Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is finished with a Rum Drizzle. It’s fantastic!

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting on a White Cake Plate

Did you know that March 25th has been deemed Chocolate Peanut Butter Day. The beauty of this particular day is that it’s not just one food; it’s two that are meant to be married. That’s what I did with this Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.

I filled multiple layers of my favorite chocolate cake with creamy, luscious peanut butter frosting.

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I’m not sure who makes up a calendar that dedicates days to food but I’m all for it. If you do just a bit of discovery you would find that there is a food celebrated every day of the year.

Something about a rich dark chocolate co-mingling with a fluffy peanut butter buttercream and a divine convergence comes into play though for this day. Add a tempting brown sugar and rum drizzle and we’re celebrating big time!

Getting to this point, the celebration of all things peanut butter and chocolatey was not an easy one for me this year. Oh, I had the best of intentions and I even had a plan put into play but things started to go awry from the get go.

Of some significance? Despite a fairly well stocked pantry, I had no smooth peanut butter as I got ready to prepare the frosting. DRAT! I considered both whirring some in a blender or running to the store but I made it easy on myself and called my neighbors Heather and Kevin.

They have four kids…how could they not have peanut butter? I was right but it’s funny; the HUGE stash they keep? It’s for Kevin! Loved hearing that this dad of four still takes PB&J sandwiches to work because he loves the stuff so much.

And I’m glad he does; one obstacle met and he even delivered! He can count on me to return the favor and deliver some of this Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting to them later.

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

So, two days and cake is done and in the freezer (I think it easiest to brush off the crumbs if it’s frozen) and frosting and drizzle are made. First order of business is to frost the cake.

I had cut the layers in half so I would be frosting four layers and it sure seemed I was making a lot of frosting; really it did. But it wasn’t enough. OK, no biggie (I’ve revised the recipe too so there is plenty).

Thankfully I had borrowed Kevin’s stash. SO grateful he decided to send me the monster can or I would have been in the same boat as before. I knew I would owe him big but thinking a huge slice of the finished cake might suffice right? (Which it did nicely. Whew.).

Finally. Cake done. Frosting Done. Cake Frosted. Setup for photos done. Cake in place. Plates were ready and drizzle about to be poured. All good and ready to go. I had a nice Italian tile leaning against my wood frame easel for a background and another for the tabletop.

I went behind the easel to get my camera’s remote switch and when I did I just barely brushed the easel. The easel just barely moved the big Italian tile and the tile fell forward onto the cake plate. I heard the noise first and I think I sobbed before even looking.

Call me very lucky. The plate was destroyed (and I loved that plate) but the tile had fallen forward and just fell on the edge of the plate so although my cake was sitting cockeyed and looked destroyed, all was not lost.

The back was a bit messed up but the cake was fully intact and the front looked perfect and after I had a small meltdown I got back to work to clean up the mess and fix the cake and start over.

I was tired and I wanted to be done but instead of taking a break I decided to just forge ahead. I was using a different camera card than normal. I couldn’t find my plug n’ play card reader or my normal memory card.

I honestly blamed my cat; thinking he had decided to 1. Play with something of mine for the first time ever and 2. Was able to pull the card reader out of the PC slot. It had to be, it was simply the ONLY solution!

So I picked up a different card, took my requisite number of shots (meaning WAY too many) and then finally was able to get off my feet for a bit and get to work on processing photos; except I could find zero images for an Espresso Chocolate Cake. At this point I’m almost in tears.

Except they weren’t on the card. Seriously…was I losing my mind? I could see them when the card was in my camera but not when the card was plugged into my computer. Luckily a fix was had by simply connecting my camera to my PC and yes, there they were on that same card.

Weird huh? And by the way, for those of you who know and love Peyton; he was wrongly accused. When I went to plug in the connection for the camera, I noticed the reader and the card under the PC. oops.

No big surprise as I had re-arranged my office this past weekend and was moving everything. I hope he’ll forgive me. But how will I know?

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Enough? Yes. And thankfully it ended there. I finished my work, neighbors dropped by after I sent out an SOS for ‘eaters’ and several friends took home the majority of the deliciousness and things have remained normal for at least an hour.

I’m certain tomorrow will be a better day. For one thing I will have cake for breakfast! This Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting is definitely rich and totally divine.

I’ve always loved the cake and have made it before; the espresso is not really evident in taste so much as it is one way to boost the chocolate flavor and that it does.

The frosting? Absolutely amazing. I might have tested it more than really necessary (hmm, maybe why I ran out?). Love all things peanut butter and chocolate? Then put this cake on your calendar. It’s not hard as long as you don’t plan to take any photos with Italian tiles nearby. 🙂

Need a simpler cake? We also love this One Bowl Chocolate Cake if we’re in a hurry…easy and delicious with a cinnamon frosting.

