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sliced vegan chocolate peanut butter cake on cake plate with whole cake

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Super moist vegan chocolate peanut butter cake made with layers of tender and rich chocolate cake between irresistible peanut butter buttercream frosting and decadent chocolate buttercream frosting. No one will know this cake is vegan nor dairy free!



Vegan Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 cups organic flour, sifted *see note for gluten free option
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk with 2 tsp lemon juice, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 cup just boiling water (just after boiling)
  • 2 tsp dissolvable espresso powder

Vegan Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered coconut sugar, sifted (see note)
  • 23 tbsp dairy-free milk

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 2 cups powdered coconut sugar
  • 23 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 67 vegan peanut butter cups (you can also use this vegan almond butter cup recipe and swap in peanut butter)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line three 8″ cake pans with coconut oil and parchment paper (or lightly flour). See note for alternative cake pan sizes.
  2. Make the vegan chocolate cake first: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Add in the dairy free milk mixture, applesauce, and dairy free yogurt, and mix until just combined. It won’t fully combine here, but just until the wet ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Add in the boiling espresso water and gently mix again until it becomes more like a traditional cake batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into each of the cake pans, and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes while the pans cool. Then remove the cakes from the pans and place them onto a cooling rack to fully cool before frosting.
  7. When ready to frost, make the peanut butter frosting first: in a large bowl, beat together the vegan butter and peanut butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated. You can use the dairy-free milk here to combine the powdered sugar until it’s creamy and fluffy.
  9. Place one cake layer onto a cake plate or stand, and add about 1/2 of the frosting to the top of the cake layer. Use a flat cake knife to smear the frosting until it meets the edges. Place the second layer on top and repeat. Place the third layer on top, and smooth any frosting that is poking out between the layers (almost like creating a crumb coating). Place the cake into the fridge or a cool place and prepare the vegan chocolate buttercream.
  10. To make the vegan chocolate buttercream frosting: in a large bowl (you can use the same bowl as the peanut butter frosting), beat the vegan butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Sift in the cacao powder and powdered sugar, continuing to beat until the sugar and powder are fully incorporated. Use the dairy-free milk here to help the buttercream become fluffy and creamy.
  11. When ready to finish frosting the vegan chocolate peanut butter cake: Remove the cake from the fridge and frost the outside of the cake, making swirls or smoothing the cake out as desired.
  12. Chop the peanut butter cups into quarters and top the cake.
  13. Slice and serve!
  14. Store any leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days covered, or in the fridge for up to a week. See note for preparing the cake ahead of time.


To make this vegan chocolate cake gluten free: use gluten free 1:1 baking flour. Please ensure that the mixture contains xanthan gum.

To make powdered coconut sugar: you can use powdered sugar here or you can keep the cake entirely refined sugar free, and pulse the coconut sugar in a food processor. Pulse it for about 5 minutes to create a Paleo powdered sugar.

Cake sizes: 

To make a three-layered 6″ cake: bake the cakes for 25-27 minutes, but check with a toothpick towards the end of the baking time.

To make a two-layered 9″ cake: bake the cakes for 32-37 minutes, but check with a toothpick towards the end of the baking time.

Prepare the cake ahead of time: if you want to prepare the cake ahead of time, make the cake up until you finish step 6. Once the cakes are cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and store the cake layers in the fridge for up to 1 day. Then when ready to assemble, make the frostings and continue assembling the cake.

Keywords: vegan chocolate peanut butter cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, chocolate peanut butter cake recipe, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting