Peanut Butter Cup Cake


Today is my birthday.  Another year has gone by.  And this year?  It’s going to be even better than the one before it.

I have to take a moment to reflect here, so please excuse my digression.  I think about what has happened in the past year…and I have to say I am mighty proud of where I stand now.  I’ve completed my residency training, taken and successfully passed my boards, moved 1,000 miles from my friends and family, started a fellowship in the field of my dreams, and now I am in the process of looking for a job…after being in training/school since the age of 4…28 years later….here I am.  The best (and my proudest) part about this whole process is that I have done this on my own…without anyone holding me back or trying to keep me down.  I’ve had the support and love from so many friends and family, and this year I am celebrating how much love is in my life.  There’s a lot of love around me.  This blog is just one of the ways that I am celebrating this year: in the coming weeks, I will be completely redesigning the website with a fantastic web designer, and I am hoping to continue growing my experiences and opportunities in the food blogging world (along with that, I will try to decrease the number of kitchen failures that I still have).

Right now, I am traveling to the opposite side of the country to attend a national conference in my field.  I’ve giving a presentation, visiting with old friends, and exploring a new city that I have never been to (but always wanted to). Talk about a way to spend a birthday!  I am so happy to be celebrating in this particular way this year.

I actually did not make this cake for my birthday.  I made this a couple of months ago for a party, but I never posted it.  I haven’t had a lot of time lately to play around in the kitchen, and to be completely honest with you, I couldn’t decide what kind of birthday cake I wanted to make for myself this year.  I have plenty of ideas jotted down, but none of them came to fruition.  But, let me tell you, there are some pretty awesome and inspirational sources out there for birthday cakes.  And, with the way I want to spend this year, I have a feeling that I will be doing plenty of celebrating, even if it isn’t my birthday.  So get ready.

This cake is a chocolate/peanut butter lover’s dream.  A peanut butter cake with a creamy peanut butter frosting…all topped with a rich chocolate frosting and peanut butter cups.  I’ve been on a chocolate peanut butter roll  lately, but, apparently, you all are, too.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Servings: One 2-layered cake (you may have enough batter to make a 3rd layer, but I stuck with 2)



For the cake:

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 and 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 pound bag of light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

For the filling:

2 and 1/4 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

For the chocolate frosting:

20 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa

Pinch salt

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

3 cups chocolate peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped


1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the brown sugar.

6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

7. Add the vanilla, mixing well.

8. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated.

9. Divide the batter between your prepared cake pans and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

10. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

11. For the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and brown sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

12. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

13. Add the bittersweet chocolate chips to the saucepan and let stand for one minute.

14. Whisk in the creamy peanut butter until smooth.  Chill the filling until ready to assemble the cake.

15. For the frosting: Using your food processor, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt.  Mix the ingredients together until smooth.

16. Using the feed tube with the processor running, slowly add the corn syrup and vanilla, mixing until smooth.

17. Add the melted chocolate to the mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is creamy and thoroughly combined.

18. To assemble the cake: I covered the outside and middle of the cake with the filling mixture, chilled the entire cake, and then I frosted it with the chocolate frosting, topping it with the chopped peanut butter cups.

Sources:  Cake and filling slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, frosting directly from Cook’s Illustrated.



October 19, 2011 - 8:03 am

Blog is the New Black - Happy birthday, Shannon!!!!!!!!!! Congrats on another successful, although tough, year! And this cake… THIS CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!! WANT!

October 19, 2011 - 11:23 am

Robyn {Planet Byn} - happy happy birthday! hope you have a fantastic day! i’m looking forward to the re-design!

October 19, 2011 - 11:59 am

DessertForTwo - Happy Birthday!

I’ve always been drawn to your blog for all the reasons you described in your first paragraph. Us strong, independent, driven women have to stick together!

I truly hope you savor all of your accomplishments. You deserve them.

Have a great trip, Shanon 🙂

October 19, 2011 - 12:14 pm

Mollie - Happy Birthday! I just want to say that I love your blog – keep up the good work, and best wishes for the coming year! 🙂

October 19, 2011 - 12:43 pm

Paula @ Dishing the Divine - Happy birthday! You really HAVE done a lot this year! You have a right to be so proud and excited. 🙂 This cake looks absolutely gorgeous. Some day, I will learn to decorate such pretty cakes. Some day… 🙂

October 19, 2011 - 12:57 pm

Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen - Happy birthday!! And this cake…I need it. My favorite candy, on a cake, does it get any better? YUM

October 19, 2011 - 1:00 pm

Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming - This looks incredible 🙂 Happy birthday! I love your blog so much!

October 19, 2011 - 2:22 pm

Jen of My Tiny Oven - Firstly, Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a great one!
Secondly, WOW that cake looks AMAZING! I love anything with peanut butter and chocolate.

October 19, 2011 - 5:50 pm

Kelley - Happy Birthday! Your cake looks delicious.

October 19, 2011 - 8:36 pm

Tracey - Happy Birthday!! 🙂 What a decadent cake, I know about 10 people who would love to be surprised with this on their special day.

October 19, 2011 - 9:46 pm

Happy When Not Hungry - Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! This cake looks absolutely amazing!

October 20, 2011 - 7:53 am

Lauren at Keep It Sweet - Happy Belated Birthday!!! And that cake is perfect:-)

October 21, 2011 - 11:25 am

Kelsey - Happy birthday and congratulations on all your success. It sounds like this past year was pretty amazing. This year is going to be incredible!

