Perfect Yellow Layer Cake {Peanut Butter Filling + Chocolate Frosting}

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This yellow layer cake is the perfect recipe. It’s delightful with chocolate frosting but it’s even better when you fill it with peanut butter.

Because, duh. Peanut butter is what makes the world go ’round.

This is the Perfect Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting and peanut butter filling!

One year ago I posted these perfect vanilla cupcakes. They were my birthday cupcake last year.

Over the past year I’ve gotten tons of comments and emails asking me if that perfect cupcake recipe could be made as a cake. I’ve spent all year with “MAKE LAYER CAKE OUT OF CUPCAKE RECIPE” written on the idea board in my office.

{Ha, that sounds so official and pinterest-y, doesn’t it? My idea board in my office. It’s a white board I stole from Jordan and the reason it’s hanging on the wall is because you can’t see the floor for all the boxes, papers, and shopping bags. Definitely not pinterest-y.}

Anyway, making that recipe into a cake has been on my mind for a long time. So I finally went for it – and with a few tweaks it works perfectly.

This is the perfect yellow cake…and it’s the perfect birthday cake!

Yellow Birthday Cake with peanut butter filling and Chocolate Frosting

Yes I said birthday. There’s two this weekend. Yesterday was Crazy for Crust’s birthday. Today is mine.

Yup, today I turn 37. Which is funny because all year I thought I was already 37. #notkidding Every time someone asked me my age I’d start to say 37 then pause, think about it, and correct myself to say 36. So, in all reality, I’m gained a year today.

This last year was a big one for me. My blog has grown considerably in the past 365 days. I also wrote a book and it’s been published and is available now. I’ve gotten to see places I’ve never been and meet new people that I can’t imagine not having in my life. I’ve started working on my issues and while I still have a long way to go I can say that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I’m happier for it. I gotta say, I feel blessed to be able to live the life I’m living.

To celebrate, let’s have cake. Okay?

This is the Perfect Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting and peanut butter filling!

I’ve known for awhile I was going to make this cake for this occasion, but I originally just pictured a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. But then I decided I wanted to be different. I wanted to fill the cake with something other than chocolate filling. Obviously the answer was peanut butter.

Is there any other answer?

The cake is fluffy and dense all at the same time, the way I love my cakes to be. And it’s moist. (Sorry – there really is no other way to describe a good cake!) Cakes need to be moist and this one is.

I torted each of the layers to make a 4-layer cake because more peanut butter > less peanut butter. Obviously.

Sometimes cakes with peanut butter in them are really heavy. I think that’s because, most of the time, those cakes are chocolate. I think by using a vanilla cake with peanut butter filling it’s not as heavy.

Or maybe that’s just what I’m telling myself so I can eat two slices. #wouldntbethefirsttime

This is the Perfect Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting and peanut butter filling!

A few notes about the recipe:

  • My original cupcake recipe was not enough for two round 8″ cake pans, so I did a little math to make more batter. I also added some extra baking powder do get a better rise, and it worked. This recipe is best made in 8″ cake pans because the 9″ pans will be a little too big for the batter.
  • The peanut butter filling is super peanut buttery because I left out the butter. It’s just a mixture of peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream. So it’s healthy. {YES, that was sarcastic.}
  • I torted each of my cake layers to make a 4-layer cake. You don’t have to, but if you only make a 2-layer cake you’ll have extra filling. Although I can think of several ways to deal with that and one involves a spoon.
  • You can skip the peanut butter filling if you prefer (???) and just use the chocolate frosting for the filling. There’s enough frosting to do this with a 2-layer cake, but you’ll want to double the frosting for a 4-layer.
  • Yes, there’s heavy whipping cream in the frosting and filling. Go for it, it’s my birthday!

Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Peanut Butter Filling - it really is the perfect cake!

This cake is rich, gorgeous, and tastes so yummy. It’s the perfect birthday cake. Except I didn’t eat it for my birthday. I ate it last week. Tonight Jordan’s making me brownies. With cream cheese frosting. Who wants to bet I’ll be cleaning powdered sugar up for days?

Did you make this recipe?

Perfect Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Peanut Butter Filling

This yellow cake would be perfect with chocolate frosting but it’s even better when it’s filled with peanut butter filling!


