Vegan Peanut Butter Love Cake

If I could eat a whole jar of peanut butter I would.  I love the stuff, and I always have since I was a little kid.  Reese’s peanut butter cups were something I looked forward to on the holidays where chocolate was included, and peanut butter sandwiches were a staple in my school lunches since I never wanted to eat sandwiches with meat like the other kids did.  Now I like to just eat a scoop of peanut butter now and then, or stir it into my oatmeal.  Although, I am sure my serving size is always larger than what it says on the jar.  Many of my favorite desserts contain it as well.  Like these chocolate peanut butter lava cakes, or this peanut butter and jelly pie, or this PB and J layer cake.  So, when I was having a hard time thinking of what type of cake to make last weekend (because I wanted cake, and it is a tradition Eric and I always share dessert and wine on Sunday nights and that dessert is usually cake in some form) I came back to my old friend peanut butter.  Now peanut butter is simple mind you, but this cake turned out beautiful!  My inspiration came from a non-vegan cake on Pinterest.  I had seen it a while back and said to myself, I need to veganize and healthify that. So now was the time.

For the cake layers, I included peanut butter in the batter (because hey, it is the star of the cake) and it tasted delicious.  It is an oil free date sweetened cake batter actually, my go-to recipe as of late.  The richness comes from the peanut butter, and the dates give it a sort of caramel flavor.  The cake layers baked up beautifully, soft and moist as cake should be but not heavy.  For the frosting, I made a sort of vegan peanut butter “buttercream” frosting.  It was so delicious, tasting like peanut butter mousse.  Lastly, the cake needed to have another peanut butter element (as if the first two weren’t enough), so I made a sweet peanut butter caramel.  This was date based as well, so this entire cake is fruit sweetened.

I topped it off with crunchy roasted peanuts and it was even more beautiful than I imagined. Also, it tasted even better than I expected.  I knew it would be good, but this was yummalicious!  Perfectly moist soft cake sandwiched together and topped off with gooey sweet caramel, luscious dreamy frosting and crunchy peanuts!  I think this would make the perfect Birthday cake if you know a peanut butter lover.  Eric and I devoured our first pieces very quickly, and I had given a piece to my Mom and she loved it even though she is not normally a peanut butter person, so all big thumbs up from my taste testers!  Trust me, you need this cake in your life!

Vegan Peanut Butter Love Cake
Makes one 2 layer 6 inch cake

Ingredients:

2 6 inch cake pans

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup packed soft medjool dates, pitted, soaked in water for 30 minutes and 1 cup of the water reserved
  • 1/4 cup organic peanut butter
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 1 15 oz can full fat organic coconut milk, chilled (You want to make sure it is a brand that is very thick at least 2/3 of the can like Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp melted coconut butter (warmed to liquid)

Peanut Butter Caramel:

  • 1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (if they are not soft, soak them in water and drain well first)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup filtered water (plus more as needed)

1/2 cup chopped organic roasted peanuts for topping cake

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and position rack in center of oven.
  2. Oil two 6 inch round cake pans with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt in a large bowl to blend well.
  4. Place dates, reserved water, peanut butter, water, and vanilla extract into a blender, and blend until smooth, then whisk this blended mixture into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in the cider vinegar until bubbles form.
  5. Pour the cake batter into prepared pan, and place in the oven.
  6. Bake cake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool completely, then unmold onto plates.
  7. To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth.  Pour into a bowl and place in the freezer until the consistency of stiffly whipped cream (about 30-45 minutes depending on how warm it has gotten).  Once it is ready place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  8. To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth (adding a little water if necessary, it should be the consistency of pourable but still thick caramel).
  9. To assemble, place one cake layer on a plate.  Spread 3/4 cup frosting over the cake layer, then some of the caramel (keeping it more in the center, and leaving a one inch frosting boarder at the edges).  Place the other cake layer over that, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and down the sides of the cake.  Pour caramel over that, and allow to drip down the sides.  Top with chopped peanuts.
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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

20 Comments
  1. Beth E.
    February 24, 2017 at 14:51
    Reply

    I'm with you - I could also eat a whole jar of PB, but it hasn't always been this way. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 foods, peanut butter would be one of them. This cake is amazing. I hope to make it soon!