October 22, 2011 - 8:36 am

Lindsay - Happy Birthday Shanon! I found your blog through Annie’s Eats and love it! Congrats on all your success and all the best to you in your future endeavors. You are an inspiration!

October 22, 2011 - 10:13 am

Lori - Shannon, Congratulations and best wishes as you turn another year “awesomer”. Wow, what an accomplishment with passing your boards and completing your residency. My son, a high school senior will hopefully be starting the first rung of the journey this coming September. Thanks for all you do and the wonderful recipes and anecdotes you continually share with your cyber friends.

Right now I am up at the Head of the Charles. My son is rowing with for his HS. This is exciting stuff. I love Boston

October 24, 2011 - 6:01 pm

Sandi M - Happy Belated. This cake looks amazing! I’m pinning it so I can find it when I’m ready to make one for any event of my daughter’s that comes up.

October 25, 2011 - 3:01 pm

Meredith - Happy belated birthday!

Might I say-whoa-my mouth is watering looking at this cake. I’m a self-professed peanut butter lover…it’s my favorite food. Anything pb flavored is a win and I’m definitely trying this recipe!!

Thanks for sharing!!


October 28, 2011 - 1:41 pm

Jenny - When I saw this cake – I knew I had to make it. I decided to make it for a group of co-workers all celbrating their birthdays in October.
I have to say – this cake is wonderful – super rich and oh the compliments I got – actually I have been hired to make this cake again for someone’s family function.
But I have to say – in your instructions for the frosting – you asay to use the food processor. Is that correct? I did do this – but the frosting did not come together properly at all – I ended up takign everything and putting it into my stand mixer and using the paddle attachment – gave it a good beat and it turned out perfect – what frosting is suppose to look like. Made me think maybe that was a typo? Or did I do something wrong.

Anyway – it turned out great – my pictures are no where near as good as yours – but the cake was delish and like I said – everyone loved it!

Thank you!

October 28, 2011 - 7:53 pm

danellesdish - My husband loves peanut butter cups…he would love this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing, this may be his next special cake I make him.

October 29, 2011 - 11:39 am

Maryanna - My mouth is watering right now!

October 29, 2011 - 3:49 pm

srlacy - Hi Jenny-

I actually thought the same thing when I made it, but using the food processor for me was fine. You can certainly use a stand mixer instead.

October 30, 2011 - 6:51 am

Medeja - I absolutely adore this combination!

October 30, 2011 - 4:04 pm

Vanessa - Wowza. Looks amazing. Great photos too. =)

October 31, 2011 - 12:46 pm

Elizabeth - Holy Smokes! This is too much! I need to have this immediately. Thank you for sharing. It is absolutely gorgeous!

October 31, 2011 - 6:46 pm

Amanda Garbutt - This recipe looks so decadent and delicious! I think you will enjoy my recipe for my molten chocolate peanut butter lava cakes… you can find the recipe here:


November 1, 2011 - 2:07 am

Rachel @ Bakerita - Happy birthday!
This looks absolutely sinful. Reese’s are my favorite so a Reese’s flavored cake? My heaven. Can’t wait to try this!

November 1, 2011 - 3:14 pm

Maria - Happy Birthday to you! The cake looks wonderful!

November 2, 2011 - 1:43 pm

Kathy - Panini Happy - Happy birthday to you! And what an incredible cake! 🙂

November 3, 2011 - 11:57 am

marla - Totally pinned & stumbled. This looks amazing!

November 5, 2011 - 11:41 am

Peanut Butter Cup Cake « i FinD Recipes Online - […] Recipe Link Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

November 24, 2011 - 11:59 am

melanie - I was just looking for a recipe for a peanut butter cup cake when I stumbled on your blog, very engaging think I might follow. Also cannot wait to make this cake 🙂

January 26, 2012 - 8:16 pm

Robyn - I made this cake but cut the ingredients in half. It did not turn out well at all! Can’t wait to try it again with the full recipe though – hopefully it turns out better.

Just wanted to add that I love this blog. So witty and I love hearing the personal stories and anecdotes that accompany each recipe!

January 26, 2012 - 8:24 pm

srlacy - Hi Robyn-

Sorry it didn’t turn out for you. It’s always a little testy when decreasing the proportions of ingredients. Hope it works better next time!

April 19, 2012 - 4:38 pm

Hannah - I want to make a chocolate and peanut butter checkerboard cake and was thinking of using this recipe for the peanut butter part. Does it make a thick or thin batter? I think I will need the chocolate cake batter and the peanut butter cake batter to be about the some for it to bake correctly. Thanks!

April 19, 2012 - 5:19 pm

srlacy - Hi Hannah-

From what I remember, it was more of a medium consistency. Nothing special about it. It definitely was not thin.

June 14, 2012 - 6:48 pm

Madison - Do you really put a whole pound of brown sugar in the cake batter?? I’m making this for my father in law and just want to make sure it wasn’t a typo 🙂 I’ve never used that much brown sugar before! Haha

June 18, 2012 - 8:23 am

srlacy - Hi Madison-
The recipe is correct as written. I know it sounds like a lot, but it turns out really well!

April 28, 2013 - 8:27 pm

Peanut Butter Cup Cake - Precious Photography - […] Read all the details about the recipe on: […]