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

If you love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you will love this cake; both parts are equally divine but added together? Positively stellar!
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Cakes, Cupcakes & Cheesecake
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 824 kcal


For the Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa LOVE Valrhona Cocoa but can only find it if I ask the coffee barista at Whole Foods!
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter room temperature
  • 2 cups golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water Available at my local Whole Foods; I used Medaglia D’oro

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups butter softened
  • 1 ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp dark rum
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream

For the Rum Drizzle

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Dark Rum
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


To Make the Cake Layers

  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  • Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
  • Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition.
  • Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.
  • Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake, invert again so top side is up.
  • Cool completely.
  • Mark each cake layer with toothpicks halfway up the sides; use the toothpicks as a guide to cut each cake layer in half.

To Make the Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on high for one minute.
  • Add the rum and vanilla and mix in.
  • Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth; scraping the sides. Beat for 3 minutes on high. Use immediately

For the Rum Drizzle

  • Put all of the ingredients into a medium size saucepan. Heat until bubbly and cook for one minute. Cool completely.

Putting it all Together

  • Spread a tablespoon of frosting in the middle of your cake plate to help hold cake in place. Brush crumbs from one cake layer and put in the middle of the plate. Drizzle one Tablespoon of rum drizzle over cake layer and spread 1 and 1/2 cups of frosting on cake, smoothing to edges. Repeat with all layers. I used the back of a small spoon to even the frosting along the edges but that’s really optional.
  • Swirl frosting over top of cake and either pipe rosettes in the center of the cake on the top or dollop additional frosting and swirl in center.
  • Gently pour rum drizzle over cake; letting pool on top and drip down the sides. Serve.




Nutrition Facts
Espresso Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword cake, chocolate, dessert, peanut butter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    1. I have not Andrea but I would using exactly the same recipe except for modifying the cooking time. That would depend on the size of your muffin/cupcake pan but for a standard one I would start checking at 15-20 minutes.

  1. Are you sure you aren’t related to me? Your day and mishaps sound like just the sort of things that happen to me. It’s a shame about your cake plate. If you had any other pictures of it used at a different time I wish you had added it at the end. Now I’m just as curious about it as I am the cake. My minister is a huge chocolate and peanut butter fiend. I have few doubts he’ll turn away any rum drizzle either. His other evil temptation is red velvet cake. I wonder what red velvet would taste like with peanut butter filling and or frosting? Let’s face it, in reality red velvet is just glamorized chocolate cake. But somehow the two together doesn’t appeal to me. I may have to experiment just to see. It could be because I’m not a big sweets person. Heck of a thing for a baker to say isn’t it! However it makes life much easier since I was diagnosed with Celiac about 12 years ago and HAVE to eat gf now in my life. Trust me, this is NOT by choice. WHY anyone would CHOOSE to do this is beyond my understanding. It’s a pain in the tush just finding the food and then much of it taste just horrid, at least to me. You CANNOT take someone who has eaten and adored anything ever made that remotely resembled dumplings, dough balls, gnocchi, knish or dim sum or a dozen or more other things and expect them to suddenly give it up and to like the revolting gf food they offer. After all there is very little better in a home than the luscious scent of homemade bread baking and then to have it warm with homemade butter or especially apple butter. So as I’m forbidden for the most part of taking most of my family sweets because its too much of a temptation for my dad, a diabetic, who does very well watching his intake, I may have to drop this off at the church office. About a year ago my minister and his wife adopted two children. I believe the little boy was about 4 and the little girl (natural brother and sister) about 6 or so. I have a feeling if I sent a cake like this to them it wouldn’t last long.

    1. I probably have another cake on it in a photo somewhere…I should dig into that one day!

      Now…if it were me? Step away from the Red Velvet. Really a good chocolate cake is so far superior if you ask me…it’s just filled with a ton of red dye…never found that appealing at all. Make this one as is…just trust me OK? 🙂

    1. Like music to my ears…nothing makes me happier than hearing someone LOVES a recipe that I thought was fantastic too…thanks for taking the time to respond Jill and happy holidays!

  2. Well, here it is 2017 and I spotted this cake for my sons 35th bday request for choc/pb cake. It just came out of the oven more perfect than any cake I’ve made to date and believe me, I’ve made a ton. Can’t wait to complete it. I am getting a few mini liquor bottles to decorate the top and tall sparkly candles. Can’t wait!!!

  3. Gotta try this! Just wondered what is golden brown sugar? Could I sub. either dark brown or light brown sugar for it? Thanks!

  4. I’m dying! The cake is in the oven right now and the whole thing is rising and dripping over the top of my cake pans. I’ve probably lost a quarter of my batter in smoke and charred remnants and the bottom of the oven. What did I do wrong?!?

