Buckeye Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake

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The classic buckeye candy — a center of sweet/creamy peanut butter enrobed in chocolate — is replicated in this towering four-layer cake. We recommend it highly for your next birthday party!

Read our blog about this cake, with additional photos, at Bakers' Banter.

Buckeye Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake

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Published: 01/01/2010



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Instant ClearJel or cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup Double Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-Process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups water


  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk


  • 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8" x 2" round cake pans. Note: These pans need to be at least 2" tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8" pans, substitute 9" round pans.

2) To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth.

3) Gradually add the water, beating until smooth.

4) Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

5) Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

6) To make the filling: Mix the sugar, peanut butter and vanilla till crumbly. Add the milk and mix till smooth, adding more milk if necessary to make a spreadable filling.

7) Divide the cooled layers in half horizontally, to make four layers. Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.

8) To make the icing: Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave till the cream is very hot, and the chips are soft.

9) Stir till the chips melt, and the mixture is smooth.

10) Spread the icing atop the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

11) Serve in thin slices; the cake is very rich.

12) Yield: one 8" layer cake, about 12 to 16 servings.


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  • star rating 11/01/2013
  • from
  • star rating 10/15/2013
  • jotrue from KAF Community
  • This is the perfect recipe when you need a major dose of peanut butter and chocolate, I've made this twice now to rave reviews. I did have a problem with sliding but I think that was due to the rounded layer tops (I seem to have misplaced my baking bands).
  • star rating 08/06/2012
  • VeganSugarMama from KAF Community
  • I have been a vegan baking mom for nearly 15 years and still get a hankering for a peanut butter cup from time to time. This recipe really hit the spot! I was able to easily veganize it, made two, and brought to our bi-weekly potluck to receive rave reviews.
  • star rating 01/25/2012
  • lisagail1070 from KAF Community
  • My son requested 'pb cake' for his 28th birthday, and I chose this recipe on a whim - good choice! As a special celebration cake for more than a few people, it was fantastic. It took some effort and time - not to mention a huge mess to create, but so so deliciously rich. I did have trouble with the peanut butter filling being a bit soft and the layers sliding, but only on the 2nd day as leftovers. Definitely keep it in the fridge. My son thought it looked like an enormous moon pie before he cut it, and the first slice he served was about 5x too large....A little sliver is all it takes. I think you could easily and generously get 16 servings out of it. I didn't have espresso powder, so just used strong coffee instead of the water. The layers were slightly denser than I'd like, but all in all it's quite a winner.
  • star rating 02/13/2011
  • JaclynM from KAF Community
  • A winner! I just made this for a potluck dinner last night. Two other people had brought desserts too, so I was thinking there'd be a lot left over. To my surprise, there were only 2 small slices left by the end of the evening. I even saw two people go up for (very large) seconds! Several people complimented me on the cake, one person saying they couldn't believe this was homemade, and another commenting on the very rich chocolate flavor. This was thanks to the Black Cocoa I had used (50/50 with regular Dutch Cocoa). I also thought it was delicious and will definitely be making it again. My only (small) gripe is that it was a bit hard to slice, as the cake tended to get crushed/crumbled by the pressure of the knife slicing through it. But it tastes so good that I won't let that stop me from making it again.
  • star rating 12/27/2010
  • thanxanyway from KAF Community
  • Great cake!!! I think it would be easier to just bake three layers rather than slice two layers in half (I always find that part very challenging). Also, make sure your peanut butter mixture is quite thick, it is literally the glue that holds the cake together. The last time I made the cake, my filling wasn't quite thick enough and I had a landslide - sad - but just as tasty.
  • star rating 12/19/2010
  • from
  • This cake was absolutely amazing! I brought it into my class and everyone loved it. I got so many compliments on it and a bunch of kids from one of the older grades in my very small high school came and got. Everyone loved it! I even substituted Splenda to make it healthier and it was still great. I will definitely make this again.
  • star rating 11/12/2010
  • Jeanne loves to bake from KAF Community
  • Decadent and delicious! I followed the recipe very closely (minor variations on vanilla & espresso but nothing substantive). I think I might have overdone it on the milk for the filling. It seemed a good consistency taste- and texture-wise, but the cake was tender, so I thought it needed to be a little thinner. The cake held together well (wasn't beautiful but didn't slide apart) while it was whole. Once I cut enough that it was half gone, though, it was all over. It slid apart and in several directions at once. Part of that was filling and part because I was in such a rush that I just cut the layers quickly, and they really weren't even enough. So after everyone finished eating, I cut the remaining half in half and stuck it in the fridge. That was a wise idea because 1. the cake basically stopped its dancing on the plate and 2. it was delicious cold. I liked it both at room temp and cold, so I would recommend either. The cake is good enough that no one will care if it looks lopsided. If they care about that more than the taste, they don't deserve to dive into it! Go for it. You won't be sorry!
  • star rating 06/13/2010
  • Lise M. from Indiana
  • I made this for a chocolate & peanut-butter lover for his birthday. First, let me tell you the flavor and texture of all the components were wonderful. I did not have any problems with the layers "shifting", but I used 9" cake pans, splitting them as directed for 8" pans. I think the wider area of cake made the whole thing more stable. There was indeed more P.B. filling than necessary, but I used the excess to pipe "Happy Birthday" on top. The ganache was a little thick - not to pour, just the thickness of the layer on the cake. But really the moist cake and sweet filling could stand on their own, maybe a dusting of powdered sugar or a thinned drizzle of P.B. filling or squiggles of ganache. But the birthday boy - and everyone else - loved it! Thanks for another great cake.
  • star rating 04/18/2010
  • Sue from Connecticut
  • The cake was out of this world!! Everyone that tried it absolutely loved it!! Perfect combo of the peanut butter and chocolate...will definitely make again and recommend to friends!!!
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