Peanut butter and chocolate lovers will go nuts over this easy, single-layer, rich chocolate cake studded with peanut butter, chocolate and toffee chips. A cake that’s perfect for any occasion!
developed my passion for baking at an early age by hanging around the kitchen and watching my mom do her magic with a few cups of flour, butter and sugar. She loved to bake, but with a full-time job keeping her busy, her love got pushed to special occasions and holidays. However when she got into a baking mood, there was no stopping her. I remember daylong cookie baking sessions and making jelly roll cakes with extreme precision. Our desserts were never fancy — there were never multi-layer cakes floating around. We stuck with humble but delicious treats, like cookies, pies, coffee cakes and the best cheesecake you’ll ever taste. There was always one constant though: Everything was made from scratch and with love, and it’s something that’s stuck with me every time I get ready to turn on the oven and break out the chocolate.
I may have more time to bake these days than my mom, but one thing is for sure: Like her, I’ll take the simple desserts over the fancy ones. I think I’m not the only one out there that agrees with me on that point! Layer cakes look (and taste) great, but they are a little intimating to make. Besides making sure all the layers are even, you’ve got crumb coats to worry about and decorating. Who has time for that? All I want is a delicious cake that can be made in an hour, imperfections and all!
This is where the single-layer, or snack cake, comes in handy. Baked in a square pan, you don’t have to worry about what it looks like when it comes out of the oven because once it’s cool enough, it gets a generous amount of buttercream frosting, a crunchy topping and it’s ready to be served. Since I can’t resist the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, I baked up a rich chocolate cake with natural cocoa powder and studded it with some semi-sweet chocolate chips for an extra chocolate punch. The frosting is a simple peanut butter buttercream — but the real star is the topping of semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee bits. You get a flavor explosion with a little crunch in every bite!
I like to think of this cake as the cake for people who hate making cakes. It’s so easy to make and it’s really perfect for any time of the year. Bring it to a potluck, a dinner, a holiday, birthday or just because! No one can refuse the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and crunch.
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the buttercream:
- 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter chips
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toffee chips
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-by-9-by-2-inch square baking pan with butter. Dust with cocoa powder to prevent the cake from sticking.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Whisk to combine and get out any lumps from the cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and airy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined and then the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides.
- Mix in half the flour on medium speed, then half the milk. Repeat with remaining ingredients and finish with the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
- Scoop into your prepared baking pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick insert in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely in the pan before proceeding with the frosting.
- Once the cake is cool, run a butter knife around the edges to loosen the cake. If serving in the pan, flip the cake out and then back in so it will cut with ease. If serving on a platter, flip the cake out and transfer to cake tray or stand.
- To make the buttercream frosting, add the peanut butter, butter, confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream to a clean mixing bowl. Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and start mixing on medium speed. Increase the speed to high and beat until the buttercream is light and airy, about 1 to 2 minutes. If you over-beat the buttercream, just add a touch more heavy cream in.
- Frost the top of the cake and cover the top with the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee bits.
- Store any leftover cake in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.