Do you have a chocolate peanut butter lover in your life? If you're looking for the best chocolate and peanut butter celebration cake, look no further! This two layer Reese's cake is sure to impress! Peanut butter chocolate layers, chocolate ganache, peanut buttercream and Reese's cups - what's not to love?
This recipe can be divided into three parts:
- Chocolate peanut butter cake layers
- Milk chocolate ganache and filling
- Peanut buttercream decoration
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Layers
Most recipes for a Reese's inspired cake will have a chocolate cake, covered in peanut butter frosting. The thing these recipes miss is the opportunity to infuse the cake itself with all that peanut-y chocolate goodness!
To make peanut chocolate cake, you'll need:
- Butter - softened at room temperature. I always recommend using unsalted butter here, but you could use salted too. If using salted, reduce the salt added separately.
- Peanut butter - I'd recommend using a smooth peanut butter, for best results and a smooth cake batter. You can use chunky peanut butter, but this will leave bits of peanut in the cake batter, which may make mixing a bit more difficult. It will also leave pieces of peanut in your cake batter. This recipe hasn't been tested with chunky peanut butter.
- Water - just a bit of tap water.
- Cocoa powder - a good quality cocoa powder is essential to any chocolate cake. Using dutch processed will give deeper flavour.
- Flour - either all purpose or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Sugar - superfine granulated or caster sugar.
- Brown sugar - light brown muscovado sugar, firmly packed when measuring.
- Eggs - for best results, let your eggs come to room temperature if you keep these refrigerated normally.
- Cream cheese - I use spreadable cream cheese. This is best brought to room temperature. You can substitute with mascarpone cheese, soured cream or crème fraîche. I would not recommend using a block of cream cheese as this will be quite stiff for mixing into the batter.
- Baking soda
Ganache and Filling
The filling for this cake is milk chocolate ganache and Reese's cups. You'll need:
- Milk chocolate - I like using milk chocolate chips, but you can use any solid milk chocolate as long as it is chopped into small pieces to melt more evenly.
- Cream - use either heavy cream or double cream.
- Reese's cups - the precise number of Reese's cups is a matter of personal preference and cake size. I used about 13 standard sized Reese's cups.
Buttercream and Decoration
For the ultimate Reese's cake experience, paired this cake with a super smooth and creamy peanut buttercream. For step by step directions, check out my peanut butter buttercream recipe.
All you'll need for frosting and decorating your cake will be:
- Peanut butter - for a smooth and creamy frosting, you'll want to use smooth peanut butter here.
- Butter - softened at room temperature. I prefer using unsalted butter, but you may prefer salted in this recipe, to accent the peanuts.
- Powdered sugar - also known as icing sugar.
- Mini Reese's cups - I think these tiny cups make for the perfect decoration, but you could also use full size Reese's cups or Reese's pieces - any chocolate peanut candy will work!
Making Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
This cake follows processes similar to my Texas Sheet Cake, where we start by melting the butter in a saucepan with the cocoa powder and water. Once melted, let the mixture boil for 1 minute before removing from the heat and pouring into a large mixing bowl. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
Then add the peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar to the bowl, whisking to incorporate. Add the eggs and whisk in, followed by the cream cheese.
Finally sift in the remaining dry ingredients - the flour, salt and baking soda. Pour into prepared cake tins and spread evenly.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes, checking for a toothpick inserted in the centre to come out clean. Times will vary based on your oven and the size of pan used.
Notes for Baking in Different Pans
I made this cake in 7.5" round silicone cake tins, which don't require any preparation for baking. You can certainly use traditional cake pans and other sized trays.
If using a traditional cake pan, grease and flour this to avoid the cake sticking.
In place of the 7.5" pan, you could use 7" or 8" pans. A 7" pan (or smaller) will result in thicker layers, which may take slightly longer to bake. Using a larger pan, such as 8", will mean the cake layers are thinner individually. This may mean it cooks slightly faster, so just be sure to keep an eye on the cake while baking!
Quick Milk Chocolate Ganache
Making ganache is a super simple process, but it requires a little patience. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until well warmed. I like to bring mine to a simmer and allow to continue simmering for about 2 minutes. This ensures it is hot enough to melt the chocolate smoothly. Avoid boiling the milk, or this can form a skin.
