Peanut Butter-Fudge Buckeye Cake

Recipe by PJ Hamel

The state tree of Ohio is the buckeye; and if there were an official Ohio state candy the buckeye, a ball of sweet/creamy peanut butter enrobed in chocolate, would be it! We replicate the flavors of the classic buckeye candy in this towering four-layer cake, highly recommended for your next birthday party. Looking for something a bit more casual? Bake filled buckeye mini cakes; for complete directions see "tips," below. 

20 mins
35 to 38 mins
1 hr 55 mins
Peanut Butter-Fudge Buckeye Cake - select to zoom
Peanut Butter-Fudge Buckeye Cake - select to zoom
Peanut Butter-Fudge Buckeye Cake - select to zoom
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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8" x 2" round cake pans. Note: These pans need to be at least 2" tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8" pans, substitute 9" round pans.

  2. To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth.

  3. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

  5. Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

  6. To make the filling: Mix the sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla until crumbly. Add the milk and mix until smooth, adding more milk if necessary to make a spreadable filling.

  7. When ready to serve the cake, divide the cooled layers in half horizontally, to make four layers. Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.

    A baker using a serrated knife to split a cake into two thin layers.
  8. To make the icing: Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave until the cream is very hot, and the chips are soft.

  9. Stir until the chips melt, and the mixture is smooth.

  10. Spread the icing atop the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

  11. Serve in thin slices; the cake is very rich.

  12. Refrigerate any leftovers for several days or freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • This recipe was developed to use traditional supermarket-style peanut butter. If you use all-natural peanut butter, grind your own, or use low-fat or low-salt peanut butter, the frosting won't turn out as described.
  • We recommend assembling and finishing this cake (frosting and icing) shortly before serving. The frosting is quite soft and can cause the cake layers to slide around if it sits for too long at room temperature. If you need to assemble the cake ahead of time, it's best to keep it in the refrigerator.
  • To make filled buckeye mini cakes: Prepare a half batch each of the batter, filling, and icing. Grease the six wells of a Brownie Bowl Pan. Divide the batter among the wells, using just enough to reach 1/2" below the rim of each. Bake the cakes for 25 to 28 minutes, until they spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool them for 10 minutes before turning them out of the pan onto a rack to finish cooling. When completely cool, scoop 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter filling into the center of each cake, and drizzle with the chocolate icing. Garnish with chopped peanuts, if desired. 

    Peanut Butter-Fudge Buckeye Cake