Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This layered Chocolate Brownie Cake is sandwiched aroundΒ creamy peanut butter frosting and smothered in chocolate ganache. Yeah, it’s good.

Four Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cake |

Guys, today might just be the best day of the year. Better than Christmas. Better than Thanksgiving. Maybe even better than your birthday. You know why? Because it’s Chocolate Peanut Butter day! That’s right, friends. An entire day dedicated to the best combo since Cory and Topanga.

To celebrate, my friends Carla of Chocolate Moosey and Miriam of Overtime Cook are hosting a party filled with over 30 recipes featuring chocolate and peanut butter. If you’d like to keep up with all the action, you can follow the hashtag #chocPBday or follow our chocolate peanut butter board on Pinterest.

There you’ll find some of our favorite PB and chocolatey goodies like my no bake peanut putter bars, a bowl full of Puppy Chow, these Reese’s pieces peanut butter cookies, or this cake we’re talking about today…


Sooo about this 4 Layer Chocolate Brownie Cake. Where to begin?

It all started with a birthday. My nephew’s to be exact. He turned 18 (what?! HOW???) a few weekends ago and we had a surprise neon-themed party in his honor. I, of course, offered to make the cake. My nephew’s favorite foods are brownies and chocolate peanut butter cream pie. So of course, I decided a chocolate and peanut butter layer cake was in order.

But then I thought…why not stop there? Why not add brownies? It is his 18th birthday after all. Let’s go nuts. And so we did.

I’m not going to lie. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It’s rich and dense and intensely chocolatey and peanut buttery. It’s for true chocolate and peanut butter lovers.

Since it does have several layers and steps, I decided to break it down for you step by step. I know it’s going to be hard to look at all of these pictures of chocolate and peanut butter. Bear with me.

First, bake a batch of brownies and a batch of chocolate cake. The brownies and cake should each be divided evenly between two 9 inch round pans, giving you four layers total. I made this easy on myself and used a box brownie and cake mix. Sue me if you want (actually don’t…that would suck). Just feel free to make your own from scratch brownies and cake mix if you’re feeling uber ambitious. Here’s a tip: whenever I make a layer cake, I always grease the pans, then cut parchment paper into circles the size of the pan, press them to the bottom, then grease the top of those. This makes the cakes release from the pan so much easier.

chocolate-peanut-butter-cake-step-1.jpgAnother pro tip? If you’re having trouble with your cake moving around while you’re frosting it, put a little dollop of frosting in the center of the platter before you begin.

While I appreciate the occasional shortcut, frosting is not the place to cut corners. It’s so easy to whip up a batch of frosting and it tastes so much better than store bought! This peanut butter frosting recipe came from my friend Cathy, and I’m in love with it. It’s a cream cheese frosting that’s not too painfully sweet and has a robust peanut butter flavor.

Alright, on to the layers! Here’s how this thing goes down. Start with a layer of brownies. Place a big scoop of frosting in the center then work it out to the outsides. It’s good if you have some frosting pooling over the sides. You’ll use that for the crumb coat. Repeat those steps layering brownie, frosting, cake, frosting, brownie, frosting, cake. Yeah, it’s a lot of chocolate and peanut butter.

Four Layer Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting |

Time for the crumb coat! Place a big scoop of frosting on the top layer and work it around the top and sides of the cake. You want this layer to be fairly thin. The point is just to grab up all the loose crumbs so your outer layer will be nice and smooth. After the crumb coat, be sure to refrigerate the cake for at least an hour or until firm.

How to Make a Four Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake |

After the crumb coat is firm, take the cake out and spread one final layer of frosting around the outside. It doesn’t have to perfectly smooth because we’re about to pour creamy chocolate ganache (liquid gold) all over it. Sorta like this:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cake with Ganache |

Okay friends, here’s where you can learn from my mistakes. Do not make this cake on a platter the same size as the cake, or you will end up with puddles of chocolate ganache everywhere. It also makes it really, really difficult to cover or transfer anywhere. I ended up having to balance this stand, uncovered, on my lap the entire way to the party. I had to chuckle thinking of what the scene would’ve looked like had we gotten into a car accident. Just me and the husband, covered in shards of broken glass, chocolate, and peanut butter frosting. I have to tell ya, if we have to die, that’s the way I want to go.


I finished the cake with a simple circle of peanut butter chips. (Three cheers for avoiding a piping bag!). As you can (painfully) see, my layer cake wasn’t level at all. I try not to stress myself about these things too much. I figure a crooked cake proves it’s homemade, and besides, it tastes amazing, and that’s more than can be said for some bakery cakes.

So let’s forget about calories and diets and perfectly level cakes and celebrate chocolate and peanut butter day the way it was meant to be celebrated– with complete and utter abandon. You with me?

…oh, and don’t forget that if you need to scratch that peanut butter itch, you needn’t wait till dessert. Try a Fluffernutter, a grilled PBJ, or just squeeze some Amish Peanut Butter Spread onto just about anything!

