This homemade Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake recipe is an easy peanut butter cake swirled with a sweet cream cheese filling. Topped with crushed peanuts and peanut butter chips, this earthquake cake is a peanut butter lover’s dream!
If you haven’t tried an earthquake cake yet, then this peanut butter earthquake cake is a MUST. It’s full of rich peanut butter flavor, and the swirls of cream cheese filling are gooey and perfect.
I can’t believe we’re already nearly halfway through September.
Fall decorations have been out in stores for weeks, pumpkin spice lattes have been available since mid-ish August (although, don’t even get me started on that one—I love me some PSL’s, but August?? Guys. It’s still H-O-T and summer and I’m definitely not in the mood for anything other than ice and cream) and the nights are definitely cooler.
But for some reason, I can’t wrap my head around the fact we’re in September and fall is pretty much here.
I don’t know; I’ve just been ‘off’ the last few weeks or so. Slightly disconnected and whatnot.
But, I’ve got a stack of fall magazines, a slice of this ah-mazing Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake and all the fall movies I can think of (You’ve Got Mail being #1 on the list) to get me in my fall state of mind.
Last year, I shared this recipe for a Pumpkin Earthquake Cake—and it was/is amazingly rich, gooey and all things fall.
As a tried and true peanut butter lover, I’d been dying to try out a peanut butter earthquake cake version with a homemade peanut butter cake recipe instead of a cake mix.
I’ve mentioned here and again, I do love a good cake mix recipe. They definitely simplify a recipe, taste great and can be a great secret weapon in a variety of dessert recipes.
However, turning a cake mix into a peanut butter cake is a bit trickier (not impossible, but tricky) and I just wanted to go for a from scratch earthquake cake recipe this time around.
Richly peanut buttery and full of gooey cream cheese filling (that’s in essence a cream cheese frosting that’s been baked into the cake), this is one peanut butter cake I’ll be making over and over again.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, let’s answer the question, “What is an earthquake cake?”
Basically, this cake gets its name from the craters and cracks the cream cheese filling leaves throughout the cake.
The cream cheese mixture is so dense and heavy, it sinks into the cake as it bakes, which is why there are cracks throughout the peanut butter cake (or whatever cake you are using as your base for your earthquake cake).
Is an earthquake cake frosted?
Trust me on this one, with the richness (and sweetness) of the cream cheese filling, your pumpkin earthquake cake does not need frosting. At all.
As if the cream cheese filling isn’t enough, the cake has peanut butter chips baked inside, which also add to the sweetness and gooey cake filling.
It’s a peanut butter lovah’s dream.
How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cake:
Let’s talk peanut butter cake ingredients:
- peanut butter
- canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- granulated sugar and brown sugar
- flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and salt
- vanilla extract
The cake is rich in flavor, slightly dense due to the peanut butter, and incredibly moist thanks to the use of oil. Oil is used for moisture while butter is used for flavor. Because of the peanut butter in this cake, I didn’t need butter and used oil instead to ensure this would be a moist peanut butter cake.
Homemade Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake Recipe Tips & Tricks:
- While moist earthquake cakes call for a cake mix, this peanut butter earthquake cake is made entirely from scratch.
- I used a creamy all natural peanut butter (it’s what I always have on hand), but feel free to use a peanut butter like Jif. It will be slightly sweeter, but it will work interchangeably.
- I used a combination of chopped peanuts (salted and honey roasted) and peanut butter chips. Feel free to add in some chocolate chips or white chocolate chips if you want to. Whatever peanuts you do use in this recipe, I do recommend using salted, as they help cut through the sweetness of the cake.
- This cake is layered: peanuts and peanut butter chips on the bottom, then the peanut butter cake, then the cream cheese filling (and it’s swirled with the peanut butter cake batter) and then a few peanut butter chips are sprinkled on top.
- You can eat this warm, at room temp, or straight out of the fridge. Being that I’m a down and out cheesecake aficionado, I straight up love this cake cold. It’s the best combination of the cake and cheesecake and I highly recommend it.
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy all natural or Jif)
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light can be substituted)
- 3 eggs, large
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp half & half (you can use milk or heavy whipping cream)
- 1 1/2 cups peanuts, salted (I used half regular and half honey roasted)
- 2/3 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Sprinkle peanuts and 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips all over the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a stand mixer (or a hand mixer), cream the peanut butter and vegetable oil together until well combined.
Add in the granulated sugar and brown sugar, creaming the mixture with your mixer until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes (this helps your cake be light and not nearly as dense).
Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mix the flour mixture and the buttermilk in with the peanut butter batter, until just combined.
Add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Pour the batter into the baking dish, smoothing in an even layer. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk (by hand or with a mixecream cheese, melted butter, powdered sugar and half & half together.
Once combined, drop the batter by spoonfuls all over the top of the peanut butter cake batter.
With a knife, swirl the cream cheese filling and the peanut butter cake batter together.
Sprinkle the remaining peanut butter chips on top.
Bake for 35-37 minutes. The cake should be set on top, but the center should jiggle slightly when the cake pan is gently moved.
Allow the peanut butter earthquake cake to cool before serving. I prefer this cake cold, but you can serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
Enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge.
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