    • February 25, 2017 at 00:01
      Reply

      Me too! Probably peanut butter, yams, and lentils. Thank you :)!

  2. Anna
    May 21, 2017 at 16:32
    Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe 😍 My whole family loved it! https://www.instagram.com/p/BUXFNQSFjhE/ Not beauty as yours :D but so delicious! Cheers from Hungary! ;)

    • May 21, 2017 at 17:31
      Reply

      So happy to hear you enjoyed it :)!

  3. Liz
    July 28, 2017 at 18:47
    Reply

    Hi - this looks fantastic - I'm a bit confused though about the layers. Do you cut the cake in two after it's baked and cooled? Do you bake two layers so you need two pans? Maybe I missed something... Thanks!

    • July 28, 2017 at 23:17
      Reply

      You bake it in 2 pans, and it stays in two layers.

  4. Alice
    January 20, 2018 at 02:38
    Reply

    So, total of 2 cups of water in the cake? Ta

    • January 20, 2018 at 07:59
      Reply

      Yes, because you save one from soaking the dates, and then you add one. It is in the ingredients list.

  5. Aleksandra
    July 30, 2018 at 08:21
    Reply

    Why we have to whisk in the cider vinegar until bubbles form?;)

    • July 30, 2018 at 18:47
      Reply

      Because it is the cider vinegar beginning to react with the baking soda. It only takes less than 30 seconds.

  6. Michelle
    January 29, 2019 at 12:53
    Reply

    Why the gluten free flour? Would I have to alter anything if I used regular flour? Thanks!!

    • January 29, 2019 at 18:23
      Reply

      Because many of my readers want things gluten free, and that was what I decided to use. You can use an equal amount of regular AP flour or whole wheat pastry flour and it will turn out the same.

  7. Aga
    February 6, 2019 at 09:31
    Reply

    Hello, just before I start... How long approximately does it take to make this cake from start to finish?

    • February 6, 2019 at 19:52
      Reply

      I am going to say at least 3 hours including cooling time (depending on how warm your house is and how warm the frosting gets and needs to cool down is etc). I am not sure on the actual time all the way through if you do it in one day because I always bake my cake layers the day before, cool them then chill them in the refrigerator over night, then make the frosting and assemble the next day. I find that it is just easier for me to not make my cakes all in one go :).

      • Helen
        June 21, 2019 at 21:16
        Reply

        Oh wow! I made this and it disappeared so quickly! It didn't have quite the finesse of your pic, but tasted so good. It's been on my list of things I wanted to cook for so long, and I think it will become a regular on our table.

        • June 22, 2019 at 19:12
          Reply

          I am so happy to hear that you made it and enjoyed it :)! Thank you for letting me know! I love this one as well :)!

  8. Julie
    June 27, 2019 at 14:39
    Reply

    I'm thinking of making this for my birthday cake next week :) Would it be possible to substitute some (like maybe half) of the dates in the cake with mashed banana? That would give it a peanut butter banana kind of taste. Maybe instead of 1 cup dates, do 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup mashed banana, or should I try 1 cup mashed banana and no dates? Just wondered what you thought about trying this. Thanks!

    • June 27, 2019 at 20:39
      Reply

      I wouldn't recommend replacing the dates, because they sweeten the cake and the banana might make it a lot less sweet (not taste as good) and I am not even someone who likes things super sweet. You would be best off replacing some of the water with pureed banana instead. That is what I did when I made a banana cake sweetened with dates in the past.

  9. Anna
    August 7, 2019 at 21:19
    Reply

    I feel like you meant to say "cream OF coconut" because that buttercream frosting is a melty soupy mess. Is this cake meant to be frozen? Served room temp? I added almost an half a cup of liquid to the caramel and it was so thick all it did was pull the buttercream off.

    • August 7, 2019 at 21:27
      Reply

      No, I meant to say full fat coconut milk. You have to use a brand that is very thick, like 2/3 of the can cream and just a little water like Thai Kitchen brand. Brands that are liquid all the way through will not work for this recipe. The cake is meant to be refrigerated. If your caramel is too thick, all you need to do is add a little water before you use it in the recipe. Since dates vary in moisture it is different sometimes the amount of liquid needed in the caramel.

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