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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.

yellow cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate frosting with slice missing


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?

yellow cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate frosting with slice missing

Perfect Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Peanut Butter Filling

5 from 1 vote
This yellow cake would be perfect with chocolate frosting but it's even better when it's filled with peanut butter filling!
Yield 10 -12 servings


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


  • 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)
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Place the bottom cake layer on serving plate. Divide your filling and fill between each layer.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Author Dorothy Kern

Click here to see more PEANUT BUTTER recipes!

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Vintage Brownie Surprise Cake

Perfect Funfetti Cupcakes

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

Last Updated on May 13, 2020

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. Hi Dorothy! Stumbled upon this recipe in searching for a yellow cake recipe for my uncle’s birthday and he loves peanut butter so figured this would be perfect! My question is that instead of torting the cake could I divide it into four smaller cake pans? Thanks!