chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

This birthday cake was assigned to the side of the family whose dessert preferences can be roughly summarized as chocolate + anything else, but if that “else” were cheesecake, coffee, peanut butter or raspberries, all the better, thank you very much. Non-chocolate desserts are regarded politely, like curiosities at a zoo; perhaps something another family might enjoy? Their dessert formula can be thanked for all sorts of archive wonders, such as the Chocolate-Caramel Cheesecake, Double Chocolate Layer Cake, Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting, Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, Double-Chocolate Torte, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake.

melted butter into chocolate crumbs
using a measuring cup to press in crumbs

And now this, too, which is like the last two cakes got together and made an even better version of themselves for the next generation. If you remember seeing this in the 2013 year-end roundup, it’s true, I did make it over six months ago, but nothing about summer through early winter screamed a cake that looks like a Reeses peanut butter cup to me. A blizzard on the day before Valentine’s Day? I say that since we’re inside anyway, bring it on.

ganache-whisking ombre

a base layer of ganache
making the cheesecake batter
peanut butter cheesecake batter, into a water bath

So, what’s in the cake? Well, all the peanut butter and all the chocolate, of course. You’ll start with a chocolate crust formed from chocolate cookie crumbs, ground bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar and hot melted butter. You’ll continue with a thick puddle of chocolate-peanut butter ganache nested inside this crust. Over it, you’ll pour a large bowl of peanut butter cheesecake batter with sour cream, eggs, vanilla, don’t fight it, please. You’ll bake the whole thing in a water bath if you’re a nut about cheesecake texture, or just on a rack in the oven, if you know as well as I do that nobody would turn down this cheesecake just because there was a crack in it. And then, once it is baked and fully cooled, when it’s clearly too late to feign any interest in moderation, you’re going to puddle the top with even more ganache, to finish the chocolate-peanut butter cup of your dreams look.

an additional puddle of ganache
ganache set on top

Should I tell you that I’d intended to swirl some chopped salted peanut brittle into the batter, but restrained myself? Yes, I just used the word “restrained.” My capacity for cognitive dissonance is limitless, at least in the realm of chocolate and peanut butter cakes. Thank goodness.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake
chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

One year ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Two years ago: Multigrain Apple Crisps
Three years ago: White and Dark-Hearted Brownies
Four years ago: Chana Masala
Five years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Six years ago: Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough
Seven years ago: Sour Cream Bran Muffins

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Cheesecake batter adapted from Bon Appetit; crust, fudge layer from this cheesecake, also from Bon Appetit

Really, I can’t go any further without warning you that this is the type of cake where even a sliver will feel like a massive portion. I think the cake in full could serve 32, trust me. If you’ve got a six-inch springform around and the desire to halve everything for a more manageable cake size, I really you should. Bathing suit season might return in another 400-and-never weeks, you know?

Chocolate Crust
9 ounces (255 grams) chocolate wafers (such as these; the cookie portion of these are best for homemade crumbs)
6 ounces (170 grams) bitter- or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup chips
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted and still hot

Fudge Layer
1 cup (235 ml) heavy or whipping cream
13 ounces (370 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons (30 grams) smooth peanut butter (optional)

Cheesecake Layer
2 8-ounce packages (455 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (320 grams) smooth peanut butter
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (180 grams) sour cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Ganache Topping
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy or whipping cream
4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 grams) smooth peanut butter (optional)

Make chocolate crust: If planning to use a water bath, double-wrap outside of a 9-inch springform with 3-inch high sides with aluminum foil (heavy-duty if you have it). In a food processor, blend cookies, chopped chocolate and brown sugar together until finely ground. Drizzle in melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down the bowl if needed. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. Wrap fingers with plastic wrap and press crumb mixture up sides to within 1/2 inch of top, then evenly over bottom of pan. Chill crust until next step.

Make fudge layer: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter, if using, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bottom of chilled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze until fudge layer is firm, about 30 minutes.

Heat oven: To 325°F.

Make cheesecake layer: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar in large bowl until well-blended and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, then eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over fudge layer that has set in the freezer.

To bake in a water bath: Place foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come 1-inch up the sides of the springform and carefully transfer to middle oven rack.

To bake without a water bath: Place springform (no need to wrap with foil) on middle baking rack.

Both methods, to bake: Bake cake until slightly firm to the touch and the top appears dry, about 1 hour 75 to 90 minutes. I find cheesecake baking times to be the hardest to pin down; it is safest to use this visual guide: The center two inches should only move slightly when pan is gently shaken. Transfer cheesecake to rack in the fridge until fully cool, at least three hours.

Make ganache topping: Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Off the heat, whisk in choocolate and peanut butter, if using. Pour onto chilled cheesecake and spread to the edges. Return cheesecake to the fridge until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.

To serve: Remove foil from outside cheesecake pan if you have not already. Gently cut around between edge of cheesecake crust and springform pan to make sure it isn’t sticking. Unhinge the sides. You can serve it on the springform base, or, if you’re feeling confident, slide a knife gently under the bottom crust to loosen it from the springform base and slide the cake onto a serving plate. Serve in very skinny wedges (trust me). Cake keeps in fridge for up to a week, and longer in the freezer.

* To write on the cake: I beat 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter beaten with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened) + a scant 1/4 cup powdered sugar together until lightly and fluffy for a peanut butter frosting that could be piped on top (or squeezed from a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off). It made double what was needed (you could make some decorative stars or dots, too) but seems too hard to scale down with regular measurements. I’m sure it won’t go to waste.

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374 comments on chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

  1. Is there a good reason why the peanut butter in the fudge layer is optional? I am kind of serious as I come from the religion of two great tastes that taste great together, so I can’t think of a reason why.

    1. deb

      Molly — Yes! Redundancy. I’m a big fan of contrasts in desserts and cooking. If every layer is both chocolate and peanut butter flavored (they wouldn’t be, but you get the idea), how will the peanut butter cheesecake stand out? So, it was more about letting the chocolate be chocolate, the peanut butter be peanut butter, and, well, your mouth bringing it together. (You always ask great questions.)

    2. Julia

      I made this for my office baking competition, and I won! And I double-won, because there were leftovers that I took home and got to finish myself. :) Thanks, Deb!

  2. I will literally eat chocolate dipped in peanut butter or peanut butter covered in chocolate, so it should serve as no surprise that this recipe got me so excited I almost dropped my coffee mug. :)

  3. Ada

    OMG yes… and this being said *after* I made your red wine chocolate cake into cupcakes, to be frosted with cream cheese frosting and pink sprinkles.I’ll bet this would be even more of a cheesecake Reese’s cup if you made it in individual servings, like in a ramekin or muffin tin. I would add some salt to the peanut butter layer though, because what really makes peanut butter cups so good is the salty-sweet contrast.

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. I’ll second Jenny’s reaction, but I didn’t have a mug in hand, fortunately. Every time I see you post a cheesecake recipe, my urge to buy a springform pan rises. And every time you post a chocolate recipe, I want to lick my screen.

    Also, Deb, I can’t help but feel like you’ve brought chocolate wafers back in fashion. I’ve gone from almost never being able to find them to seeing them completely fill one of those racks at the end of an aisle in my unassuming neighborhood grocery store.

    1. deb

      Matt — Thank you! Gosh, I still can’t find them anywhere.

      Btw, re: chocolate wafers — Frustrated that I couldn’t find wafers and resistent to making my own crumbs (which I later regretted), I found those Oreo 100-Calorie Pack cookies at a store and tried them here instead. Do not do this! They’re really gross. They taste quite different from Oreos, to me, more artificial. And they’re even sweeter (actually Oreo wafers aren’t as hideously sweet as one might think, to contrast the filling, which is like pure sugar). We didn’t care for the taste at all.

      Re, salt in the cheesecake batter — I am a huuuge fan of salt in PB desserts and wholly agree that that which makes Reese’s cups grand (and the other brands pale, sorry, I said it) is that the Reese’s cups have quite salty PB centers. However, I did not add salt here because cream cheese is actually quite salty. Philadelphia brand has just short of 900 mg salt per package, and we’re using 2 here. Just keep that in mind if adding salt. A few sea salt flakes might be fine, but I wouldn’t add any significant measure of salt.

      Jamie — I support this. :)

      1. Kelly

        I made this cheese cake today & wanted to share a chocolate crust tip. I usually have graham crackers on hand but rarely see chocolate wafers & don’t want to take the time to take apart Oreos. Instead, I used about 200g of graham crackers & 55g of good cocoa (used Valrhona) to make a delicious chocolate crust. Kept all other ingredients & proportions the same.

  5. MB

    It’s actually a good thing that there are roughly 15 inches of snow in my driveway, and I’ll have to burn off about 2,000 calories to dig myself out… because when I do dig out, I’m headed to the store to procure the ingredients to create this masterpiece. And I’ll be inclined to eat the entire 32-serving cake solo. OK, maybe I’ll share a sliver with my Valentine/husband:) You are truly a genius… Thank you Deb!

  6. andrea

    Thank goodness I don’t have the ingredients handy and have yet to dig the car out. But I definitely, definitely will stock up before the next storm!

  7. e

    I think this could possibly be better with good peanut butter. No offense, but that stuff with the blue label is so… plastic tasting. Sorry. Just a peanut butter purist, I guess!

  8. Well rats, now I have to lie to my husband and told him I invented this so he won’t leave me for you. This is his favorite candy/combo ever. He’s a nice guy, very handy around the house – you’ll like him. ; )

  9. Deanna

    I’m throwing a baby shower in 2 weeks and this is going to be the star dessert, especially since I made the great and powerful peanut butter chocolate cake for the mom to be’s bridal shower. It’s meant to be.

  10. Laura

    Look, I love you and I love smitten kitchen, but this is just… wrong. On every level.

    I need to go buy all the ingredients to make this now.

  11. Jane M

    I just got up off the floor because I fainted this cake looks so Devine! Wish I had a huge slice after working out shoveling this 12″ snow fall! And to think another 6″ is on the way later tonight? That’s just an enormous slap in our face!

  12. Jillian L

    wow!! This looks amazing!! I am very tempted to head to the grocery store to grab the ingredients seeing as my work is closed today (I’m in the south, we don’t do snow, even if I did grow up in Canada). I’m going to swap the peanut butter for the speculoos butter from trader joes due to a nut allergy, but I think it’ll hold up fine. Any special hints for keeping the outside crust so intact all the way up the springform? I’m worried it’ll just crumble, or is that was the butter does?