    1. Oh Anne I just read this and wish I could be there to help! I’ve made this same cake so many times without fail that I’m not sure what could have happened; baking has so many variables. Since it sounds like it rose too much, I might guess there was too much leavening put into it or that even it might have been mixed too much and the rise took the batter over the top?

      Were you able to rescue it?

  5. This was a lot of work for me but it turned out pretty perfect. I didn’t have any trouble with any of the components, except my layers were thinner than I expected, still, cutting them in half was pretty easy. I love this cake but will only make it for very special people. My daughter requested a chocolate peanut butter cake for after she had her baby, an “I DID IT!” cake. It’s 3 months late but she’s gonna flip!

    1. It is a bit of work but also a labor of love and if your daughter wanted this flavor combo, she will flip! True confession? I could probably eat the frosting by the spoonful. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know; hope everyone loves it.

  6. This is just so mouthwatering. Every detail of this cake is perfect. And your choice of flavor is just amazing. I would really love a slice of this cake right now. It’s just so heavenly.

  7. My mouth is watering. What an amazing cake, Looks delicious. I always order these types of cakes from Monginis online cake shop. They offer a vast range of cakes.

    1. You know Jennie, after the travails of getting it done having someone call it epic almost makes up for that journey…thanks so much!

    1. It amazing how rich espresso helps to make chocolate taste without always having a defining taste of it’s own. I use it a LOT with chocolate. And thanks…with that frosting; it was a win!

    1. Thank you Brianne; I have said it already but it bears repeating…I was VERY lucky. My neighbors felt the same; they are the fortunate recipients of my cravings to make dessert!

    1. It was fabulous June; the flavors were meant to be friends and that frosting is just unbelievable; so rich and fluffy. I want more of it!

    1. Right? I mean I can handle some snafus; I’m a big girl. But this? I melted into a puddle and wanted my mommy! Still the cake was divine and once done with everything at least I had it to console me. Whew.

    1. Thank you Cindy. All worth it. Although maybe not enough to have to do it a second time if it had been destroyed!

  8. This is such a gorgeous cake! Truly spectacular and by looking at it you’d never know you had a stressful photography session. I think we’ve all been there in one form or another. My worst was when my white board fell over and spilled red wine all over my tablecloth. Sadly, there is no recovery from that. Glad your cake came through it unscathed.

  9. Aaaaagggghhhhh! It’s so frustrating when all of those things keep happening! Thankfully you forged ahead and persevered. Heck, you did more than just persevere – you kicked ass! This cake is aaaaah-may-zing! All those gorgeous dark layers of cake with that delectable PB frosting. And seriously, I probably would’ve drunk most of the rum drizzle.

  10. Oh my goodness! The lengths you went to for this beautiful cake! But if I had to guess, one taste and it was all well worth it. I’ve had plenty of times where things have fallen on my food while taking pictures, usually a bounce board and nothing so destructive as a large Italian tile. I’m happy it didn’t obliterate this work of art. It’s truly spectacular! Love this.

    1. Fess up; you’ve been talking to my children right? 🙂 And thanks; we loved this cake..A lot!

    1. I wish all of you were! Truth? What is not to love about someone who loves to bake but can’t eat the results. Well, can’t eat ALL of them. My neighbors love those calls. I won’t deny some love the ones when I have a couple of cocktails I can’t drink even more!

  11. Really good looking cake — this is a winner. But wow, what a journey to get your pictures! I photograph in extremely cramped space (really need to do something about that!) and am always knocking things. What a close call with that tile, but sorry about the plate. You got some great photos, though.

    1. I seriously cried. Not a lot but I was tired and thought almost done…and then that. Plus I first thought the cake must have been ruined but except for some smushed frosting on the back and a small bit of cake breakage there too…it’s was mostly intact. If it had not been…well, I would have been hitting the liquor cabinet for sure!

  12. Wow, you could charge big bucks for a slice of this! I wish I was your neighbor. 🙂 Love that your neighbor likes PB&J sandwiches! I haven’t had one in years and may just splurge today for lunch. 🙂

    1. Made me smile…hope everything dries out soon. And come get your slice, the real deal is better. 🙂

    1. Thank you…I’m a little sad but the truth is that after the time to make this cake; if I had to choose the plate would have been the one to go so I’ll survive. Cause the cake did. 🙂

  13. Oh, Barb, I’m so glad this masterpiece was saved—but so sorry about your beautiful cake plate 🙁 So are you telling me that this cake was in your freezer when I was in Denver???? I would have been willing to take a little side trip for a slice—it looks incredible!!!

    1. I promise you this…you make that awful trek to see me (NOT at rush hour) and I will make anything you want. Deal?

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