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Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake
If you're craving an extra rich, chocolatey peanut buttery cake and are intrigued by the idea of a thin layer of peanut butter glaze, then this cake was made for you. It's one of the moistest cakes I have ever made and it tastes amazing.
This cake comes from Yossy Arefi's cookbook: Snacking Cakes! Her book is full of low-effort easy-to-make snack cakes that require very little time, ingredients, or equipment, aka no stand mixer, no problem!
When I was flipping through her book looking for something to make (and admiring the BEAUTIFUL photography), I came across the recipe for this cake and immediately messaged her asking if I could share it. If you're new here, I kind of have a thing for chocolate and peanut butter... it's a combination after my own heart.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Flavor. The cake is jam-packed with chocolate and peanut butter, and the glaze adds so much extra flavor.
- Texture. This snack cake is super soft and incredibly moist.
- Easy to Make. This is an easy one-bowl recipe. Just mix the ingredients with a hand or stand mixer, bake, let cool, and top with the glaze. No chilling or stacking layers required!
- Size. This recipe is made in an 8×8-inch pan, so you can get anywhere from 9 to 16 servings, depending on how you slice it!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Light Brown Sugar: Using all brown sugar helps to keep the cake moist due to the sugar's additional moisture content (from the molasses). You can replace it with an equal amount of dark brown sugar in a pinch!
- Eggs: You'll need two large eggs for the chocolate peanut butter cake; ensure they're room temperature!
- Creamy Peanut Butter: You can use any brand of peanut butter in this recipe; just make sure you avoid the natural, unsweetened kind that has the oil on top and needs to be stirred; it'll make this cake extra oily.
- Oil: Oil instead of butter helps the cocoa flavor shine through. It also has the added benefit of yielding a super moist chocolate cupcake.
- Milk: This helps to make the texture lighter and also stronger (thanks to the lactic acid and protein). You can replace it with your favorite non-dairy alternative like almond milk or soy milk.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: Vanilla is a flavor enhancer. You can use an equal amount of vanilla extract in its place.
- All-Purpose Flour: Only 1 cup of all-purpose flour is needed!
- Cocoa Powder: I recommend using Dutch-processed cocoa for that deep, chocolatey flavor, but an unsweetened natural cocoa powder will work just fine too!
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: To help our cake rise and bake up nicely.
- Salt: Baked goods made without salt can taste a little plain, so don't forget it!
- Hot Coffee: Don't worry, the cake won't taste like coffee! This just enhances the chocolate flavor; if you're not a coffee drinker or worried about the flavor, just use an equal amount of hot water instead!
- Peanut Butter Chips (optional): To amp up the peanut butter flavor, I added in 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips to the batter; totally optional but highly recommended!
The peanut butter glaze is ridiculously easy to make as well. Just powdered sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and hot water whisked together until nice and smooth! I like to top the cake with honey-roasted peanuts and flaky sea salt, but again, that's optional!
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
How do you store this chocolate peanut butter snack cake?
I recommend storing this snack cake in an airtight container at room temperature. It'll stay fresh for three days (assuming it lasts that long!).
Can this recipe be doubled?
Absolutely! You can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-inch pan. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 9 to 18 in the recipe card to get the proper measurements. Just keep in mind that your sheet cake might take a few minutes longer to bake overall.
Help! My cake is dry! What did I do wrong?
This cake is anything but dry! If yours turns out as such, you likely either added too much flour or overbaked it! It could also be a combination of the two!
Help! My cake sunk in the middle! What did I do wrong?
A little bit of sinking when cooling is natural, but if the cake completely sinks to the point where the edges of the cake are higher than the middle, then something went wrong! It's possible that you underbaked the cake and removed it from the oven before the middle got a chance to finish baking. Adding too much baking powder or baking soda could also cause the cake to rapidly rise while baking and then collapse while cooling.
Watch How to Make This Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake:
Note: All of the recipes on my blog are carefully developed using gram measurements as it’s the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate, but they vary in volume worldwide! In any event, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click “US Customary” and it’ll convert to volume measures!
Remember to tag me @mikebakesnyc on Instagram and leave a rating + review below if you make this Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake! Happy baking!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Cake
For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:
- 200 g light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 125 g creamy peanut butter
- 120 ml canola oil
- 120 ml whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 45 g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 128 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 120 ml hot coffee OR 120ml (½ cup) hot water + 1 teaspoon espresso powder
For the Peanut Butter Glaze:
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 32 g creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 15-30 g hot water
- 55 g chopped honey roasted peanuts
- flaky sea salt optional
To Make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter, oil, milk, vanilla, and salt and whisk until well combined. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk until combined and smooth. Add in the hot coffee/water mixture last and stir until combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cake is puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then remove the cake from the pan and set it on a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
To Make the Peanut Butter Glaze:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, peanut butter, vanilla bean paste, salt, and 1 tablespoon of hot water until smooth. If the glaze is thick, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time, until it's smooth and pourable. (It took 2 tablespoons total for me).
- Spoon or pour the glaze over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and flaky salt, if using. Allow the glaze to set before slicing into the cake. Store the cake well-covered at room temperature for up to three days.
Looking for more chocolate-peanut butter recipes? Check these out!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Macarons
Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Buttercream
Copycat Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
Butterfinger® Cookie Dough Bites