    1. Ellen

      How did it work out with the speculoos butter? I realize it was 2 years ago that you posted this, but my son who loves cheesecake is having peanut issues and loves speculoos.

  13. Meagan

    Deb I swear sometimes it feels like you can read my mind. I’ve been googling chocolate peanut butter cheesecake recipes all morning, I know which one I’ll be making.

  14. Jessica

    I am terrified of making cheesecake but oh my goodness do I want to try my hand at this! It looks divine. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my waistline?) I am snowed in at home today and cannot run off to the grocery store for supplies.

  15. Karina

    I wonder if this could be made in a 9×13 pan and turned into cheesecake bars? It would make it easy to portion and freeze some for future treats. The only thing I would wonder about is the baking time, which would be reduced because of the pan size.

    1. deb

      Karina — What a clever idea! Would love to hear a report back if you try it. I think others would love it and it might seem more manageable in thinner squares.

      BoxwoodTerrance — Oh no! I’m so sad for you. You have a better attitude than I will if my vacation is cancelled in two weeks. Maybe halve or quarter it in a baking pan to limit the damage, as suggested above?

      Maxine — I think it’s because I’m looking out at 10 inches of snow turning into 10 inches of slush out the window and I find it impossible to believe that bikini season will ever be here. ;)

  16. This will seem odd, but can I just say that we had to cancel our trip to Bermuda today due to the storm, so I’ve spent the better part of the day looking at light boxes on Amazon to cure what can only be Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately known as “SAD”). The heck with it though. I’m going to stare at this cheesecake instead as it should have the same effect as sitting in front of 10,000 LUX light box. I’m afraid that if I actually make the cheesecake, my husband and I will inhale the whole thing in one day, which would not be good. Thanks for cheering me up.

  17. Maxine

    Oh my goodness Deb why are you doing this to us?! There are skinny jeans to be squeezed into! Bikinis to be worn!

    To hell with it. I’d choose a big ol’ slice of this chocolatey tangy sweet goodness over a nice body any day. Your dessert recipes strike once again.

  18. Jacob

    How long would you recommend baking the cheesecake with both methods? Just looking for an estimate to use as a starting point. Thanks!

  19. Allison

    Did you use all bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate in this or did you do a combination of the two in different layers? I wonder if you’d even be able to tell the difference if you combined them. I made a Mississippi Mud pie for my husband’s birthday last year and all the bittersweet chocolate gave me horrible acid reflux that I was not expecting.

    1. deb

      Allison — I think I used a combination. If bittersweet gave you unpleasant side effects, try semi-sweet next time.

      Katie — I don’t think it would be deep enough. Otherwise, if you adjusted the volume (1/2 to 2/3, tops I think) the issue would be umolding it. But from a pie pan, maybe it won’t matter.

  20. This is everything I love about cheesecake in a single recipe. I was just about to ask how you bake everything without the bottom ganache layer melting away, but I read that you freeze it! Whenever I make a brownie cheesecake I always partially bake the brownie layer first, which also works great. I’m glad to see freezing works just as well!

  21. maitrayee

    Hi deb! This recipe looks gorgeous. I would like to try it for my dad who is a big peanut butter fan. Wondering if this particular cake will survive even after 12 hours of journey? Can I refrigerate it after reaching home? Thanks a ton!

  22. What an awesome combination and it’s in a cheese cake too. Yeehaw!!! I agree with you, non-chocolate desserts should be regarded politely, but only as curiosities at a zoo… LOL. :-)

  23. Susan

    Peanut butter and cream cheese. What a great combination. I’m not crazy about cream cheese, cream cheese frosting or cheese cake, but when cream cheese is mixed with peanut butter the sum of it’s parts are too good to have come from such a ho-hum pair. Why? I learned of this combo from your chocolate peanut butter cake and it’s the only way I can stomach cream cheese frosting. This cheese cake will probably do it for me, as well. Husbands birthday is at the end of this month. He’s going to love this, I just know he will!
    I’m still gah-gah over those chocolate peanut butter crispy treats. Those two layers of topping are just the best. I’ve dressed cookies with them.

  24. Jill Lyons

    So what kind of chocolate wafers did you use? The rectangular kind with
    that frosting in the middle? Or just a plain chocolate shortbread type cookie?
    Any brand you recommend?

  25. Pat S

    I’m green with envy. I do not have the ingredients for this and with 15″ of snow and more on the way this afternoon there is no chance of going out to get them.

  26. Susan Strasser

    Well, well, well. I figured I might as well make those, yes, twee linzer hearts on my snow day, and look what you snuck in while my dough was cooling in the fridge! Yow!!! I thought I only came back to see if there were any rolling tricks, or maybe what temperature the oven should be.

  27. Jennifer

    Deb, this is a beautiful cake! We would get along quite well with this side of your family. I’m more inclined to enjoy other varieties of desserts as well, but my husband would pick the dark chocolate type any day. Then if you mix it with peanut butter, forget any other choice to be made!
    *a couple of recipe clarifications: I assume you meant to indicate melted butter in the crust ingredients and that the cheesecake layer should be poured right on top of the first ganache layer after it’s done in the freezer and before baking?

    1. deb

      Rachel — If you have a roasting pan, use that. I don’t have a tall one. I did, however, find that a 10-inch square wedding cake layer pan I bought a bunch of years ago was perfect, so I used that.

      Jennifer — Yes and yes. Now fixed, thank you.

      sophie — Can you find a creme fraiche?

      Jill — I recommend these or making your own with the wafers from these. It seems crazy to take that extra step but the wafer cookies are soooo easy to mix and bake and taste amazing. I mentioned what I auditioned this time and do not advise in an earlier comment response above.

      maitrayee — I think it will be just fine as long as it’s kept relatively cool. It’s not going to go rancid unless it’s left in a very warm spot for a long time.

      Shikha — It actually just stays on the bottom because it’s thicker and heavier than the cheesecake batter. But freezing it sets it enough that you can pour the cheesecake batter over it without it getting mixed in.

  28. Denise

    So, if you had to make this in either: A) a 10″ round springform pan or B) a 4″ heart-shaped springform pan (which I happen to have 3 of), which execution do you think would come out better?

    1. deb

      Denise — 10-inch, absolutely. Or you could maybe halve it over 3 4-inch hearts (presuming they’re not 3-inches tall; if they are, you could do it in two).

  29. Rachelle

    Are you not a fan of the chocolate Teddy Graham crust any longer? I remember you saying you liked that better than the wafer cookies…

    1. deb

      Rachelle — I did at the time. Also, the fun of “processing” them (evil cackle). But I’ve lost my taste for them in crusts. I think I’ve gotten to sensitive to artificial vanilla flavorings and the like. I’m no fun at all. But! If you find their taste to be totally fine, do use them. It’s fun.

  30. SandyH

    I cater and cheesecakes are a specialty, and I think this is an absolutely divine specimen… I have a peanut butter cup cheesecake on my menu, it has yellow cake layers with chocolate and the cheesecake between. Delicious and pretty, but oh I love the puddle of chocolate on top of the crust in this one! It could almost make me cry. Cheesecake just does that to me. Don’t tell anyone.

  31. Good grief, this looks totally ridiculous! With chocolate-and-peanut-butter being one of the most irresistible culinary pairings, you’ve totally pushed it over the top by turning this into a cheesecake. What a perfect way to put a smile on so many of our faces on this snowy day! Do you have a particular brand of peanut butter that you think works best in this recipe?

  32. Kate

    This looks amazing! For those looking for easier-to-find chocolate crust-making cookies, try the chocolate cats at Trader Joe’s. I’ve used them to make chocolate crust for a marble cheesecake and they work perfectly.

  33. WHEN I make this (not if, but when – probably tomorrow) I will claim it entirely as my own and deny all knowledge of you, just to assure my husband doesn’t leave me and show up on your doorstep. Because if I know him, and if this recipe is anything remotely similar to a Reeses’s Peanut Butter cup, it’s a real possibility.

  34. PepperReed

    You know you *could* sprinkle that chopped salted peanut brittle across the top… ;^) This looks fantastic and I’ll try it in my small springform pan (there’s only 2 of us and I need to not die of choco-peanut love before my time).

    1. deb

      PepperReed — Yes! I was going to and then forgot I needed to write Happy Birthday etc. on top so there wasn’t much space. And I was afraid of making the cake seem overwhelmingly full of labor? Which was silly. Anyway, I vote for incorporating salty peanut brittle anywhere you can and love the on top idea.

  35. Jacqui

    Everything I love all together at once.If we didn’t have 12 inches ofsnow I would venture out for the ingredients and get to work making this right now!

  36. Kim

    For the lady in Greece who cannot get sour cream: I have had great success substituting plain Greek yogurt here in Canada.
    For the lady with no pan big enough for a water bath with her spring form pan: I put a 9×13″ pan of water on the rack below the rack the cheesecake is on and it keeps the top from cracking just as well.
    I saw this on Facebook and wish I was at home to make it right now! I’m going to have a hard time waiting a week to get a chance though!!

  37. EmmaR

    Is it too dreadfully unfair that I want to make this even though my poor BF can’t eat any of chocolate, peanut butter, eggs or coffee? I am a terrible, terrible person… but I still want to make it :)

  38. Erica

    What is this madness, this beautiful insanity you have done, you good woman, you dear friend, you compassionate angel?!?
    You have taken my favorite recipe from you site, the cake we refer to as “Euphoria Cake” because it has the power to reverse sadness, and you CHEESECAKED IT!?!

    Oh … I … Oh.
    This is so much better than I thought it was going to be.
    I’m so glad you moved on from lentils.
    It SHALL be made this weekend, we have people coming over on Sunday.

  39. Susan Strasser

    So the linzer hearts are done and they’re not so twee after all. I can’t wait to distribute them to my loved ones. Thanks as always for your inspiration and great, reliable recipes.

  40. It’s like you read my mind (or stomach, possibly)…I’ve been craving chocolate peanut butter cheesecake for the past two weeks! When I experimented with making one, though, the cheesecake layer turned out too solid for my liking – the batter wasn’t even really pourable, but rather, spreadable. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  41. Lauren

    I am in the absolute minority here- I like chocolate, and I love peanut butter- but I don’t like them together… heresy. The ganache looks great and the crust…so I will be playing with this recipe. You seem to always have a little “springboard” in each goodie you share, so that if we aren’t crazy about the whole…we can play happily with parts and techniques. Also I looked back to the 2013 list of “I O U’s” and I wished I had that Parsnip soup when I came in from digging out the car. We need a vegetable stock to go with the others you have shared with us. Your very own veggie stock would change that Parsnip soup from baby food, to “Oh, Baby” food I’m sure! Pleeeease? It’s still winter ( lest we forget!)