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the filling (optional):

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural or homemade)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

For the frosting (see note):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 3 ounces (volume) heavy whipping cream (just over 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8” cake rounds. Line them with parchment paper and then grease the pans again, then flour them. (See note)
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste.
  4. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Divide batter among cake pans. Bake for 24-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pans to frost.
  5. At this point, you can decide how you want to fill the cake. You can use the two layers as-is or you can torte them for a 4-layer cake. Note: if you do not torte the layers, you can cut the recipe for the peanut butter filling in half.
  6. Make the filling: beat peanut butter with 1 cup of powdered sugar (using a hand or a stand mixer). Add the second cup of powdered sugar and mix, the mixture will be crumbly. Add vanilla and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix until smooth. Add another 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the heavy whipping cream a little bit at a time and beat until the mixture becomes a frosting like texture. (You’ll notice a change – it will go from thick like a peanut butter cup to smooth like frosting during that last addition of the cream.)
  7. Place the bottom cake layer on serving plate. Divide your filling and fill between each layer.
  8. Make the frosting: mix cocoa and melted butter with a hand mixer. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and optional salt, if using. Mix between powdered sugar additions – the mixture will be clumpy. Add the vanilla and 1 ounce of the heavy whipping cream. Mix until smooth. Continue adding the heavy whipping cream until your desired thickness has formed – about 3 ounces (just over 1/4 cup).
  9. Use a small amount of frosting to create a “crumb coat” on the outside of the cake. This will ensure that you will not have cake crumbs in your final frosting layer. The crumb coat just uses a very small amount of frosting and is very thin all over the cake. Then frost as normal using the remaining frosting. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
  10. The cake is best served at room temperature but I would store it in the refrigerator if you make it ahead of time, then let it come to room temperature before serving. Can be made up to 1 day ahead.


  • You can use 9” cake pans but your layers will be thinner. The 8” layers aren’t super tall, so if you only have 9” cake pans you may want to double this recipe instead of using this current one as written.
  • If you don’t wish to fill the cake with the peanut butter filling, there will be enough frosting to fill a 2-layer cake. If you’re going to torte the layers for a 4-layer cake, you may want to double the frosting
All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Click here to see more PEANUT BUTTER recipes!

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Ice Cream Cupcakes (8 of 9)w

Vintage Brownie Surprise Cake

Brownie Surprise White Cake (3 of 6)

Perfect Funfetti Cupcakes

Perfect Funfetti Cupcakes (8 of 10)w

Sweets from friends:
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Layer Cake by Life, Love, and Sugar
Strawberries and Cream Layer Cake by Lauren’s Latest
Coconut Cake by Something Swanky

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  1. What a stunning cake!!! WOW! Talk about a masterpiece! Each element, the fluffy cake, the amazing PB filling, the chocolate frosting….I could make a meal out of any of those individually so together I’m sure this just would knock my socks off completely! Way to go to take something on your to-do list for the year and finally…do it! I know how that feels and the results of this are just soooo impressive! Pinned of course!

  2. Happy birthday to you and the blog, Dorothy! Thank you for staying true to all things PB in this cake.  It’s he best filling ever! And thanks for all you do. Your recipes are amazing!

  3. Your idea board sounds awesome! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you and your blog yesterday. I am so excited for more blogging series posts 🙂 And this cake definitely looks perfect – I love the pb filling! Pinned 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday! That peanut butter filling sounds amazing- I think I’d eat it all before it even hit the cake! 

  5. Happy Birthday! This cake looks spectacular. I am all over the peanut butter filling/chocolate frosting combo. And I’m stealing your idea board idea once I finally have an office. 😉

  6. Now that is what I call a triple threat cake!! It looks incredible! Happy Birthday! 🙂

  7. Very creative, and original. I love it, this will be a hit with my family.

  8. Happy birthday to you and a belated birthday to your blog! This cake looks absolutely perfect – and it made me realize I’ve never made a yellow cake from scratch. Time for that to change I think! I love the idea of a peanut butter filling.

  9. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Dorothy, happy birthday to you! This cake looks like heaven, just like how any yellow cake should be. The peanut butter filling looks amazing, ditto for the chocolate frosting. Pinned 😀 x 

  10. This recipe is soooo me! Happy Blog Birthday!

  11. Happy birthday Dorothy! Don’t worry, most of the time I have no idea how old I am either. I think ever since 25, it just didn’t seem very important! lol. The cake looks amazing — congrats on everything you’ve accomplished!

  12. Happy happy birthday Dorothy! Absolutely stunning cake! I love everything about this cake especially that you filled it with peanut butter frosting and of course the sprinkles 🙂  It’s the perfect birthday cake and I love that you finally got to cross it off your list 🙂  Pinned!

  13. This would be the best birthday cake for me! Such a shame not all of my birthday guests would like this as well 🙁

  14. Happy b-day, Dorothy!  This is definitely a celebration-worthy cake…LOVE it!

  15. “Peanut Butter makes the world go ’round” :  Clearly the words of a genius!!  😉  I am so happy for you with your amazing year for your blog.  You deserve it as you really are one of the best!  I hope you have a very happy birthday today with your family eating this gorgeous cake!!

  16. Happy double birthday to you, Dorothy! I love that Jordan is making brownies for you:) I always try to bite my tongue and remember that my kids just aren’t as neat as I am in the kitchen(not really, I usually make the biggest mess of everyone!) I hope your day has been amazing and filled with love from everyone!

  17. Would love to be able to e-mail some of these to a friend, but am not given that option. 🙁

    • Do you mean email the recipe? You can email a link to the post (above the comments, there is a share bar – a few boxes with the different social media icons. One allows you to email a link to this post, so they can get the recipe!