Once the cream is thoroughly heated, pour over the chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate) in a heatproof bowl. Let this sit for 2 minutes. Allowing it to sit will help the chocolate to begin warming, which makes stirring and melting it easier.
Now it's time to stir! Simple stir with a spoon or spatula until smooth.
Allow the ganache to cool down, this will make it easier to work with. If you're in a rush, you can pop this in the refrigerator to speed the process.
Frosting for Peanut Butter Cake
You could use all sorts of frostings for this cake, but I recommend using a creamy and smooth peanut butter buttercream. You can use one quantity of my peanut butter icing, which will be enough for coating the cake in a good layer of peanut buttercream (as shown in the pictures).
Assembling Reese's Cake
To put this cake together, you'll need your ganache, Reese's and peanut buttercream.
Begin by placing one of the cake layers on your cake plate. This cake doesn't dome much in the oven, so trimming the top is optional. I like to trim mine to ensure a flat surface and I find it allows the ganache to form a good sandwich between the layers.
Add about a quarter of your ganache and then form a layer of Reese's cups. See the pictures below for a demonstration of how I've layered mine.
Top this with another quarter of the ganache, spreading to help fill the gaps between the Reese's cups. Then stack the remaining layer of cake on top.
Use the remaining ganache to cover the top and sides of the cake, spreading as evenly as possible. This will create a seal for your cake, which helps to keep it fresh longer. Once ganached, you can store your cake in the refrigerator without worrying it will stale.
In order to set the ganache layer, place the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Finally, frost with peanut buttercream and decorate with mini Reese's cups or other chocolate and peanut butter pieces.
This layered Reese's cake will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator. It is best served nearer room temperature, so remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before slicing (times will vary based on temperature and weather conditions).
Yes! This cake freezes easily. You can opt for freezing the components (the cake layers and peanut butter buttercream) or freezing the full cake once assembled.
Be sure to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
The short answer here is yes - Reese's peanut butter cake is essentially just chocolate and peanut butter cake. You can make the cake layers, buttercream and ganache in this recipe without needing any Reese's cups. The cake will still be decadent and full of chocolate peanut butter flavour.
You can also use any peanut butter chocolate candies to fill and top the cake in place of Reese's brand.
If you like this recipe, check out these other cakes:
- 2 7.5 inch round cake pan
- large mixing bowl
- Small saucepan
Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Layers
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 4 tablespoon cocoa powder dutch processed
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar (muscovado) firmly packed
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup spreadable cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups all purpose flour or plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Ingredients for Milk Chocolate Ganache
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream or double cream
- 6 oz milk chocolate chips or solid milk chocolate finely chopped
Ingredients for Peanut Buttercream
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2⅔ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
- 13 regular Reese's cups
- 16 mini Reese's cups (optional)
Instructions for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Layers
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and preparing your cake tins.
- Place the butter, cocoa powder and water in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute and then pour into a large mixing bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar to the boiled cocoa mixture and whisk together until smooth.
- Next add the eggs and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the cream cheese and whisk to combine.
- Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into the batter and stir together using a spatula until you have a smooth cake batter.
- Pour into your readied cake tins and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for a couple of minutes before gently removing and placing on a wire rack to continue cooling.
Instructions for Milk Chocolate Ganache
- In a small saucepan, warm the cream over a medium heat until simmering. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
- Then, pour the warmed cream over the milk chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
- Using a spatula or spoon, stir until smooth.
- Allow the ganache to cool (see note).
Instructions for Peanut Buttercream
- Beat the butter and peanut butter together with an electric hand beater or standing mixer. Then sift the powdered sugar into the mix and beat until smooth (see note).
Instructions for Assembly
- Place a layer of your cake on a cake plate (see note). Add about a quarter of your ganache to the top and spread evenly.
- Create a layer of Reese's cups. This is easiest to do by placing one in the centre and then adding a ring around this. You can cut these to enable more coverage if needed.
- Add another quarter of your ganache over top of the Reese's and spread to fill gaps.
- Place the remaining cake layer on top and then cover the top and sides with the remaining ganache.
- Once ganached, place the cake in the refrigerator to allow the ganache to set more firmly. This is best to leave for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
- Spread the peanut butter buttercream over the top and sides of the cake and decorate with mini Reese's cups.