  42. Ola

    Deb! I’m Polish and the only cheesecake that satisfies me is the one with farmers cheese, do you think it would work in this recipe? I’m going to be making it next week for a couple of Americans so I wouldnt like to mess up, since cream cheese is good-gooooood!

  43. Lauren

    Can’t believe I forgot to mention your darling little Nureyev. He looks so SERIOUS at the start…maybe his Russian genes are telling him something?

  44. dezreen

    Because I have no time at the present, I will dip my chocolate kisses in peanut butter to calm my urge to lick the screen. Yeesh! Beautiful recipe.

  45. Leslie

    I’m a single mom who is not dating anyone, so I detest Valentine’s Day…thus, I think I deserve to make this for myself ;). Question from my sister who makes cheesecakes quite often…does the extra chocolate in the crust make it extra sticky, ie, did you have any issue with it sticking to your pan?

  46. Leslie

    Also, if we can’t find these chocolate wafers on the store and are too lazy to make our own, would you recommend the cookie portion of regular Oreos over te
    Chocolate Teddy Graham’s? Actually, another recommendation I just thought of, you know Gold Fish? They now make a “fudge” kind that’s really good…in a pinch I imagine they’d work great!

  47. Lizzy

    Re: chocolate wafers: I think you could use the chocolate alphabet Paul Newman cookies instead of wafers. They’re not very sweet but they’re pretty chocolatey, and could be a pretty good stand-in (also they’re cute and you can spell your name with them before grinding them up). Or, you could make chocolate crumb from the momofuku milk bar cookbook. It’s incredibly easy and only takes a few minutes to whip together.

    Thank you for posting so many awesome recipes! Everything of yours I’ve made has been great!

  48. I usually choose a lemon dessert over a chocolate one but chocolate with peanut butter trumps lemon every time. Would this work in a mini cheesecake pan that I bought on a whim and have yet to use?

  49. This is probably not a good thing to make when there’s nobody in the family BUT TWO to celebrate birthday with… Giant cream cheese cake and just TWO to distribute it… Have I told you I’ve been planking?… NO? Doesn’t help?… OK…

  50. Helen

    That looks insanely good! I’m up super late dealing with work issues, but seeing your post made it all worth it. Thanks for yet another amazing recipe.

  51. Tia

    Not to be overindulgent, but this cheesecake looks like a great candidate for enrobing completely in ganache. Place it on a rack over a baking pan and pour ganache over until completely covered.

  52. OMG, Deb. Are you kidding me????? I’ll make one…my birthday comes up next month, but do I really have to share???
    You want to really jazz this up? Take a look at my latest recipe and make the Spicy Mexican chocolate cookies for your cookie crumbs. Simple cookie wafers with just a slight touch of Cayenne pepper in the batter for zing.

  53. April

    Hi, just want to clarify. You said:

    “Make fudge layer: … Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter, if using, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bottom of chilled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze until ganache layer is firm….”

    So, we don’t need to let it cool before pouring it into the crust? Won’t that melt the butter in the crust?

    1. deb

      April — No, no need to cool. This isn’t a crust like a pie dough, where getting it warm too soon will ruin it.

      Mandy — Planking like this? Or just the agonizing ab/arms workout? ;)

      Shani — It should work, but I am not sure how the volume will translate. It’s probably safest to just halve it if you only want 1 dozen minis.

      Marcia — Good to know, thanks!

      Leslie, re cookies — Yes, the cookie portion of the Oreo would be good. I haven’t had sticking problems. The extra chocolate in it just makes it taste very, very good. (And probably glues things together better.)

  54. Wowie, wowie. Even though my husband is leaving for the weekend tomorrow, I feel like I should make this as a special send-off tonight. It shouldn’t be problematic, but do I dare make it knowing I will be alone with the cheesecake all weekend?? I think the answer is, “hell yeah”.

  55. Dana

    My birthday is on Tuesday and I’m so glad the fate of my cake isn’t in my hands, since the desire to make this obscenely-delicious looking cheesecake is almost overwhelming right now.

  56. All the chocolate and All the peanut butter!?!?! My 2 FAVORITE things! Digging myself out of this snow storm means I earned this cheesecake methinks. Thanks for such a delicious sounding recipe!

  57. sal

    Ok, I have an idea to make this like the chocolate-covered peanut-butter and jam candy bars from Trader Joe’s……Do you think it would work to add a layer of raspberry jam in between the fudge layer and cheesecake layer, or would something horrible happen during baking?

  58. This looks so delicious! As soon as I saw it, I thought, “this looks like a very nice-looking cousin of the very awesome peanut butter cake.” I definitely can’t wait to make it!!

  59. Mix406

    First, i find it funny that your recipe from 7(!) years ago is sour cream bran muffins. How far you’ve fallen, or improved, i can’t really decide which….
    I don’t think i can realistically make this for just the two of us, although i am intrigued by the idea of making it in a 9×13 pan. Somebody try it, please!! I think instead i’ll make just the pb-chocolate ganache and roll it into truffles. It seems more responsible.

  60. Deb

    I’ve been looking for the ultimate irresistible cake for a work celebration next week. I’m glad it’s this size because NO WAY can the dieters resist this! I am I bad for tempting them?
    I also love the idea of making it in individual serving sizes. I just recently discovered the individual servings cheesecake pan (like a straight sided muffin pan with removable bottoms). Fantastic for this

  61. Caitlin

    The chocolate peanut butter cake and chocolate espresso cheesecake are like two of my favorites…I’ve made both multiple times…so when I read that this is like a combo of the two my reaction was, well. Almost inappropriate.

  62. Barbara

    For anyone reading this far who does not have a pan for the water bath: Every year when foil roasting pans go on sale, the deepest ones, I buy a bunch of them for use with anything (cheesecake, creme brulee, custards, etc.) requiring a bain mairie. They will not carry the weight of your dessert , of course, so I just put one on the oven rack first, fill it with hot water, then carefully slip the dessert pan into the water. Do the same in reverse when the dessert has finished baking: remove it first, then, at your leisure and when the water has cooled somewhat, take out the foil pan and dump its contents.

  63. Janet

    There’s a valentine card that says “I am smitten” at Alphabets on Avenue A between 7th Street and 8th Street. Sorry for the late notice, but I just saw it.

  64. Andrea

    This is chilling in my fridge right now. What does it say about me that I had all the ingredients on hand, except the chocolate wafers? Subbed in graham crackers and some cocoa powder, because we’re in a rare Southern blizzard, and I couldn’t wait for a grocery trip to make this! Can’t wait to give it a taste tonight!

  65. Callie

    Thank god for you, Deb! I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to eat dessert, eat a damn dessert.

    The best thing about decadent cheesecakes like this is that they freeze exceptionally well, since you can later thaw in the fridge so easily. I’ll make this and freeze in individual slices, wrapped with wax paper (if we don’t eat the whole thing).

  66. Janice

    Made the 6″ springform version – it’s baking right was supposed to be for valentines dinner tonight, but it took 3 trips to 3 different stores to try to find chocolate wafers. (Never did find them, and ended up using Oreos without the centers. I have decided that I could not find the wafers because no one bothers to cook from scratch anymore, so stores don’t stock them. . Sheesh….).
    This is an easy recipe, and it goes together fast. Will let you know how it turns out- but I’ll need to let it cool overnight in the fridge before adding the ganache topping.

  67. Mary

    I’m in the middle of baking this right now! Just FYI, I’ve cut the recipe in half (save using two eggs and a touch more than half the peanut butter) and it fit very nicely in an 8″ springform. I started with a 6″ and the crust alone took up most of it!

  68. Laura

    Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Cheesecake = LOVE

    I love the idea of combining chocolate & peanut butter in to a cheesecake. However, I would have to do it by making half of the cheesecake batter chocolate & the other half peanut butter & than doing a marbled chocolate/peanut butter cheesecake. I don’t like things like ganache in my cheesecake. Something about the combination of the textures doesn’t work for me. I once had a piece of red velvet cake that had been baked with cheesecake (just the filling no crust) on top. All I can say is that I thought it was disgusting.

  69. Adrienne

    This looks like the best idea ever!! I originally started following you years ago when I wanted a good recipe for a Chocolate PB Cake, and your recipe was da bomb!! I was a little too impatient and everything was a bit too warm when I assembled it, so it leaned a to the side a bit. My hubby called it the “monster cake” but helped to eat it all. We were talking about that cake just the other day, and here is a new adaptation of choc & pb that I will have to try. I will definitely be a bit more patient with this one ;)

  70. mary

    oh. my. holy heck! I am looking for a way to pin your recipes as a follower of your yumminess, but never see a pin button! PLEASE! show me the way! haha!

  71. CASLYN

    I made this last night and it is so so good. The only thing I’d change is the cooking time…I cooked it on 325 for 1hr15min and it was still not cooked all the way. So I’d cook it for a little longer next time.

  72. This looks amazing – It is rare to find anything so rich in the UK! I am going to give this a try by but cannot be sure I wont eat each and every component mid-preparation or at least a good spoon and bowl licking!

  73. Tonya

    So I instantly fell in love with this recipe, what’s not to love?! I made it this afternoon, just took it out of the freezer and the middle is still soggy. Does it need more time in the oven? Or more time in the freezer?

  74. Ashley

    I decided to try this recipe out tonight, and I found that mine required a really long bake time . . . I used a 9″ springform without the water bath, and after 90 min. of baking at 325, it was still pretty jiggly across the top. I finally just cut the heat on the oven and left the cake in there for a bit before transferring it to the fridge . . . I’m hoping this will work out alright, although honestly, even if it doesn’t, this is one cake that will still get eaten and enjoyed just the same!

  75. Susan

    Question ??? – Have you ever tried staled brownie crumbs, like from your cocoa brownie recipe, instead of the cookies for the crust? I’ve had a difficult time finding those choc wafers, too, and I just can’t stand the cookie part of an Oreo. I might try this on a simple crumb crusted pie first to see if it works before using in a more spend-y cheesecake…but have you ever?

