Naked Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake
Yield: 10-12 servings
For the Cake:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 and ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 and ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 4½ tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
  • 12 tablespoons of butter, softened (1½ sticks)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
For the Ganache:
  • 4.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • peanut butter cups to garnish (optional)
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour your cake pans, lining with a circle of parchment paper. (This can be 6, 8 or 9 inch pans, I would use at least 3 pans if doing 6 inch though.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Stir in the water, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and eggs, continue to stir until batter is smooth.
  5. Divide batter amongst the pans and bake for 25-35 mins, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
For the Ganache:
  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer on the stove-top, and then pour over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool and thicken before using. (I pop mine in the fridge or freezer.
For the Frosting:
  1. Cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Fold in the whipped cream until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
To assemble:
  1. Using a serrated knife, level each cake layer, slicing off the "domed" top to make it even. Place the bottom later on a piece of parchment paper on a cake turntable (if you have one.)
  2. Spread a layer of ganache over the first layer of cake, sticking it into the fridge or freezer if needed to firm it up. (I stuck the whole cake into the fridge between each frosting layer.)
  3. Follow with a layer of frosting, then another layer of cake, more ganache, more frosting etc. Add some frosting to the outside of the cake, smoothing with a spatula. Top with chopped peanut butter cups.
* Base cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Recipe by The Baker Chick at