Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate and peanut butter, together, should rule the world. They could solve all of life’s problems, and that’s why I’m bringing you this in-your-face, intensely chocolaty cake with drippy, sticky, sweet, peanut butter glaze. If you’re feeling down, this is what you need. It’s the ultimate comfort food cake. I’ll be honest and say that I’m not usually the biggest fan of chocolate cake because it tends to be a bit dry and lacking in flavor. Fear not here, though, because this one is stick-to-the-fork moist and stays that way for days. This recipe has no added oil or vegan butter in the sponge. Peanut butter acts as the fat, adding to the rich flavor and the slightly fudgy texture.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 9 servings
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
  • ⅓ cup (86 g) natural peanut butter (see tips)
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (123 g) unsweetened applesauce or peeled and pureed cooked sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder (optional but recommended; it really brings out the chocolate flavor)
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • ¾ cup (65 g) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (use only ¼ teaspoon if your peanut butter contains salt)
  • ½ cup (90 g) dairy-free chocolate chips
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • ¾ cup (194 g) natural peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (use only ⅛ teaspoon if your peanut butter contains salt)
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (146 g) powdered sugar
  • 4 to 7 tablespoons (60 to 105 ml) unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
  1. Prepare the cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and grease an 8-inch (20.5-cm) square pan with oil or vegan butter. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper as wide as your pan and long enough to cover the bottom and 2 opposite sides with enough overhang to act as handles for lifting out the cake once it’s been baked. The oil or butter will help keep it in place.
  2. Put the peanut butter in a bowl and gradually add the nondairy milk, whisking as you go, to incorporate the peanut butter into the milk. Then add the vanilla, applesauce, vinegar and coffee; stir together really well.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir together gently. Do not beat it and do not overmix; stop when all the flour has just been absorbed. Add the chocolate chips and gently stir again to distribute. Then immediately pour into the prepared pan and bake for 37 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the edges and, if you press on the top of it with a finger, it feels firm with a little bit of give. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out almost clean. You might hit a melted chocolate chip, so bear that in mind when checking. To keep the cake nice and moist, it is important not to overbake it. It’s better to underbake it very slightly.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and lift it gently out of the pan, using the parchment paper “handles.” Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat the peanut butter with the salt until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating as you go. It will likely get a little stiff, and when it does, add nondairy milk a tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, stopping when it reaches a thick, gloopy, yet pourable consistency.
  7. Place the cake on a plate, and then pour the frosting over the cake, using a spatula to spread it out, if necessary. It will run down the sides in places. Allow the frosting to firm up a little before serving. You can hurry it along by chilling it in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
Tips: Use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Smooth looks better but crunchy adds good texture! Mashed banana used instead of the applesauce or sweet potato is really nice!

Credit: Reprinted with permission from Vegan Comfort Cooking by Melanie McDonald, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Melanie McDonald.
Recipe by Go Dairy Free at