you want it sweeter, or if you want a stiffer frosting, add confectioner’s sugar by the cupful until you get the desired taste or consistency.
Making the peanut butter chocolate ganache drip
To make a drip cake, the chocolate peanut butter ganache has to be the right temperature. Too hot, and it will run down the cake. Too cool, and it will not drip at all.
As your ganache is cooling, occasionally whisk it to stir. Lift the whisk out of the ganache. Once it drips down from your whisk just a bit thickly, put it into a squeeze bottle or use a spoon to drip a thin rim of ganache around the edge of the cake. Every inch or so, drip the ganache over the edge.
If it is dripping down too thinly, stop and let it cool further. If it is too thick, reheat it gently in your double boiler over low heat.
Once you are satisfied with the drip, use the remaining peanut butter chocolate ganache to cover the top of the cake.
Chocolate peanut butter sheet cake varation
For an even easier chocolate and peanut butter cake, you can make the chocolate cake recipe as a sheet cake and cover it with a layer of the peanut butter frosting and chocolate peanut butter ganache. To do this:
- Butter and use cocoa to flour a 9 by 13 inch cake pan.
- You’ll need to cut all of the cake layer ingredients by two-thirds. It will bake at 300 degrees for about the same amount of time.
- Decrease the peanut butter icing by half.
- Use the same amount of chocolate peanut butter ganache and spread it over the cake when it has cooled to touch and thickened.
No, but you are much more likely to get a reliable result if you weigh your ingredients.
The cake is best served at room temperature on the day it is made. Leftover cake should be stored in the refrigerator, but be aware that the shine on the chocolate peanut butter ganache may dull.
Absolutely. Chill the cake in the refrigerator overnight, then wrap whole or cut the cake into family sized portions. Double-wrap each piece in plastic wrap and then place it in a plastic bag with as much air removed as possible. When you want to eat a piece, remove the cake from the refrigerator, unwrap it and put it on a plate, and let it come to room temperature before serving.
For baking, I definitely prefer traditional commercial brands, but you could try it for the frosting. Make sure, if it is a “stir” peanut butter, that the oil is stirred in completely before using. Adjust the sugar as needed.
If you’re like me and you like only a thin layer of frosting on the cake, you might end up with extra icing. You can freeze frostings and have a variety for a batch of cupcakes. Or use extra frosting for cake balls or cake pops the next time you have a cake failure.
Related cake recipes
Check out the list of birthday cakes above, or pick from among all the Ugly Duckling Bakery cakes cakes and more cakes such as
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Drip Cake
- 3 9 inch cake pans
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
Chocolate cake layers
- unsalted butter for greasing cake pans
- 2½ cups (312 grams) bleached, all purpose flour
- 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for dusting cake pans
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to touch
- 1½ cups brewed coffee, cooled
- 1½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup neutral vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Peanut butter icing
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup peanut butter (I use Jif creamy in all my baking)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners sugar plus more as desired for taste or consistency
Chocolate peanut butter ganache
- 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup peanut butter ( I use Jif creamy in all my baking)
Chocolate cake layers
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Lightly butter three 9" cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Use the unsweetened cocoa powder to "flour" the pans and set aside.unsalted butter for greasing cake pans, 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.2½ cups (312 grams) bleached, all purpose flour, 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl if you are using a hand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until pale yellow (3 to 5 minutes).3 eggs, at room temperature
- Add the sugar and beat for a couple of minutes.3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
- Add the cooled chocolate and mix, then add the coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to touch, 1½ cups brewed coffee, cooled, ¾ cup neutral vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1½ cup buttermilk
- Add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed for 1 minute or by hand until just combined. If you are using a stand mixer, be careful because you might end up with cocoa mixture everywhere!
- Divide the batter equally into the prepared pans. Before putting them in the oven, thwack them gingerly on the countertop once or twice to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are just starting to pull away from the side of the pan.
- Cool the cake layers in the pan. You may need to run a spatula or knife around the edge of the cake pans to get the layers to release (see notes).
Peanut butter icing
- Put the butter, and peanut butter in the stand mixer or medium bowl if using a hand mixer, and beat until well combined (3 to 5 minutes).1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, 1 cup peanut butter
- Add the vanilla and beat until combined.1 teaspoon vanilla
- Add the confectioners sugar and beat, scraping down the bowl as necessary. If you want a sweeter frosting, or if you want a thicker consistency (particularly if it is very warm where you are), add more sugar by a cupful at a time.2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners sugar
- To frost, place one cake layer right side up on a cake stand or plate. Use ½ cup of frosting and spread it into a thin layer. Carefully place the second layer right side up on top and repeat.
- Place the third layer right side up on top. If you want to make a crumb layer so that cake crumbs don't appear on the outside of your cake (see note), spread a thin layer of frosting and then put the cake in the fridge. Otherwise use the remaining frosting to coat the cake, making the frosting (esp the sides) as smooth as possible.
- Put the cake in the refrigerator while making the ganache.
Chocolate peanut butter ganache
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a small metal bowl over a pot of slightly simmering water.9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
- In a small pot, heat the cream and peanut butter over low heat until the peanut butter has dissolved into the cream and the mixture is just starting to simmer.½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup peanut butter
- Add the cream and peanut butter to the chocolate and whisk until smooth and uniform. Let cool (see note).
- When the ganache has cooled to a dripping consistency (see note), use a squeeze bottle or spoon to drip a layer around the top of the cake, letting the ganache drip down the cake side every inch or so.
- Fill in the center of the cake with ganache and smooth the top, being careful not to push the ganache over the sides of the cake.
Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?
This peanut butter chocolate drip cake was also created for the 2021 reddit 52 weeks of baking challenge, week 17: Page 52 from your favorite cookbook or choose any recipe from your favorite blog. I may have cheated a bit here since I do have tons of cookbooks I could have picked from. But of course the Ugly Duckling Bakery blog is my favorite blog!