Super-Moist Chocolate Peanut Buttercream Cake

half eaten

So this fall, my parish was offering a “couples night” where married couples could drop their kids off at childcare, watch a short video, and then run off for a date with a printed sheet of questions to ask each other. The videos were lousy, but the questions weren’t bad. All sorts of fun things to dig into the past, present, and future of your marriage in a fun and enlightening way. Nothing too deep. Just the good stuff.

(And speaking of the good stuff, have you read the title of this post? Chocolate. Peanut butter. Cake. Yeah, we’re coming to that bit.)

this cake will change your life

Where was I? Right, the date night. So, with four kids and no extended family in the area, my husband and I jumped on the opportunity for free childcare. Six free nights of babysitting? Sign me up!

But we had no idea what was in store.

The first night, we went out to a wine bar around the corner from our parish. It was fun, and we really enjoyed going through the questions with each other. But the next week…oh, the next week. Life changing.


We’d seen the signs for a little restaurant that boasted wood-fired pizzas and espresso. Weird thing was, though, it was in an industrial section of our neighborhood. The kind of place where semis go to unload. We’d never tried it, but then we thought what the heck? We’re kid-free for the next 90 minutes, let’s give it a go.

What we found was a cute little bistro stuffed into the front of a warehouse. Apparently, the place had begun life as a catering company, and the restaurant was a side gig. We browsed the glass cabinets. My husband ordered a beer and some really delicious-looking mushroom thing. I, naturally, ordered cake.

Oh. My. The cake.

slice of cake

First of all, it was enormous. Easily enough for two people. (Don’t worry, I shared. A bite.) Four layers of the most scrumptious, sticky-moist chocolate cake I’d ever tasted. But the frosting was what put it over the top. Salty, rich peanut butter-flavored buttercream. It offset the sweetness of the cake and blasted it into umami land. (If you’re not familiar with the magic that is umami, it is this cake.)

This is not your average chocolate cake. We are talking so moist it molds to your fork. Delectable, lick up every crumb delicious.

And the frosting? To. Die. For. There should probably be a warning written in it: “Not for the subtle, the faint-hearted, or anyone who plans to go on a diet in the next twelve months.

Because after you taste this, diet is nowhere in your immediate future. You will just keep making this cake. Again and again. It’s that addicting. Just when I think I’ve had enough of it–boomthe craving strikes again, and I have to make it. (I mean, I have to, right?)

super-moist chocolate-peanut buttercream cake

To my allergy-friendly friends, I apologize. There are no substitutes for this one. I mean, you could use gluten-free flour or dairy-free sour cream, but then we are pretty much working with a different animal, and I can make no promises that the addictive qualities would transfer. Whatever you do: don’t replace the peanut butter! If you don’t like it, or you’re allergic, choose another frosting. And my sincerest condolences, because this stuff is unbelieeeeeeeeeevably good.

I think it’s the saltiness that makes it. Salted chocolate anything is good, but salted chocolate peanut butter? Step back, caramel. There is a new diva in town.

In all seriousness, though.

This cake will change your life.


super-moist chocolate peanut buttercream cake text

My version isn’t exactly identical to the one I sampled on that fated date night. That is a closely guarded trade secret. However, I think I’ve come pretty close (and my husband who is an equally big fan of the original agrees). To get closer to the “real thing,” you’d have to double this recipe and put it in one gigantic pan! But if you’re ever in the Seattle area, feel free to swing by for a slice. See if it doesn’t change your life. (Just give me a head’s up so I can join you!)

another slice of cake

Super-Moist Chocolate Peanut Buttercream Cake
inspired by Deru Market

Be sure to refrigerate the cake for at least three hours after frosting. Overnight if possible. Don’t worry; the cake won’t suffer (although you might from having to wait that long). The frosting is fine fresh, but chilled? Oh my word! The texture becomes ever-so-slightly grainy, which is the perfect foil to the moist, chewy cake and holy mother of all things pastry! It’s pretty much this side of amazing.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes + 5 hours cooling and chilling
Yield: 16-20 servings

for the cake:

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

for the peanut buttercream:

1 1/4 cups natural, unsweetened peanut butter
½ cup salted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
up to ½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter two 9″ round cake pans, line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then butter and flour pans, tapping out the excess flour.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Continuing on low speed, add the hot coffee and stir until just combined, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

In the meantime, beat frosting ingredients together until smooth with an electric mixer, adding the cream slowly until you reach a spreadable consistency. For best results, refrigerate iced cake at least three hours before serving.

Print recipe here.


  1. Sarah F says:

    Thank you so much Bethany for taking the time to recreate the recipe! It looks and sounds absolutely delicious and I’ll be making it for my husband’s birthday later this week! With the aid of a calculator (!) I reduced the ingredients by a third to fit 2 x 8inch cake pans (which is what I’ve got). I’ll update here after the weekend to let you know what we thought of the cake! Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Sarah F says:

    For anyone who would like to make a smaller version, here’s the scaled down recipe to fit 2 x 8″ cake pans. I must qualify by this by saying I haven’t yet made the recipe with these adjustments! (I’ll report back!)
    1 1/6 cup all purpose flour
    1 1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1.3 tsp baking soda

    2/3 tsp kosher salt
    3/4 cup + 20ml sour cream
    1/3 cup veg oil
    1 1/3 large eggs
    0.6 tsp vanilla extract
    2/3 cup hot coffee
    For frosting:
    3/4 cup + 20ml peanut butter
    1/3 cup salted butter
    5ml salt
    2 2/3 cups confectioners sugar
    1/3 heavy cream
    I hope this might be of some help to someone!

  3. Naomi says:

    I love Deru cake and I just moved away from Kirkland the last year, so glad you put up this recipe! I made it for my husband’s birthday and it was incredible! Have you tried to duplicate the coconut cake recipe?

  4. Violet says:

    Can you swap out the sour cream for buttermilk, like Ina’s? What is better? Cake seems to be identical recipe except for that?

    • Bethany says:

      Oh wow! That’s funny – I’ve never made/read that recipe. I imagine you could use buttermilk but reduce the quantity, since buttermilk introduced more liquid than sour cream does. Let me know how it works out! I’d love to know.

  5. Maria says:

    Oh wow!! This is the cake I obtained for our daughters Dec. 30th wedding—4 hours from Seattle. The guests were unanimously addicted!! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Just found you and this one is golden!!

  6. vickie says:

    Deru Chocolate Peanut Butter cake is the best cake!!!!! So glad you tried to recreate it, I just made it and it is chillin in the fridge for my husbands bday, can’t wait to try it!!! Super hopeful as Deru cake is yummy but expensive 🙂

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