  76. Carol

    Hi, I have made many cheesecakes in the past successfully. I made this recipe yesterday. I followed this recipe to the letter. I baked it at 325 for an hour and a few extra minutes. It smelled like it was overlooked, it was brown on top, appeared solid in the centre. I thought I had overcooked it, did the touch test. I let it cool for about an hour before I had to take it to a dinner party. I did not, however, do the toothpick test (I thought the cake was overcooked). We cut into the cake, while a while later. It was liquid in the middle. I have no idea what happened. And I’m not talking a little bit raw. I mean 2/3 of the cake was raw. :-( we ate the outside ring because we desperately wanted to see what it tasted like, And it was good. 2 hours of baking? I don’t know…

  77. NancyJ

    Oh, amazing. The photo is so compelling that I made it yesterday. Costco sells “brownie brittle” and that made the cookie crumbs AND chocolate chips in one step. Used the 1st ganache only, putting 1/2 on the bottom and glazed the top…fear of richness. It is fabulous!

  78. Kelly

    I like the idea of making this in a square pan and cutting it into bars. It seems to me that might be a little hard to unmold from a 9 x 13 pan (I’ve made some bar cookie/cake recipes that have been a bear to get out of the pan!), but I may try in my square springform. Deb, speaking of springforms, I have a quick question: what is the brand of your springform pictured in the photos? I like the fact that the surface appears elevated. It looks like it might be easier to cut/serve from.

    1. deb

      Kelly — It’s from Kaiser; I got it probably 5 or 6 years ago. It is pretty easy to serve from, but this makes for a pretty firm crust so you could run a knife under it and gently slide it onto a serving plate.

  79. In the midst if making this! Couple of chocoate wafers to be found, used graham crackers instead (fingers crossed), i’m at an hour & 25 minutes and its still very jiggely. Finally, contrary to what i expected, this took no time to put together. I’m fully confident this will be on repeat in my house. Welcome thoughts on right baking time as my top is very brown but still not firm…. will update once we’ve dug in! Cant wait!

    1. deb

      Baking time for the cake — Guys, my mistake! I’m sorry, I made this last July and while I took copious notes at the time, when I wait 6 months to share something, I always forget something, which in this case is that yes, baking it in a water bath will make it take longer. I’ll adjust the recipe to note this. It will be a range because I can never get a tight read on cheesecakes (well, maybe if I tested 20 of them? But that would be deadly). But it will be longer. Thanks and sorry for the trouble.

      Susan — I haven’t tried brownie crumbs but I feel like they’d not work well — they’re too soft. When butter is added, they’d just be like soft cake or fall apart. Cookie crumbs are crisp. I know it sounds insane to make your own, but the cookie part of the Oreo recipe on the side is insanely easy (you just blend everything in the FP); it will not matter what size you scoop them, and they make gorgeous, delicious crumbs.

      Someone else in the comments suggested the Chocolate Crumb recipe from The Milk Bar cookbook. I haven’t made them, but dug around and found the recipe online and they look pretty easy, the same idea, just that they’re baked as crumbs.

      mary — There’s a “Pin” link at the bottom of each post, before the comments begin.

      Adrianne — You can make your own brown sugar with that molasses.

      Janet — Cute, I’ll have to check it out.

      In a 6-inch springform — If it’s 3 inches tall, you can halve this in it. If it’s 2 inches tall, 1/3 it to be safe.

      Mix406 — Wait, what’s wrong with bran muffins? (My mom made them all of the time growing up; the ones from 7 years ago are still my favorite!)

  80. Laura

    Made this yesterday and had to make it in a 10″ because my springforms are frustratingly shallow. It filled the pan right to the top, but baked up great. You’re right about the richness but omg it’s delicious!

  81. i went grocery shopping at 11 pm last night just to make this. i found that Oreo makes oreo baking crumbs, so i am substituting with that.

    @molly, i am also at 1.5 hours and still jiggely. not sure if the water bath slows it down? can’t wait to dig in! :)

  82. JBMiaCity

    Made this yesterday and it is delicious! Used chocolate graham crackers for the crust instead of wafers and it turned out wonderfully. Thanks for the great recipe Deb, now we just have to try and not eat all of it ourselves this weekend :)

  83. Erica

    Gluten Free Baked Around a Baby’s Scedule Notes:

    Deb, thank you again and again and again. Wow.

    I had a gluten free friend among my guests today, so I made the crust with GF chocolate cookies made by Pamela’s. I considered making the homemade Oreos from your site with GF flour,, but this solution was way easier. The cookies came in a 7 ounce bag, but that amount worked fine for the crust. I do wish I had used a tablespoon less of the melted butter. I used salted butter, which was approved by those eating it as bringing the flavors closer to the Reese’s experience.

    I made this yesterday while caring for and nursing my five month old son. My six year old son and I got the crust and fudge layer done during morning nap but couldn’t move on until afternoon nap. The cake still came out perfectly, even with the extra freezing time, so giving myself the day to make this in three easy stages worked really well.

    This cake came out so beautifully I just cant tell you! I baked it without the waterbath and it was gorgeous and uncracked on top, not that its appearance would matter given the final layer of ganache. My guests said the cheesecake layer was so light that it didn’t seem like a cheesecake at first. This is only my third cheesecake (the other two being the pumpkin bourbon one on this site, which is incredible) and it came out exactly like Deb’s pictures. tTe cake this is based on is my favorite cake of all time, and having this cheesecake version which was so easy to make GF for my gluten sensitive friend is a true blessing.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  84. Update- success! 90 minutes seemed to do the trick. No cracks; gorgeous cake. I agree that the cheesecake layer was much lighter than a traditiional cheesecake. Texture had a mousse-like quality. Devine.

  85. Sarah

    Hi Deb!

    I just made this cake yesterday in it was SO SO SO GOOD
    I am in shock of the taste it is something better than restaurants

    I want to tell you that 2 years ago I visit your blog and became inspired with the recipe of chocolate peanut butter cake. Since then I have been baking regularly, thanks to you. i always visit your blog your work is so amazing

    :) :)

  86. JP

    I know I am late in the game to ask this, but have you ever heard of the springform pan by Kuhn Rikon that is called the “push pan” and is supposed to be leak proof? Apparently it has a rubber (or rubber like?) gasket. I have had so much trouble in the past with springform pans leaking and the bottom of the crust getting soggy (even when the pan is wrapped in foil, etc.), that I wonder if this might be the answer? Would love your opinion.

  87. Oh Lord have mercy on my waist-line! I’m in trouble now! Peanut butter, chocolate and cheesecake all at the same time. My kitchen will never be the same again. I thank thee on bended knee!

  88. Catherine

    I would like to know if the peanut butter you use already has sugar in it (i.e. Kraft) or is it the natural, peanut only peanut butter?

  89. I’ve just found your blog – omg your photos are making my mouth water! Now off to add chocolate and peanut butter to my shopping list! Would it be okay to use crunchy peanut butter and maybe add a few chocolate chips to the fudge layer for a bit of added texture?

  90. Liz S.

    JP – I just ordered that push pan – purchased just for this recipe! I’ll let you know how it works out once I get it and have a chance to bake.

  91. Lucifer

    Made the cake on Valentine’s day. A trip to Trader Joe’s fulfilled all the ingredients. I used “Low Fat Chocolatey Cat Cookies” (about half of the jar) because that was the only chocolate cookie in TJ’s. That worked out great. No leakage whatsoever from the standard springform pan. I used dark chocolate pound-plus bar and TJ’s creamy salted peanut butter. Only put the peanut butter in the cheesecake layer. The 1 hour baking time (no water bath) was not enough. Baked it for 1 h 20 min, and it still was liquid-y in the middle of the cheesecake part. Overall the result was amazing, and after solidifying in the fridge over the last several days it looks and tastes great. The assembly was surprisingly easy.

  92. Ellen

    Thank you for this recipe! It looks outrageously good.

    If I use natural (no sugar) peanut butter do I need to increase the sugar?

    Thanks very much,


  93. mountain dreamer

    I made the crust from graham cracker crumbs and cocoa powder instead of the chocolate wafer cookies. And then of course I used all the other ingredients too. It came out great! Seriously, this cake is everything I love in a springform pan.

  94. Katie

    Any ideas on if/how this could be made for a sad, sad lactose intolerant couple? I can do butter, but the sour cream and heavy cream would kill us!

  95. Amy P

    P.S. Please don’t get rid of your ‘X Years Ago:’ recipe list. It’s getting long (seven years! Now I feel old!) but they all bring back such good memories – and temptations!

  96. Michelle

    This looks amazing and I’m about to make it! I was just checking to make sure I had the right quantity of cream cheese, and 16 oz converts to 452g – were the numbers inverted when you were typing it out by any chance? There’s a fair difference between 425 and 452, don’t want soupy/goopy cheesecake! All the other numbers match (I started checking after I noticed this), and since it was 452 and 425, I’m guessing it’s a question of brain saying one thing, fingers getting another thing to the page.

    Btw, I’m planning on making this as mini-cheesecakes baked in a muffin pan. Fingers crossed that they come out right!

  97. This does look really yummy. But only chocolate desserts? I couldn’t live without my grandma’s peach kuchen, or my other grandma’s home canned peaches, or almond coffee cake, or mochi. I might die without a steady diet of fruit themed desserts. I mean, chocolate is the ordinary, and in season fruits are extraordinary, right?!?

  98. I must testify that this recipe turned out AMAZINGLY well. I made it for my husband’s birthday yesterday (he’s a huge Reese’s fan) and everyone loved it, him especially. We will keep this one on-hand for future birthdays. Thanks, Deb!

  99. ASU Devil

    I made this for my friend’s birthday and it was amazing! I used Pizzelle Cookies for the crust which was divine. It was devoured in mere minutes by a legion of hungry men (it was bowling league night for my hubby and the birthday boy). I got the best responses and more compliments than any other cheesecake I have ever made – which probably doesn’t sound like that big a deal until you learn that I used to work in quality/ R&D at a cheesecake manufacturer. Many thanks for the wonderful recipe! I am sure it will become a regular in my repertoire.

  100. Alexi

    Will be making this tomorrow! Just wanted to chip in with my two cents on someone’s question on baking cheesecake in a pie tin. I’ve done it lots of times before and I think it works really well! The best thing is that you can buy a cookie crumb crust already made and then just make the filling. As I remember, a typical cheesecake recipe will yield 2-3 pie tins (depending on your desired crust to filling ratio and if you have extra fillings, so I would plan on 3 for this recipe) and my oven would cook them in 20 minutes.