  18. Happy Birthday! That cake looks Amazing! Peanut butter filling…I love that! Loved reading your post from yesterday too, congrats on your blogs 4th Birthday!

  19. Absolutely Beautiful! Can’t wait to try this. thank you for this!!!

  20. This looks SSOOO moist and delicious.  I mean, peanut butter filling?!? Why didn’t I think of that?  I usually don’t like birthday cake, but this would SO be worth making with the peanut butter filling.  I might have to have an early birthday celebration for myself….. just to see if this would work for my real birthday.  So, on to my question.  Where would you get vanilla bean paste?  Or could you substitute vanilla extract (or peanut butter)?

    • You can sub vanilla, but paste is SO amazing. You must get some. You can get it at places like Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma, or sometimes at stores like Ross or Homegoods (in that reject food section they have lots of extracts and stuff, and it’s cheaper!) Or, when all else fails, amazon. 🙂

  21. Happy birthday Dorothy!! I actually remember your birthday from last year! We met for the first time at Panera the day before, and you explained how you had created the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe that morning. Then you were going to let Jordan and Mel frost them the next day (your actual birthday) while you went to the gym. And now one year later, you have incredible blog traffic, social media stuff down like a pro, and your very own cookbook!! I’m SO proud of you and can’t wait to see where the next year takes you!

  22. I just feel happiness for you Dorothy! Happiness for your blog growth, happiness for your cookbook, happiness for your fitness and self-image, happiness for all that is YOU! Because you are fabulous. I think I have a bit of a #girlcrush. Shhh don’t tell my husband I said that…he’ll roll his eyes. 🙂 Happy Birthday! 

  23. YUM!!  I LOVE all these combinations in a cake!!  Shared. 🙂 

  24. Perfect yellow cake indeed! Looks absolutely beautiful! Love the surprise peanut butter filling inside! 

  25. Wow, I am drooling over this peanut butter filling, Dorothy! Such a perfect flavor to go into a yellow cake. Love this, so definitely pinning! 🙂

  26. Looks yummy…..will surely try these recipe. Happy Birthday Dorothy, wish more fruitful years.

  27. Happy Birthday sweet friend!!! What an amazing cake to celebrate a special day…even it you did eat it early 😉 I am loving that this is a fluffy cake filled with peanut butter filling and topped with chocolate. There is no way I would be able to resist eating so much of that!

  28. Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great weekend celebrating both birthdays. I too am 37 this year, however, I still want to say I’m 23 🙂 Must be the sleep deprivation making me think I’m younger.

  29. Happy birthday friend! I hope it was a great one!

  30. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (belated, now :P)!!!!! This layer cake is genius and I love that you filled it with pb! MMMM!

  31. Yum! The chocolate frosting looks so rich and fudgy. Happy Birthday!

  32. Wow, this does look moist! Most scratch cakes are dry. Great going, Dorothy. Wish had a slice right now. xoxo

  33. Happy Birthday Dorothy!! So funny that you forget your birthday. I used to tease my mom when she would forget how old she was. Now I totally get it, LOL!!! Gorgeous cake 🙂

  34. This cake looks so good! And recipe sounds good. I like the filling 🙂

  35. Please mail a slice asap, that sounds so good!

  36. I hope you had the happiest of birthdays Dorothy!!  And this cake looks absolutely amazing.  I’m afraid of cakes, but if I get over it, this is the first cake I will make!

  37. Happy Belated Birthday!! The cake looks amazing especially with the peanut butter filling. Super delicious!! 

  38. Tnaks for this recipe : I will try it asap 
    Happy Birthday to you and to Crazy for Crust <3

  39. Happy (belated) birthday Dorothy!! I think my boyfriend would die and go to heaven if I made this for him. Looks amazing! Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  40. I hope you get this… I have a silly question. My work is throwing a baby shower this week for one of the staff members. There are a TON of employees and I am worried a round cake won’t serve enough. Any thoughts on how to make a layered sheet cake with this recipe?! I am NOT a wiz in the kitchen so wouldn’t even know where to begin…

    • I’ve never used this recipe for a 9×13″ pan. You could double this one: and make a 9×13 and a few cupcakes. Looking at this website for pan equivalences,, this round cake recipe will not quite fill a 9×13 pan (but you could make it anyway) or you could make one jelly roll pan and have a little extra. If you doubled it and made two jelly roll pan size cakes (with some cupcakes on the side) you could fill it with the filling, etc. Or you can make the 9×13 and torte it, using this filling and frosting. Does that make sense? In my head it does, lol.

      • Thanks so much for the reply! I think I will attempt to make two jelly roll pans. His might be the safest for me 🙂 But, just to clarify, I can use the original recipe for the jelly roll pans, but just double the recipe right?

      • It will probably make 2 pans plus a few cupcakes, but I’m not 100% sure. Just make sure not to fill the pans more than 1/2-2/3 full!

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