Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake received a standing ovation at our house! This is a rich chocolate cake layered with salted caramel and a from scratch peanut butter frosting, perfect for the peanut butter cup lover in your life.
Some days, you need to bake a chocolate cake. But you can’t just make any chocolate cake, it should be a peanut butter chocolate cake because you haven’t had a peanut butter cup in ages and really isn’t it about time? But then you remember you haven’t made caramel in at least a week or so and you need some of that too. A peek into the spice pantry has you staring at sea salt so in about 15 seconds of letting your thoughts wander in the kitchen, you basically end up with this salted caramel peanut butter chocolate cake.
For the chocolate cake, I simply used my Perfect Chocolate Cake From Scratch recipe. It bakes up nice and thick and chocolate-y, making the perfect complement to the caramel and peanut butter frosting. I sliced each layer of the cake in half to make 4 total layers, because I think it works best for the filling/frosting ratio of this cake.
When you bite into a peanut butter cup, you get a good amount of filling, so there had to be enough filling in this cake to allow for a bit of peanut butter in every bite. As an added bonus, the thinner layers absorbed some of the caramel, adding just an extra bit of richness that took this cake over the top in the best way possible.
Sharing it with my people confirmed the glorious-ness of this cake, because Princess A took to applauding after each bite. Do you know what it is when someone is applauding after each bite of a dish? It’s a sign that we need to stop talking so we can get to baking cake.
Go, shoo, there’s cake to be made! 😉
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 225 g
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400 g
- 1 cup cocoa powder approx 88 g - cocoa weights vary slightly, unsweetened
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sour cream 454 g
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil 118 ml
- 2 large eggs
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
- 3 sticks unsalted butter 12 oz, 339 g, softened
- 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter 178 g
- 5 cups sifted powdered sugar 568 g, confectioner's
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Flaked sea salt (optional) or 1/2 tsp sea salt mixed into the caramel
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1 ounce heavy cream
Bake the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 325 F (170 C, mark 3), and butter two 8" round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt your chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave (my preference) at 50% power for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave in additional 30 second intervals (50% power) as needed until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in 1/4 cup of the oil and keep stirring until homogeneous. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, eggs, and sour cream.
- Add the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed (or working in 2 batches if not using a mixer) until the ingredients have just combined.
- Slowly stir in the oil and chocolate mixture and then the flour. When all ingredients have just come together, stop mixing.
- Divide the batter evenly between your prepared baking pans, and bake for 50-55 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with no more than 1-2 moist crumbs.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to set in the pan 10-15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the Caramel (you may also skip this and use a store bought salted caramel sauce)
- While the cake is baking, make your caramel. Place your water and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently while the sugar dissolves, brushing the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush if you see crystals forming.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring, increase the heat to high, and cook until the sugar turns a nice copper brown. Immediately remove from heat (so it doesn't burn) and whisk in the heavy cream and butter. It will bubble like crazy, so be careful!
- Stir until butter and cream are fully incorporated. If you have some lumps, cook the caramel over low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth. Transfer to a different container and refrigerate so it thickens for layering.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
- Make the peanut butter buttercream by whipping together the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes on high). Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. If you accidentally add too much sugar and need to thin it, add a little heavy cream.
Assemble the cake:
- Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, divide each layer of cake in half so you have 4 layers total.
- Swipe a little bit of frosting onto a cake board and place the bottom layer of cake, cut side up, on the board. Spread a layer of peanut butter frosting over the top of the cake and drizzle with caramel. Top with a layer of cake. Repeat 2 more times until all layers have been used.
- Spread a very thin layer of peanut butter frosting around the cake and chill for 10 minutes.
- Cover the cake with the remaining frosting, and then get creative pouring or drizzling on the ganache or additional caramel. Top with an optional sprinkle of course sea salt. Enjoy!