  101. Mix406

    Well, Deb, I guess I’ll have to try the bran muffins! They sound good and maybe will help offset the cheesecake. When I make them they’ll both get added to the notebook of recipes from your site that hangs out in my kitchen!

  102. Leslie

    Made this tonight…INSANELY good. However, I honestly think the top layer of ganache is a bit much. If I made this again, I’d just not do the ganache unless I had an unsightly crack I wanted to hide. I’m one who’d fit into your husband’s family perfectly as far as my love of anything chocolate goes; but I thought with the fudge layer, and the amazing crust, the ganache on top made the balance between chocolate and peanut butter not quite as equal. And weirdly, I made the recipe exactly as called for, but had too much peanut butter filling. I filled my cheesecake pan to the brim and had about 1/2 cup leftover. Mine actually baked in about an hour and ten minutes, which surprised me. I did it for an hour and 20 based on the comments, but it was a bit dry on the edges and the crust tasted burnt on the edge as well (which I didn’t mind a bit). This is a recipe I’ll for SURE be using again!!!!

  103. Joan

    I was tooling around looking at different food blogs for ideas to use for my own new blog, when I saw your chocolate peanut butter cake recipe. I wanted to jump into the page, but of course that wasn’t possible. I cannot wait to make this cake, but I will have to hide it somewhere because my whole family thinks I am seriously dieting. I love your blog, but I have one question. As a new viewer, how do I begin finding your blogs? Are they numbered in some way? Are they listed somehow and I just don’t know how to see them?
    Joan Dahlen, new blogger

  104. Marge

    So good! Made this last night and everyone absolutely loved it. I decided to make a smaller version and just to confirm what was said above… definitely only make 1/3 of the recipe if you have a 6″ x 2″ deep springform. Thanks for the post Deb!

  105. Tammy

    Just saw this and I hope to make it next week for my daughter’s 16th birthday. It should be a grand! I have made cheesecakes before but have never baked them in a water bath. Could you explain the pros and cons to doing this? My recipe from the Barefoot Contessa has you bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then turn down temperature to 225 degrees and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn oven off and open oven door wide and let set in oven for 30 minutes prior to removing. Sometimes it cracks and sometimes it doesn’t :)

  106. Alexi

    P.S. I did make the cheesecake and I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream since I live where sour cream costs about 5X as much as the yogurt. It worked perfectly :)

  107. Dante

    Dear Deb:
    Hello from Barcelona !
    I know it’s a lot to ask but…
    Is it possible to make this recipe a “chocolate cheesecake” following these instructions and just omit all the peanut butter at once? In case you let me go with it, should I make any other adjustment?
    Thank you so much for so many inspiring moments over the years.

  108. this is absolutely the best thing ever to celebrate my sweet man turning 39. i’m pretty sure you wrote this just in time for me to find it a few days before his birthday. thank you, thank you!!
    {ps – you should know me and my youngest cooked this up tonight in time for it to chill for an early birthday dinner tomorrow. he’s seven. he licked every utensil clean telling me this was the best thing i ever made and i should tell you thank you.}

  109. Lane

    Hi Deb! I baked chocolate wafers to make the crust, but my food scale isn’t working. Approx. how many cups of ground cookies is equal to 9 oz?

  110. Karla

    Hi Deb , i know this recipe doesnt need melting the chocolate on a double boiler, but i wanna buy some bowls to use for this since the double boiler pots are a little out of my budget right now, so should i buy glass bowls(pyrex) or stainless steel??

    1. deb

      Karla — There’s no need at all to buy a double-boiler pot. I’ve never owned one. I usually set a metal bowl over a pot of water, I have a few sizes, but glass also works. Metal is a better conductor, though.

      Dante — You might want to start with this cheesecake instead.

      [And a few responses I missed from last week…]

      Michelle — My apologies, but that is indeed a typo. It should be (and now is) 455 grams. Sorry for any trouble.

      idit — There’s no reason you cannot use it; it just wasn’t the texture I was going for.

      Ellen — I suppose you could add another tablespoon, but I think it will be fine without it.

      Cathy — I used Skippy, so yes. Ellen (above) asked the same question, more or less. I think you will be fine without adding additional sugar to compensate.

      Sarah — Thank you. I probably used a mixture but lean towards semisweet with recipes like this. Not all brands even differentiate between semi- and bitter-sweet, FWIW.

  111. Bea

    Well, I had REALLY been looking forward to making this cheesecake for my boyfriend’s birthday. It was going beautifully, but when I checked it after an hour it still seemed wobbly. I used a water bath, but was nervous about overcooking it, so took it out after an hour and fifteen minutes, even though it still seemed underdone. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, when after letting it be for an hour it still didn’t appear to be setting. I decided to re-read all the directions- couldn’t see where I erred- then I read all the comments and saw that other readers had let theirs cook for an extra half an hour. I attempted this today- so it would have been nice if the recipe had been edited to reflect the difference a water bath may have made.

    I guess now I’m just wondering if anybody has an idea of how I might salvage my cheesecake. I don’t have the time to go to the store for new ingredients or even try again if I did. Any input would be helpful, I was really excited- and now am veering towards massively disappointed. Feel like an utter idiot for not reading the comments, even though I read the recipe five times.

  112. Julie

    I made this cheesecake for a friends birthday and OMG, everyone loved it! Anyone that loves chocolate and peanut butter combination this recipe comes highly recommended. The chocolate cookie crumb crust was a beautiful deep, rich brown and the cheesecake was incredibly rich and delicious. Seriously, cut small pieces! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips throughout but otherwise followed the recipe to the “t” with no substitutions. The result was flawless!
    Thanks for the recipe! It put a big smile on my friends face!

  113. Jade

    I saw this recipe and almost instantly rushed to the nearby grocery store. The flavours of chocolate and peanut butter are a just meant to be together. The cheesecake was rich and decadent, and although my end result was not as appealing as yours, my family and I enjoyed the end product nonetheless.
    So far your recipes have only resulted in happy faces and tummies. Thank you!

  114. Okay. Officially excited. Two pieces of your cake have just entered my office, courtesy of my friend and smittenkitchen-followeress Corinna. And it Looks: stunning. And it tastes: GIIIIIRL?! HOW CAN YOU COME UP WITH SOMETHING LIKE THIS?! No words.

  115. Kate

    Yes, I would definitely amend the cooking time/testing verification in the original recipe. I cooked mine for 1 hour ten minutes, and that still wasn’t enough.

    I mean, it’s delicious and definitely will be eaten, but it’s embarassing to not be able to serve this without making a complete gooey mess, since it’s very labor and cost intensive.

    1. deb

      Re, cooking time — Oops. I said I’d adjust it last week and was so harebrained, I forgot. I’ve adjusted it to 75 to 90 minutes, which is closer to what I experienced. However, I also noted that it’s definitely definitely for the best when making cheesecakes to use visual clues — the cheesecake should jiggle but not slosh under the surface, and only in the center 2 inches — to decide doneness. I hope that helps.

  116. Wendy M

    I made this and actually, I didn’t care for it much. Maybe it’s a function of living in Maine where “room temperature” means 58 degrees, but the fudge layer was too hard. It was also overly-chocolaty, which seems a weird thing to say in a chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake, but I just didn’t find the contrast appealing.

    I liked the peanut butter cheesecake layer and the crust was delicious – if I make it again, I’d actually omit the bottom fudge layer while keeping everything else the same.

  117. Brooke

    I made this for my sister’s birthday last weekend, it was so good! Everyone loved it except for the birthday girl, surprising since she usually is a huge peanut butter/chocolate fan. The best part was my kids re-enacting the old “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” commercial subbing in “chocolate ganache” and “peanut butter cheesecake.” Oh, and the part when the leftovers got to stay with me since my sister didn’t want them!

  118. Mari

    I made this cheesecake last night and brought it to work. It is FABULOUS! I used Romany Creams and butter only for the crust, and left out the fudgy bottom layer. Really lovely, definitely a keeper. Thanks so much for a great site!

  119. Colin

    I have just made this and it is sitting in the oven as I type. I’m so fricken excited and if the licked bowl tastes are anything to go by, it is going to be delicious.

  120. Bridgit

    Regarding g cookies: we love trader joe’s choclate cat cookies for chocolate crumb crusts (I know not everyone has access, but I thought I should mentioned it). The ginger cat cookies make a fantastic key lime base.
    Also, I’m just reading this now, so close to the beginning of lent that I surely won’t have time to make it and EAT it before Wednesday, so I guess it will just have to wait until the very second Easter has begun, because even if I’m not giving up sweets for lent, this seems toooo decedant to eat during a “solemn” time. Thanks for sharing.

  121. Just made this cheesecake this weekend and it BLEW MY MIND. I definitely couldn’t find those sweet chocolate wafers, but I substituted chocolate graham crackers and it totally worked. I omitted the final ganache step as I feared the cake would be a little too sweet. I’m glad I did because with the fudge layer (which many people left out but I think was pretty bitchin), the cake was plenty sweet but also perfectly salty at the same time.

    I didn’t use a water bath and also did end up baking for about an hour and 45min. Cheesecake layer was fluffy and lighter than a normal cheesecake which I really dug. This was kind of a lot of work, but it did turn out so lovely that I’ll definitely make it again! Thanks Deb you win.

  122. Ben

    Deb! This was amazing! I added a little espresso powder to both ganache layers as our girl Ina is wont to do. It really brings out the chocolate flavor! How good is that?!?!? Also after 90 minutes in the oven, and while the middle 2 to 4 inches were still slightly jiggly, I turned off the oven and left the door ajar for another hour. Other than those minor adjustments everything was just as you instructed! It was a great way to enjoy our 13th hour…er 2nd hour of the Oscars! Thanks! oh and the mustard beef stew was great too!

  123. Dominique

    This was amazing. Made this in a 9′” x 13″ springform pan so that I could easily slice it into bars. Did not use a water bath and took about 55 minutes to bake. No cracks! I made it a week ahead of time and froze it (after it sat in the fridge overnight to set). I then put it in the fridge the night before I was going to serve it to allow it to thaw. Serving this as bars was perfect since the cheesecake is so rich.

