Peanut butter chocolate cake. Probably the most frequently requested cake flavor back when I took custom orders. Young and old alike. It seems that almost everyone enjoys a chocolate and peanut butter cake. Perhaps it’s that delicious combination of salty and sweet, or the known goodness of peanut butter cups but this cake combo is always a crowd-pleaser. And this dairy-free peanut butter and chocolate cake is pure delight in every single bite.
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The Best Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
You know me, I tend the run a bit against the proverbial cake stream when it comes to conventional flavors. It’s not that I have anything against tradition, it’s simply that I enjoy a bit of adventure. So naturally, I had to put a slight spin on the classic chocolate and peanut butter cake.
Enter in: dairy-free peanut butter cake layers and smoked chocolate buttercream frosting. Still delicious. Like totally delicious. But a bit unexpected and not your average traditional cake. So put on your adventurous cake cape, aka an apron, and let’s start baking.
Reverse Creaming Cake Method
I tried a new cake method this time and absolutely loved the end result. It’s called reverse creaming and wow, it produced the softest and fluffiest peanut butter cake layers. You start but creaming together the fat (butter and peanut butter in this cake case) with the dry ingredients. The idea is to coat the flour in fat to stop gluten from developing.
Reverse creaming will also give you the ability to add a bit more liquid content into the cake batter which will result in an incredibly moist and soft crumb. Which in the cake world is a winning combo! One bite of this tender and fluffy cake and you will be a reverse creaming fan.
After the dry ingredients and butter and peanut butter are creamed together until a sand-like texture is achieved, the wet ingredients get added but in two separate installments. Go slow. Go steady. And soon you’ll have creamy peanut butter cake batter worth licking the spatula clean.
How To Make Smoked Chocolate Buttercream
Up next, is the glorious smoked chocolate buttercream frosting. Chocolate buttercream on its own is delicious, but I leveled up and added a hint of hickory smoke and used both cocoa powder and melted chocolate to amp up that deep chocolate flavor. Liquid smoke is much almond extract in that a little goes a long way. Too much and it will completely overpower the buttercream.
How To Slice And Level Cake Layers
And for the final step of this fun Peanut Butter Chocolate cake adventure…I sliced each cake layer in half creating a total of 6 decadent peanut butter layers. The more layers, the yummier, right?! Using this handy little cake leveler I gently leveled each cake layer and then cut each leveled layer in half.
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
There you have it! An adventurous Peanut Butter Chocolate cake that has all the big, bold, and beloved peanut butter flavor with a little hint of fun. This cake is perfect for the peanut butter and chocolate lover in your life or for a decadent dessert.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray and parchment line three 6-inch round cake pans.
In a small mixing bowl combine the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer and with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and give it a quick whisk together.
Add in the butter and peanut butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until it looks like coarse sand.
Slowly pour in half the liquid mixture and mix on medium for 2 minutes.
Slowly pour the remaining liquid mixture in and mix on medium for another 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Divide the cake batter into the three prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Allow the cake layers to cool for 10 minutes and then invert them on a cooling rack to fully cool.
Smoked Chocolate Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.
Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and liquid smoke (if using) and mix on low until combined.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Stir between each interval.
Add the melted chocolate to the buttercream and mix on low until fully incorporated.
Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and milk in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until fully melted and smooth.
Depending on the kind of milk, the drip may require a touch more milk to thin or a bit more chocolate chips to thicken. *I always test my ganache drips over the edge of the kitchen sink before applying to a cake to check the consistency.
Level each cooled peanut butter cake layer and then with the cake leveler cut each layer into half creating 6 total cake layers.
Place one leveled layer of peanut butter on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable and top with approximately ¾ cup of smoked chocolate buttercream.
Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother.
Decorate the cake as you please. I carefully spooned the warm chocolate ganache drip over the edges of the cake and while it was still warm used my offset spatula and, with the tip, dragged it gently around the drip and cake starting from the top and going down to create the textured marbled chocolate look. I topped the cake with a border of chopped-up peanut butter cups, chocolate squares, peanut butter chips, and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!