4 Layer Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

4 Layer Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 box fudge brownie mix (make sure it's a family size) plus the eggs, oil, and water called for on the box OR Use your favorite homemade recipe
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix plus eggs, oil, and water called for on the box OR Use your favorite homemade recipe

For the peanut butter frosting:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 8 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 4-6 Tablespoons half and half

For the ganache:

  • 4 ounces chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Peanut butter chips (optional)


  • You will need two 9 inch round brownie layers and two 9 inch round cake layers. If you have enough pans, feel free to make them both at once, but I had to do them separately since I only have two 9 inch pans.
  • Grease the pans then cut 2 circles of parchment paper the same diameter of the pan and place them in the bottom. Grease the top of the parchment paper.
  • Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool in the pans, then run a knife along the outside edge. Flip the pans and the brownie should come right off. Peel off the parchment paper.
  • Repeat with the cake batter.
  • Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar, a few cups at a time, beating slowly after each addition (otherwise you'll end up with huge mushroom clouds of powdered sugar!). Once most of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add in 4 Tablespoons of the half and half. Beat on high speed until smooth. The frosting should be thick but easily spreadable. If it still pulls when you try to spread it with a knife, add more half and half, a Tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
  • To assemble:

    1. Once the cakes and brownies are all cooled and removed from the pans, you're ready to start frosting! Start by putting a small dollop of frosting on the plate/board/platter where you'll be frosting the cake. (Note: Only do this if you aren't intending to move the cake after decorating it.) Place one layer of brownie on top. Add a large scoop of frosting and use an offset spatula to work the frosting from the center out to the outsides of the cake. It's fine if there's frosting hanging off the sides.
    2. Place a layer of cake on top of the first layer of frosting. Follow the same frosting techniques. Repeat with the remaining layer of brownie and cake.
    3. For the final layer, place a large scoop of frosting on top of the cake and use a spatula to press it out to the edges. You want this layer to be fairly thin. It's main purpose is to pick up any loose crumbs. Use your spatula to smooth out the extra frosting on the sides. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour.
    4. In the meantime, make the ganache. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until very hot to the touch. Pour it over the chopped chocolate and allow it to set for a few minutes. Stir the mixture vigorously until it begins to form a smooth, creamy chocolate coating.
    5. Once the crumb coat is set, remove the cake from the fridge and give it one last coat of frosting. Pour the ganache over top of the cake, allowing it to drip over the sides. Decorate with peanut butter chips, if possible.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Β Recipe by NeighborFood


    1. Ok, wow, this recipe, I’m speechless…it looks SO good and the photos are so great!! Pinned for later πŸ™‚

    2. You totally make my life easier! I always struggle frosting the cake since it slides all over the cake stand. Why haven’t I though to add a little frosting on the bottom before? genius!
      And this cake oh my gosh!!! Stunning!

    3. Totally gorgeous! I have a a similar cake and it was one of best things I ever made! (Carolyn of alldayidreamaboutfood)

    4. I love how you broke this layer cake down step by step. And can you imagine if an officer pulled you over while you were transporting this cake? Pair that up with your recent sugar package and they’d be like, who IS this girl? haha I bet your nephew was absolutely thrilled with this cake.

    5. I’m not much of a layer cake kind of gal, both for baking and eating… I’d totally make an exception for this one, though!
      (Oh, and when it comes to cake, I’ve learned that the not-so-pretty lopsided cakes usually taste way better than the super-perfect pretty cakes… substance over style, that’s what I always say! Also, it’s my excuse for why my cakes always look so uneven and sloppily frosted.) πŸ™‚

    6. What a beautiful looking and delicious sounding cake. That chocolate ganache really puts it over the edge!

      Renee – Kudos Kitchen

    7. Wow! That is one amazing cake! I have no patience for making layer cakes, but I would gladly eat this one! Love that you incorporated layers of brownies, too! Happy Chocolate Peanut Butter Day!

    8. Holy deliciousness, Batman! My eyes are bugging out staring at (and longing for) this cake, especially those drizzle photos! I want to eat the whole dang thing!

    9. Holy mother of all that’s sacred…girl, this CAKE! It’s amazing! Your lucky nephew. And Courtney, that’s totally the right attitude about the levelness of the cake. Mine are NEVER level. Nor do they ever look professional or beautiful or perfect. Gimme a cake that tastes incredible over one that looks incredible any day of the week. I’m in love! I almost fell over when I saw the photos of the ganache being poured over top of the cake. Food porn at its finest.

    10. Holy cow a brownie cake!? I’ve had chocolate peanut butter cake similar to this but not with a brownie. Mind blowing.

    11. I’m head over heels in luuuurve with this cake!!! I am obsessed with the decadence level!!! ooooooh so jealous of your nephew right now lol

    12. This looks amazing. I LOVE your ‘liquid gold’ and may be using the expression because it is perfect!!!!!

      Thank you for your very informative tips, too.

      BTW, would you like to adopt me as your Aunt for whom you, also, bake?

    13. Courtney, this cake is the bomb. . love this! and I wouldn’t do chocolate peanut butter day any differently. Indulgence to the max I say. and I think your cake looks gorgeous!!! love that chocolate ganache. . yum!

    14. I want this cake for my birthday. And who cares about level cakes anyway? I’ll take this glorious cake any day and the day after too.

    15. Oh gosh, I am SO over level cakes. Totally overrated. This cake looks kind of transcendental Courtney. You’re crazy, I love you.

    16. Thanks for supplying me with just what I’ve been looking for — a spectacular and delicious dessert to prepare for my husband’s 10th birthday party this Saturday! This sounds yummy and my mouth is already salivating!

    17. This is absolute genius, Courtney! Brownies and chocolate cake together in one beautiful stack. And that peanut butter frosting! Seriously. GOOD. Your nephew must have been thrilled! Pinning on my Recipes to Try board.

    18. OK…This cake…THIS cake…is crazy and I love it – You are a genius! What a perfect way to celebrate this delicious day (or any day!!)!

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