    It could not have been better, it was a huge hit at the party! I used chocolate teddie grahams for the crust, but used bittersweet chocolate to offset the sweetness of the teddie grahams. I will definitely be making this again!

  124. I don’t think I can wait until my husband’s birthday in November to make this, but he would love it (and hate it at the same time… trying to lose some weight after all).


  125. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheese Cake is just awesome delicious…I too tried and everybody enjoyed the flavour combo. You will love my dish too which I got to learn from Figaros Pizza who are providing variety of Pizza and their Choco Pizzas are the most yummy among the ones for kids. Order pizza online and enjoy it at home. Figaro’s Pizza offering you yummy pizza, pasta, and kids meals are their speciality, across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

  126. Nicole

    Oh lord, this turned into an almost-disaster last night! I have the tiny NYC-sized oven, didn’t use a water bath, still needed to cook it for about an hour and a half because it was super giggly, but the cake still rose a good two inches past the pan and cracked all over the place and kind of broke into pieces around the cracked perimeter. On top of that, some of the edges burned even though I tried to save it with foil over the top for the last half hour or so. Deb, how did yours stay so tame inside the pan?? Like you said, no one’s going to turn down a cracked cheesecake and the ganache (mostly) covered up the cracks. But… it tastes good. Real good.

  127. Nora

    I made the halved recipe (with ~3/4 recipe of crust) in an 8″ round cake pan and it worked pretty well. A little difficult to get the first piece out, but a good alternative for those of us don’t have a springform pan as yet and needed a smaller quantity anyhow.

  128. Liz S.

    Finally had a chance to make this for friends this weekend – it was wonderful! And @JP, the push pan you mentioned works like a dream. I did the foil wrapped water bath thing, and nary a drop leaked out of the pan into the foil. Unmolding it and moving it to a cake plate was a breeze, too!

  129. Lisa

    I made this over the weekend- it was even better the next day after having more time to get cold. So sinfully delicious! My only issue was not really knowing if it was done or not – I guess that’s the thing with cheesecakes. It seemed cooked through but was really moist. I also think I may have mixed it too much after adding the eggs, so the batter looked ended up looking puffy on top when baking(no cracking though at all). It didn’t look like the pic you have(pre-ganache). Again, no one cared cause the flavors were so darn good!

  130. Meena

    Deb, I’m planning to make this for a family party on Friday, but somebody else has dibs on making chocolate-peanut butter desserts! So I was hoping to try a chocolate-raspberry combo instead. Do you think I could omit all the PB and stir an equivalent amount of seedless raspberry jam into the cheesecake layer before baking? And then top the ganache lid with fresh raspberries?

  131. Shelly

    Won’t be going to weight watchers weigh in this week!! Cake is delicious. Left off the ganache as I wanted more peanut butter to shine through. Fudge layer didn’t set as hard as I thought it would, may be a good thing, cut easier I think. I never use a water bath but I always put a bowl of water in the oven with the cheesecake and it appears to prevent the cracking (imho). I use a lower temp 300 and just watch for that 2 inch center jiggle.

  132. jyllzie

    made this last weekend…OMG…awesome! i couldn’t find the chocolate wafer cookies at the store i was in so used chocolate teddy grahams (on sale!) instead and was quite happy with the results. i have also used oreos for a cheesecake crust before and liked it. although it was yummy-yum-yum, i would have liked a bit more peanut butter flavor to come thru. i used the optional pb in both ganache layers. next time i might skip the bottom ganache layer all together and see of that allows more peanut butter flavor to come thru. i also sprinkled some chopped roasted peanuts on top :)
    this recipe is a winner and quite easy to put together…thanks deb!

  133. Lisa

    I made this and it was delicious, but the fudge layer was very hard and tough to even cut through. I had taken the cheesecake out of the fridge a couple of hours before serving to avoid this very thing. Any thoughts on what went wrong?

  134. Rachel

    Hi Deb,
    What a great recipe idea. I’m planning to make this one for my peanut butter cup loving sister’s birthday, only the party will fall on Passover this year. Any ideas on how to make the crust kosher for passover??

  135. Gillian

    Ah, well. It’s a big cake for just two A-dults and three B-dults. Time to start making some friends!I’ve made the chocolate peanut butter layer cake a few times – always a big hit – but was going to try my hand at something different. BTW, I passed through LGA last night (it was MIGHTILY cold and windy!) and wished my layover was a little longer to visit some of your favorite haunts. Have you shared lists of inspiring places?

  136. mt

    I made this about an hour ago, and was having some (presumably peanut butter) oil separation and leakage while baking. Has anyone else had this problem? I used regular smooth Skippy. This has never happened with a cheesecake before, so I’m wondering if I messed something up along the way, or what steps I could take to prevent this next time.

    1. deb

      mt — This isn’t uncommon when using crumb crusts and imperfectly sealed springforms (most are) but doesn’t seem to affect that final outcome of the cake. It’s just a small amount, right?

  137. Rebecca

    Hi Deb,

    When I’ve made this tonight using the instructions above the fudge layer has split. Is this normal? Is there a way to save it, is it going to be okay still at the bottom? I’ve glanced through the comments, but no one else seems to have had this problem.


  138. Alex J.

    FABULOUS!!! I made the full recipe as cheesecake cupcakes (minus the ganache layer, because I was lazy). Couldn’t find chocolate wafer cookies, so subbed chocolate teddy grahams. Used my 1 Tbsp scoop to portion the crumb crust and fudge layers – turns out a Sam Adams glass is the perfect size to tamp down the crust into a muffin tin/liners. Then I used my 4 Tbsp scoop to portion the cheesecake layer. They baked for 25-30 mins at 325F, and made just over 2 dozen. Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  139. Savannah

    I made your Chocolate Peanut Butter cake for my boyfriend last year for his birthday, and he loved it.

    I know he wanted it again this year, and I’ve been really busy, so he told me not to worry about a cake. I told him I’m sorry I couldn’t make that cake for his birthday this year, which is tomorrow.

    He doesn’t know I am currently making him this. I have a feeling he is going to be ecstatic!

    I am using chocolate Teddy Grahams for the chocolate wafers, I think they will work perfectly! Thank you for yet another amazing post!

  140. Meg

    I made your chocolate peanut butter cake for my mum’s birthday a while ago, and it was perfect for my chocolate obsessed family. I sometimes find dark chocolate/unsweetened chocolate in ganaches too bitter though (as was the case with the ganache topping on the chocolate peanut butter cake – this is probably just my extremely sensitive taste buds though because no else thought it was too bitter) so do you think adding a little sugar to the ganache would ruin it? or perhaps using a milk chocolate + unsweetened/semi-sweetened chocolate mix? I tend to just adjust recipes to my tastes usually but with stuff like this I worry about ruining it by making it overly sweet.
    Thanks for the great recipes btw :) I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for a long time.

  141. Bridgit

    Hi Deb,
    I recall you being a be cheesecake crust fan. I’m making this in a 9×13, and I’m thinking I should double the crust, but this particular crust seems very rich… any thoughts on that subject?

    1. deb

      Bridgit — No need to double this one. I love crust, but this is crazy intense already with the grated chocolate and then the layer of chocolate ganache.

  142. Kimber

    I made this with oreos, filling left in, cut down sugar a bit to compensate. Who has time to lick all of the filling out of the oreos? I had not made a cheesecake in a springform pan with the water bath before, so read up on the techniques. Finally settled on a pan filled with water set on the rack underneath the cheesecake. Turned out beautifully! Alas, I am dairy intolerant so I could only enjoy the heavenly scent of chocolate and peanut butter, but everyone loved it so much I am repeating it for Easter dessert! Thanks Deb!

  143. Laura

    Wow. This was AMAZING! Made it for a large Easter function – it does serve A LOT! A little whipped cream on the side to cut the richness, or not if you are a real die hard sweet tooth. Keep the great recipes coming (:

  144. Laura B

    This looks amazing. As a chocolate and peanut butter lover, I really can’t wait to try this recipe out. I am usually stuck to just making these little cheesecakes ( for my family when they come over because I am short on time and don’t know how to make a good cheesecake from scratch. This recipe is exciting because it’s so different from anything I have made before. Thank you for the clear instructions and pictures, they are so helpful! I am definitely saving this recipe for later.

  145. Lindsay

    Made this for Easter weekend, and it is divine! Although we were mystified by the proportions and that nobody else commented on them. I used a 10.25″ springform (obviously because the 9″ was in use holding Nigella’s Nutella cake from Easter eve!). Even with a significant increase in volume (30% bigger), the crust was so thick at the bottom that it was barely cuttable. The crust is delicious (the addition of chocolate resulted in zero crumbliness!). The fudge layer was way way too much. I love me some fudge, but it was nearly a third of the pan height and made it very difficult to cut, so much so that the side of a fork would calve off a huge piece like an iceberg that would fly onto the floor or across the table. I’d 1/4 it next time, or maybe 1/3. The PB filling cooked perfectly and was the right PB flavor, but it completely filled the 10.25″ springform. Again, it’s 30% more volume, so I have no idea how it didn’t overflow everyone else’s 9″ springform! Next time I’d use same recipe, but some crust and some filling in a little ramekin, and way less ganache.

  146. Fizzle

    I’ve made it 2 times and it’s a great success. But I’m thinking of making it for friends, can we make it without eggs? Tq.

    1. deb

      Fizzle — I don’t think cheesecake will work without eggs; they’re too important to the structure. If you Google around, you might find some vegan cheesecake hacks/recipes that you might try to apply here.

  147. Hi Deb,
    I’ve bookedmarked this recipe for awhile and am thinking of finally attempting this. If I were to use a 6″ springform, you’ve mentioned that I’ll halve all the ingredients. How about the baking time?
    Also, what difference does it make using a water-bath versus not?
    Thanks and cheers

  148. Tucker

    Made this yesterday for a dinner party. It was a hit. Take Note: I will slice them into smaller pieces next time. I noticed people couldn’t finish their portions, even when they really wanted to. It is Rich! There was 8 people, and I have half a cheesecake left.

  149. Mary

    Making this for the second time! As I did last time, I’m cutting the recipe in half (well, mostly — half plus a totally unscientific smidge) and it fits perfectly into an 8″ springform.

  150. Carrie

    This was a big hit at a cookout yesterday! All the layers come together so easily. The texture of the peanut butter cheesecake layer was more like a Reese’s cup or the inside of buckeye cookies. I might like to try it again with less peanut butter so that layer has a stronger cheesecake flavor. Deb or any cheesecake experts have suggestions–if I decrease the peanut butter to maybe 3/4 cup, should I add any other ingredients to compensate for the change in texture?

