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+ servings
Chocolate peanut butter cake topped with swirls of frosting and chopped chocolate.

High Altitude Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Heather Smoke
Soft and moist dark chocolate cake, frosted with fluffy peanut butter buttercream that's flecked with chopped chocolate.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • Stand Mixer with Whisk Attachment



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder or instant coffee, optional
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder, optional
  • ⅛ - ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp milk, ONLY if needed for desired consistency
  • cup creamy peanut butter, NOT all-natural
  • 3 oz good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped



  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray. If making half the recipe, use three 6-inch cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Separately, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until combined, about 15 seconds.
  • Divide the batter between the pans. Bake on the center oven rack for about 22-28 minutes, until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Set the pans on a cooling rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth.
  • With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt, mixing to combine.
  • Add the vanilla, and increase the speed to medium (#4-6 on a Kitchen Aid mixer); whip for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping the bowl down occasionally, and only adding the milk if needed for desired consistency.
    Turn the speed down to "stir" and mix for 2 minutes to eliminate big air bubbles.
  • Add the peanut butter and fold in with a spatula until combined.
  • Remove the cooled cakes from the pans. Place one cake layer on a cake board, and frost with a layer of buttercream. Repeat stacking and filling the cake layers, then frost all over with a thin "crumb coat" of buttercream. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the crumb coat, keeping the bowl of remaining buttercream covered.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to the remaining buttercream. Frost all over with a final layer of buttercream.


Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container or cake carrier for 3 days.
Keyword Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter
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