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!

close up on a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake on a black plate.

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!
chocolate peanut butter cake with slices missing on a glass cake plate.

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
  • Salt
  • 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.
ingredients for chocolate peanut butter cake in individual white bowls.

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.

dry chocolate cake mix and a whisk in a large white 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. 

chocolate cake batter in a large white bowl.

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!

using a wooden spoon to fold chocolate chips into chocolate cake batter.

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.

Decorating tips

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:

  1. Spread a layer of frosting on top of the bottom cake layer. 
  2. 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.

You can either leave the frosted cake as-is or take it up a notch with vegan chocolate ganache and peanut butter cups on top:

  1. Make the chocolate ganache, then let it chill in the fridge to help it thicken and cool.
  2. Spoon the thickened ganache over the top of the chilled cake. Smooth it out around the top and sides.
  3. Use a piping bag fitted with a star tip to pipe the rest of the peanut butter frosting on top of the cake.
  4. To finish, sprinkle peanut butter cups, chopped nuts, and/or sprinkles on top. Slice and enjoy!
lifting a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake from the whole cake.

Frequently asked questions

Can it be made gluten free?

For the best results, I recommend making my Gluten Free Chocolate Cake as a base, then decorating the cake as normal.

Can you use this recipe to make cupcakes?

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.

How long does it last?

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.

Can you freeze peanut butter cake?

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.

close up on a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake on a black plate.

Want more peanut butter recipes?

close up on a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake on a black plate.
4.75 stars (12 ratings)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

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!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


Chocolate 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.


  1. Another milk will work, such as oat, almond or coconut.
  2. May use lemon juice or white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
  3. 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.


Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 449IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. To amend my first comment. I managed to piece the cake layers together, and made the frosting and ganache. Despite the cake looking a bit wonky, it tasted delicious. I will try it again without the chocolate chips in the batter. Non vegans liked the cake as well. You would never know that its a vegan cake. Thanks

  2. Have you ever made this with almond butter instead of peanut butter? My daughters allergic to peanuts, but thinking of making this for her birthday, we use Barney butter for almond butter that’s very similar in texture to peanut butter and not oily, should that work?

    1. Sure, you can use almond butter. The taste will be a bit different but the cake will still be good! But just like the peanut butter, you should NOT use natural almond butter because it will be too oily (the Barney butter sounds like a good option). Hope this helps!

  3. I don’t know where my comment went, and I got no reply. I am guessing f I did something wrong. Here it is again…

    I always look for your recipes, Nora, because they NEVER fail me. This was delicious (and I’ve made it twice in the last two months!) Both times it was kinda crumbly/messy. Should I let the cakes cool more than ten minutes before removing them from the pans, maybe? Help, please?
    Blessings on your day!

    1. Hi Adrienne! I’m not sure either, I don’t see it anywhere on my end. I don’t think it went through, but I got this one! 🙂 I’m not sure why your cakes were crumbly and messy. Did you use any substitutions, a different flour or anything like that? You could try letting them cool a bit longer before transferring them, that could help. I’m so glad you typically enjoy my recipes, and I hope I can help!

      1. Thanks for your reply! I always have almond milk in my fridge. So, I made that sub. I used cacao powder as well, as that is always on hand here too. I did not sub the flour. I’m keeping this one in my arsenal, and will try to let them cool longer before transfer

        By the way, non-vegan guests NEVER know that they’re eating something vegan, whether it is a dessert, main or side… hats off to you!


      2. Hands down the best cake I’ve ever made. I baked this for my stepson’s birthday and people just about lost their minds over how good it was. I have made it several times since, and it’s the favourite cake with my whole family.
        Thank you Nora!

        1. I’m thrilled the cake was a hit! Thanks for your fabulous review and feedback! Happy birthday to your stepson!

  4. I made this for my husband’s birthday. My sister that is not vegan went in for a second piece. I was pleased with the results. I did need to make the frosting twice since the first batch came out bad. The first time I followed directions, I knew something was not right but since I only bake a cake about once a year I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I researched vegan frosting and realized that the vegan butter I used is more liquid and that I need to be very careful adding in any milk. Apparently vegan butters can be inconsistent in that regard. The 2nd time I made it without the milk and it was perfect. I will be saving this recipe to make for next year with a note about the butter. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. I’m so thrilled the cake was a hit! Happy birthday to your husband! I appreciate you sharing your experience with the recipe! Thank you for your wonderful review!

  5. Hello Nora,

    I have loved using your website over the years. Would it be ok to use dutch process cocoa powder? Will it affect the texture or only the flavor?



    1. Unfortunately, no, I don’t recommend using Dutch process cocoa here. It reacts to the leavening agents differently than the more acidic natural cocoa powder, and using it could mean that the cake won’t rise as well.

  6. AMAZING!!! This is my favorite of all the cake recipes I’ve ever tried! I highly recommend it with vegan ice cream.

  7. I made these into cupcakes and topped with the peanut butter frosting. They were so delicious! Nora, you are a genius!

    1. Thank you for sharing your great feedback and encouraging words, Jill! I’m thrilled you love the recipe!

  8. This was delicious! Made it with items I already had in my pantry and ate it in 3 days. One of the top chocolate cakes I’ve had.

      1. Unfortunately, the metrics for the recipe were completely off compared to her chocolate cake recipe. I ended up with a dense and dry cake. I’d suggest that the metrics for her recent recipes are check and corrected for errors.

  9. Currently eating this and it’s amazing. Rave reviews around the table! Nobody can believe it’s vegan.

  10. My husband and I are oil free and try to limit oil in our diet. Can this recipe be made without the canola oil? If so, what can I use to substitute? Thanks a million. I really enjoy your recipes and for the most part just omit the oil but was not sure in this one 🙂

    1. Hi there! You might be able to sub applesauce though it will change the outcome of course. Then you could top it with a different, perhaps oil free frosting of some kind. Thank you!

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