  151. Rani

    Deb, just had to share this story quickly – my 23rd year old brother made this for our 20 year old brother this week, and we were out at a restaurant who very sweetly decorated the top, put sparklers on it and once we’d sung happy birthday took it away to serve.

    They brought it out on plates – each slice was about 1/5th of the cake! Keeping in mind your advice about how rich it was, we all nearly died just looking at it!! This is in Sydney too, small portions are a way of life here so I don’t know what happened in that kitchen!! We ended up sharing almost half a cake between four – a herculean effort but oh my word it was delicious!!

  152. Tucker

    See Above: Today marks 1 week since I made the Cheese Cake and I have one large wedge left, maybe I will freeze it. It is too good to throw out.

  153. Andrea

    This is the most delicious thing I have ever made. Period. I have followed your blog for years, and you never cease to amaze me with your creativity, humor, and–of course–fantastic recipes. Thank you so much!

  154. Tai

    I made these as cupcakes and YOU ARE A GENIUS! They were just outstanding: decadent, fancy, yummalicious. The cupcakes allowed me to feel like I was managing my portions, but, uh, we all know that I basically ate an entire cheesecake. Whatever! It was worth every single calorie. You only live once!

  155. Chris

    I made this for a potluck and it was enjoyed very much. I didn’t do the ganache top — the golden brown of the peanut butter filling was so attractive in the dark crust, it was a shame to cover it (and really, it didn’t need more chocolate). It took almost 2 hours to cook, but I think I put too much water in the water bath. I took it out of the bath for the last half hour. A little bit of jiggle and a slightly golden hue were the signs that it was done. I used Trader Joe’s cat cookies for the chocolate crust. One thing I found that the ganache layer was quite difficult to cut straight out of the fridge… have a hefty knife on hand, or let it warm a bit. Thanks for the great recipe!

  156. Anna

    This was a huge fail for me, though this is more due to personal taste than any fault in the recipe. We ended up throwing it out after having half a slice each. My main problem is that it’s just way too sweet. The tangy cheese is just lost in sugar and chocolate.Apart from the consistency, we could not tell that this was a cheesecake. I didn’t even do the top layer of ganache, and I still found this cake way too heavy. I probably should have guessed that it would not be to my taste, however. My go-to recipe for cheesecake calls for half the amount of sugar for the same amount of cream cheese and sour cream, and no added sugar to the crust (I don’t get this inclusion. The crumbs are sweet enough on their own, and especially combined with fudge and cheese mixture)

  157. Isana

    I am finally making this tonight for my daughter’s 7th birthday tomorrow and I’ve driven all over Brooklyn on a mad search for a 6 inch springform pan. The best I found is a 7 inch… Do you think I’ll get the same result halving the recipe? Fingers crossed…

  158. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    I made this for a July 3rd birthday and it was AMAZING. The birthday guy loved it (my husband is a huge peanut butter + chocolate fan – so it was destined to go over well). I halved the recipe and made it in a 6″ springform; I didn’t use a water bath and it took just under an hour to fully cook. This will definitely be in our celebration cake rotation — relatively easy and superb flavor combinations. Clearly a winner in our household!

  159. Ivana

    Another contribution for those wanting to make this in a 6-inch pan. I did it last night and I think 60 minutes was the perfect baking time (without a water bath).
    Also, used the cookie part of Oreos and was surprised at how easy it was to separate out the filling. Also kind of fun. “Peeling Oreos” I called it :)
    Finally, just to add that this recipe is much simpler to make than it looks when you read through it first. With all the different layers and chilling in the freezer/fridge, I expected this to be very time consuming and intense, but in the end it is a super simple cake to make!

  160. MathNerd314

    Made this for all the neighbors to practice for a very important birthday party. My pan is 2.5″ tall, so I 2/3rds the recipe (I’m a mathematician and I own a kitchen scale). That was a great amount but we all wanted more peanut butter flavor in the cheesecake layer–I added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter powder to the birthday cake and it did the trick!

  161. Darlene rothenay

    Deb, I love your recipes and this website. Since I am a huge believer in weighing my ingredients in grams, I found this recipe yielded fabulous results because there is so much less guesswork involved. Your thorough instructions and pictures, along with all the helpful hints offered by others, pushed this cake over the top. I followed your instructions to the letter, with the exception of judicious pinches of expresso powder in all three layers because I find it enhances the flavor of chocolate. I used hersheys special dark chocolate, in bar form because I find this chocolate to be smooth intensly delicious. I live at 2000′ above sea level, so I had to be watchful for doneness. I used an instant read thermometer as well as the ” jiggle ” test, and I started checking for doneness after 60 minutes, and every 5 minutes after the temperature was close to 156 degrees. I cooled on my countertop till the jiggle was almost gone, then refrigerated it so it would not overcook. As I get the time nailed down, I should only have to check it once. I put a pan of boiling water on the rack beneath the cake, as this is an easier option for a water bath. I watched several videos on YouTube for making cheesecakes and ganaches, which really helped. I took this to a Labor Day picnic, and people took 8 pieces gone before I could get it to the dessert table! I was more than impressed with this – thanks so much.

  162. Darlene rothenay

    Btw, since there are several ingredients in the crust, is there enough difference in the flavor to warrant the extra work involved in making the homemade chocolate cookies over Oreos ( without the frosting )? Comments and opinions appreciated.

  163. Sara Getz

    Simply amazing! Very rich, you want more because it tastes so fabulous but you don’t need it. I took it to work and everyone raved about it. I thought it would be a bit complex to make but it was very easy.

  164. Kyleigh

    Made for Christmas this year and it was a huge hit! I skipped the chocolate layer on top, and I’m glad I did. As it was the peanut butter layer was a little overpowered. I made cookies for the crust per Deb’s suggestion. Totally worth it! They’re extremely easy to make and very delicious to eat the leftovers, too! Thanks for this awesome recipe, Deb!

  165. Anna

    I’m making this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow and want to write “Happy Birthday Matt” on it. Anything in particular you would recommend for the writing? I’m not a fan of the gels you can by at the grocery store…they taste way to artificial. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Anna — Just hold back some of the peanut butter frosting and use that. It will be on top of the dark chocolate ganache, so it will show up fine.

  166. Tiffany

    I’m confused. After I make the crust and chill it and then make the fudge layer , I’m supposed to let the ganache freeeze? But in the directions I haven’t made the ganache yet?? .please help me understand this.

  167. deb

    I said freeze the ganache, but I meant the fudge layer. Now fixed. (It’s actually not very different from ganache, but calling them both the same makes it confusing, I know.)

  168. Catie

    Making this for my Valentine! :) Currently on the cheesecake-baking stage. I halved the recipe (for a 7 inch pan) and wouldn’t recommend it… only in the sense that it makes for a ton of errors if you are as math-challenged/scatter-brained as I am! Had a heart attack when I realised that I’d accidentally QUARTERED (not halved) the chocolate in the fudge layer and it was already freezing so it was way too late to fix. :( Hoping it will still turn out ok – I mean it still made a basic chocolatey/creamy paste so how can that be too bad? Anyway, aside from that debacle, I found I didn’t have enough crust (quickly whipped up more), and had too much cheesecake (dumped about 1/6 of it in the garbage rather than have it overflow the pan). So all in all… yep: making the big version next time to avoid confusion.

    Based on some reports of how overly sweet/chocolatey it is (and the fact that my bf and I both prefer really dark chocolate rather than sweet stuff), I went with all 70% dark chocolate throughout the recipe, added the peanut butter everywhere it is optional to do so, and will be topping it with salted/roasted chopped peanuts. Hopefully that will cut the sweetness sufficiently. Will post again to report how it all turns out though… :)

  169. Liv

    Made this yesterday, great recipe! I left out the fudge layer based on previous comments and made some changes based on what I had/use more often. I used greek yogurt (full fat, plain) for sour cream and natural peanut butter. I think made the peanut butter flavour stronger so I didn’t add more into the ganache on top. It cut the sweetness too, which I thought was perfect because I also topped it with chopped Reese minis. For anyone curious about making mini cheesecakes from this recipe, I baked mine that way at the same temp for about 20 minutes and I got 24. It was rich, creamy, and delicious and not crazy heavy or sweet like others mentioned, maybe because making individuals forces you to have a small portion and just enjoy? I made sure to have it after a lighter meal too. I will definitely make this again (and again) thanks so much Deb!

  170. Catie

    Just a follow-up – this turned out INCREDIBLE!!! Thank you so much for the recipe, Deb. This totally stole the show. I would highly recommend using dark chocolate if you know you like actual chocolate flavour (i.e. almost bitter) rather than sweet/sugar/candy bar flavour. With dark chocolate and a pinch of salt here and there (like in the cheesecake layer, the crust, and then some salted chopped peanuts on top, for example), the cake became so so so complex, rich, deeply chocolatey and utterly irresistible. I also really appreciated all the layers and wouldn’t suggest cutting any of them out because the four of them look and feel so wonderful together. Rather than cut the fudge layer to minimise the sweet or chocolatey flavours, reduce the sugar in the crust and cheesecake layers, add peanut butter wherever suggested, and/or yeah, just use pure 70% dark chocolate. Suffice it to say, I halved this recipe yesterday and today… just under 1/2 of the cake is left. Seriously. It was so good that my bf had three pieces after a massive dinner AND he’s not a big dessert person. Make it when you want to really blow someone’s socks off! :)

  171. Michelle

    I am reporting on the making of this in a 9×13″ pan for cheesecake bars :) It worked really well actually! The bake time was about 45 minutes, in a glass pyrex 9×13 pan placed directly on the rack in the middle of the oven. (I was really nervous about taking the glass from the freezer to the oven, so it did have probably 15 min or so defrost time between–it just sat on top of the stove with the cheesecake and fudge layers in it until the glass wasn’t frosty anymore and felt room-temp enough to me to put it in the oven.)
    I used the whole amount of crust, but had a little extra of the fudge and cheesecake layers that I made two tiny little muffin-size cheesecakes with. The ganache was fine for the top of just the big cake.
    I didn’t grease the glass or anything, but the bars are coming out of the pan just fine. No sticking problems. I cut them with a chef knife ran under hot water after the ganache had set on the countertop.

