This vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is a super moist two-layer cake decorated with creamy peanut butter frosting and vegan chocolate ganache. It’s decadent, fudgy, and rich!
It’s no secret that chocolate and peanut butter are the perfect pair. Together, they make this vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake an out-of-this-world dessert!
In this recipe, my Vegan Chocolate Cake is taken up a notch and decorated with homemade peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache. Finished with vegan peanut butter cups on top, this cake is a peanut butter and chocolate lover’s dream!
Why you’ll love this peanut butter cake
- Features my 5-star vegan chocolate cake: The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake is a 5-star recipe with over 1,400 ratings! It’s easy to make in one bowl and has the most decadent chocolate flavor.
- Out-of-this-world peanut butter frosting: Just when you think vegan buttercream frosting can’t get any butter, peanut butter is mixed in! It adds just the right amount of nutty, peanut butter flavor to this decadent vegan chocolate cake.
- A perfect birthday cake: Especially for chocolate peanut butter lovers!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Soy milk – Non-dairy milk and vinegar are mixed together to make vegan buttermilk. Almond milk is the next best option if you don’t have soy milk.
- Apple cider vinegar – Lemon juice and white vinegar will work as substitutes.
- All purpose flour – I always have the best results with all purpose flour. Head to the FAQs to learn how to make this with gluten free flour.
- Granulated sugar – Granulated white, cane, or coconut sugar lends structure to the cake, as well as sweetness. I don’t believe the cake would be as great without it.
- Cocoa powder – Use natural cocoa powder, not Dutch process.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Canola oil – Melted coconut oil also works well.
- Applesauce – This adds a lot of moisture to the cake. You can also use 2 flax eggs, whipped aquafaba, or another egg replacer instead, such as Bob’s Red Mill (2 eggs worth).
- Vanilla extract
- Boiling hot water – Once you use boiling water in chocolate cake, you will never NOT want to use it again. The hot water enhances the chocolate flavor and brings out its hidden flavors. You could even use freshly brewed coffee or espresso as a more flavorful substitute.
- Vegan chocolate chips – Tossed in flour, then folded into the cake batter. You can substitute them with peanuts for an extra nutty flavor.
- Vegan butter – The base of the peanut butter frosting. Make sure it’s softened to room temperature so the frosting comes together easily.
- Peanut butter – Use smooth peanut butter from a new jar for the best results.
- Powdered sugar – To help sweeten and add structure to the peanut butter frosting.
How to make vegan chocolate peanut butter cake
Find the complete recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.
Make the vegan buttermilk by measuring the soy milk in a measuring cup, then stirring in the vinegar. Set it aside to curdle.
Next, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
Now add the oil, applesauce, vanilla, and milk/vinegar mixture to the same bowl.
Mix on low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Carefully pour in the boiling water while mixing at low speed.
To finish, fold the flour-coated chocolate chips into the batter.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pans, then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the cake layers aside to cool while you make the frosting.
Beat the peanut butter and vegan butter together in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Next, add the powdered sugar, soy milk, vanilla, and salt, then beat again until fluffy.
Decorate the cooled cake layers with the peanut butter frosting, then the chocolate ganache. Serve immediately or chill it in the fridge for later. Enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- This is a delicate chocolate cake and overmixing will knock all of the air out of the batter. Try to only mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated with each other.
- Place the soy milk, applesauce, and vegan butter on the kitchen counter 30 minutes before making this recipe. This way, they’ll have a chance to come down to room temperature, giving you better results.
- I made the cake in two 8-inch round cake pans, however, this recipe makes enough batter for a bundt pan (bake for 45 minutes) and a 9×13 square pan (bake for 35 to 40 minutes).
- If the frosting seems too thick, you can thin out the consistency by stirring in a tablespoon of milk at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Remember to not use all of the peanut butter frosting to frost the cake. Swirls of piped frosting on top look so divine! To frost the cake:
- Spread a layer of frosting on top of the bottom cake layer.
- Place the second layer on top and decorate the tops and sides with more frosting.
Once it’s fully frosted, let the cake chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will give the frosting time to firm up and cool before pouring the chocolate ganache on top.
- Make the chocolate ganache, then let it chill in the fridge to help it thicken and cool.
- Spoon the thickened ganache over the top of the chilled cake. Smooth it out around the top and sides.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a star tip to pipe the rest of the peanut butter frosting on top of the cake.
- To finish, sprinkle peanut butter cups, chopped nuts, and/or sprinkles on top. Slice and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
For the best results, I recommend making my Gluten Free Chocolate Cake as a base, then decorating the cake as normal.
Yes, this recipe will make about 24 cupcakes. Make the cake batter as normal, then pour it into a lined muffin tin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
The frosted and decorated cake is best enjoyed immediately but you can keep it in the fridge for up to 4 hours before serving. Any leftovers should be covered and stored in the fridge.
I don’t recommend freezing the decorated cake, but the baked cake layers freeze very well! That said, if you have too much cake, it’s totally fine to freeze some. It just might not be as pretty once frozen.
Want more peanut butter recipes?
- Vegan Peanut Butter Cake
- Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
- Vegan Peanut Butter Pie
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling hot water
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips, tossed in a bowl with a tablespoon of flour
Peanut Butter Frosting
Make the chocolate cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 8-inch cake pans. I also line them with parchment rounds and lightly flour for easy removal of the cakes later.
- Measure 1 cup soy milk and add the tablespoon of vinegar to it. Stir slightly and set aside to curdle.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well to combine.
- Now add the oil, applesauce, vanilla and milk/vinegar mixture. Mix on medium speed with a hand mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment) until well combined.
- Lower the speed and carefully pour in the boiling water, continuing to mix into the cake batter until combined.
- Gently fold in the flour coated chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After 10 minutes of cooling in the pan, carefully remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
Make the peanut butter frosting
- Using either a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter and vegan butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, soy milk, vanilla and optional salt. Beat on low speed at first, then gradually increase to high and beat for 2 minutes until very fluffy.
- If it seems too thick, add more milk, a few tablespoons at a time. If it gets too runny, add more powdered sugar.
Frost and decorate
- Frost the cake layers with the peanut butter frosting, in the middle layer and all around and on top of the cake. Spread smoothly, then place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill if you plan on also using the chocolate ganache. Save some for piping on top of the ganache, if desired.
- Make the chocolate ganache, if using. Let the ganache chill in the refrigerator, after stirring, for 20-30 minutes until it's thick enough and smooth.
- Spoon the thickened ganache onto the chilled cake. Smooth it all around the top and sides of the cake.
- Pipe with the rest of the peanut butter frosting and sprinkle chopped vegan peanut butter cups on top, if desired.
- Serve cake immediately or chill for 4 hours before serving. Chilling the cake will help the ganache and frosting to thicken for prettier slices.
- Another milk will work, such as oat, almond or coconut.
- May use lemon juice or white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
- Don’t use natural, drippy peanut butter. Use the no stir creamy peanut butter. Otherwise the frosting may turn out too runny or possibly too thick, since natural peanut butter can vary so much.