  172. Sabrina

    First of all I want to say that this is amazing. I just made it for the second time and while delicious, I seem to have had the same issue both times despite trying to avoid it. I haven’t baked it in a water bath, but both times I’ve had something (peanut butter oil maybe) leak out the bottom of the springform pan. I’ve never had any issues with other recipes – the first time I used all natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir) and the second time I opted out of the fudge layer on the bottom and switched the peanut butter to the Skippy natural variety with the hope of avoiding the oil issue. Any ideas about what this is? It makes a huge mess in the oven and is a pain to clean up is really all I know.

  173. D. Allen

    I made this cheesecake yesterday for my partner’s birthday, and it was a huge success! Re: baking time: I did end up baking the cake for an hour and 50 minutes at 325, and even then I wasn’t seeing the visual cues that Deb said to look for (i.e. the whole cake was still jiggling when I shook it), so I shut the oven off, opened the door, and let the cake rest in the turned-off oven for ten minutes. This gave it the extra time it needed without browning the top any more. It was perfect, and when we cut the slices last night the texture was beautifully consistent. Re: the chocolate layers: I can’t imagine making this cake without both the fudge layer and the ganache on top; it would be a different cake, and nowhere near as amazing as it is with all of those complementary layers. Finally, I used the cookie parts of a 12-oz package of chocolate sandwich cookies (Newman-O’s, since I didn’t have Oreos on hand) for the crust, scraping the vanilla creme from the middles and saving it in a tupperware. To write on the cake, I mixed the saved vanilla creme with 2 Tbsp of peanut butter and 1 Tbsp softened butter, and piped it on using a plastic bag. It was delicious! And a good way to use all of the parts of the sandwich cookies, if you go that route. Thanks so much for this incredible recipe, Deb!

  174. Flora

    Hi Deb, I love your site and your cookbook and try to make as many recipes from them as possible. I have a question regarding baking this cake without a water bath. In your New York Cheesecake you bake it initially at 550deg and then reduce down to 200deg to prevent cracking. Do you think that would work with this recipe? I’m worried about killing the chocolate. Cheers!

    1. deb

      Flora — If you’ve had success with it, you can do that here. However, I know a lot of people had trouble with burning in that step and don’t want to walk you into a mess. Even if this cake cracks, you’re not going to see it, FWIW.

  175. Ben

    I made this cake tonight and I turned out pretty good despite my many lapses in the kitchen. Firstly, I could only find those chocolate Cooke sandwich wafers which were I hope are okay buried under all the cheesecake fudgey goodness. I also accidentally made the ganache out of unsweetened chocolate instead of semi sweet cause it’s late and I goofed. I scrapped it off and quickly replaced it with the proper one. Thank god it covered it all up (bonus I are the cheese cake bits that were scrapped off).

  176. Eve

    This is very belated, but I have so many of your recipes bookmarked under “recipes to try”… I get behind! Just wanted to say that I finally made this cake, and chilled it for probably about 7 hours yesterday before we ate our first pieces, and then… I found it overwhelming. It was so, so sweet. And creamy. And chocolate-y and peanut butter-y, but not cheesecake-y. I didn’t think I could handle more than a tiny bit. I was surprised, because I don’t think I’ve ever met a Smitten Kitchen cake that wasn’t stupendous. And then (yes, there’s a happy ending to this story) I had another piece just now for breakfast. Oh my God. This cake was so much better the next day. The structure has changed and become drier and more cheesecake-y. For some reason, the taste is not so extremely sweet. It is incredibly good. I was planning (still am) to take half of it to work so my family don’t eat it all, but now I am half-regretting this decision. So this is a reminder to tell people to wait and eat their cheesecakes the next day! It really does make a huge difference.

  177. liora

    Hi Deb-
    This cake is so great- I made it to a friend a while ago and got raving reviews!
    I am planning to try it again for a fellow peanut-butter-chocolate addict’s birthday, but I was thinking to skip the fudge layer all together since I found it unnecessary the first time- for flavor that is, but- I was wondering- do you think it’ll have a negative affect on the bottom layer? make it too wet or something of the sort?’
    Thanks in advance!

  178. cameron

    Just made this for the second time and its in the fridge cooling. The first one was a HUGE hit at home! My son is a big pb and chocolate fan (as am I). I took half to work and people lost dey minds! This is officially my favorite and has made me a star with everyone who’s tried it! Thanks!

  179. Emily

    Hi Deb,

    I made this last night as a practice run for a work charity cake auction in April. I have a few questions that I would appreciate you taking a look at if you have the time:
    1. the recipe doesn’t say anything about buttering the pan, but you do refer to it as “prepared.” Should the pan be greased before the crust goes in?
    2. I feel like the recipe made a huge amount of crust…I stacked it all in, but I felt from the get-go that I was running out of room in my pan. I used chocolate graham crackers…Should I err on the side of a thinner crust?
    3. I had a ton of leftover cheesecake layer. Any idea as to why? This was my first cheesecake, so I am not sure if having some leftovers is normal. Do you have any ways to use up the extra, raw batter?

    I haven’t had a chance to try my cake yet, but all in all, it was an enjoyable process (which I can rarely say about baking). Thanks for another stellar recipe!!

    1. deb

      Emily — 1. I don’t butter the pan when using crumb crusts, as they’re very buttery and rarely stick. If you’re nervous and want an extra layer of insurance, it can’t hurt of course to coat the pan with a nonstick spray. 2. It DOES make a huge amount of crust. We rather love crust. You can definitely scale it back if it wasn’t your thing. 3. I’m less sure of why, but this is a very full cheesecake so given that your felt your crust was very thick (possibly thicker than mine in the photos?) and variances in baking pans, that might have been why. You could scale it back next time if you want less, or just bake off the extra in little ramekins or pudding cups. Nobody will mind. :)

  180. Jennifer

    I made this twice in two weeks. My only issue with it was the thick layer of ganache being so thick and firm it was difficult to cut through and to take forkfuls of, even after sitting out of the fridge for a while before serving. The first time I made it I gave it to a friend, so I was unaware of the issue when I made it the second time. The next time I make it (and there will be a next time, and a next time after that), I will add more cream to the ganache layer and probably make it thinner. I don’t think it would detract from the flavor and it would make it more enjoyable to eat, not having to fight for every bite.

  181. Anne Laurence

    I’ve made twice now. First time left off the ganache. This time left off the fudge layer. Mostly b/c I wanted more pnut butter to chocolate ratio. I also didn’t have enough cream cheese so put a bit of greek yogurt. I didn’t measure the pnut butter – just rest of the jar – b/c cheesecake is very forgiving. I am going to put a drizzle of choice ganache and a drizzle of pnut butter ganache on top.

  182. Christine

    I am planning on making this for my mom’s birthday. Do you still think the wafers from the homemade oreos are the best or would the ones from the chocolate peanut butter icebox cake you posted last week be better?

  183. Julia

    Amazing, and not as difficult as it first looks!! I made this for a birthday party with 16 people and still had a slice leftover for the next day.

    I don’t like my desserts to be painfully sweet, and several of the other commenters stated that this cake was very much on the sweet side. So I left out the brown sugar from the crumb layer, reduced the sugar in the cheesecake layer from 1 cup to 1/3 cup, and added a pinch of salt to the ganache layer. Glad I did. Baked for 85 minutes at 325 F, no water bath but I did put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven and got very tiny cracks only in the cheesecake.

  184. Adrienne

    I love this recipe. It is very rich and heavy, so a thin slice is truly all you need. I’ve adjusted this recipe to make a mini cheesecake, a cheesecake and and mini and the recipe as it is. I love how she gives us the weights, so so easy to adapt for just how much you need!! Also I love the write-ups to the recipes.

    Deb, I’ve been using your site for years. Keep up the awesome ground work! Your recipes make people think I can actually bake!! The truth is I can follow directions and use a calculator.

  185. Glenda

    OMG! A truly stunning finish, even after I thought I ruined it!! This cake was amazingly delicious!!!! When I was heating the fudge layer, I think I over did it somewhat and the fat separated out from the chocolate. So that I didn’t have a mess I poured the fat off and continued to follow the directions. It set up in the freezer and it was easy to add the cheese layer. When I was creating my water bath wrap, I ran out of extra wide tin foil and had to layer narrow foil strips. I was terrified the water would seep into the cake. Upon completion of the baking process the whole cake was sloshy around the edges and I thought it was water, when in hindsight it was just the fudge that melted and was seeping into the crust layer. I waited patiently and the cake set up after 8 hours in the refrigerator. I added the genache layer as a drizzle on the plates for serving. It was beautiful and delicious. Everyone had rave reviews and my husband’s birthday cake was a resounding success!!! Will make it again!!!

  186. Ellen

    Made this for New Year’s Eve. BEST dessert that I have EVER made! Ridiculously good. I followed another poster’s advice and omitted the sugar from the crust and did not add PB to either of the chocolate layers. It was a fairly easy recipe, just required time for all of the layers. I did the first 3 layers a day ahead and then just made the ganache today. Next time I will try to spread the crust further up the sides, but it actually looked nice with the PB layer showing between the crust and the ganache. And I took Deb’s advice and sliced it thin, but it was still too much for some of my guests. I’ll slice it even thinner next time. Can’t let any go to waste! :)

  187. Ellen

    I’ve already posted about how incredible this dessert is and with nearly half of it in my fridge, I’m already dreaming of the next time I make it. My son is allergic to tree nuts and is experiencing sensitivity to peanut butter, so he hasn’t even tasted it yet. But we were fantasizing about changing the cheesecake layer to a flavor he could have without issues. We were thinking dulce de leche/caramel or coffee flavored. I see that you have other recipes for those but the layers for this one are already perfect. And the cheesecake layer is light and fluffy and also perfect. So I’d like to sub out the PB and make it one of those flavors. Any suggestions on proportions of ingredients?

  188. Lynne Wingard

    This is splendid, and all the parts are wonderful. But that crust! I have never had a cheesecake crust I truly loved until this one.

  189. Bonny

    I made this last weekend. Following your directions. (Except for the part about chopping the chocolate chips. Not necessary. ) It was perfect, amazing, delicious, and gorgeous.
    I did thin the decorating peanut butter with cream so I could write on top. You are so right. Cut it into very tiny pieces. Thanks for another winner.

  190. Angela Cameron

    This is the fourth time I have made this cake for my kids birthday, both the 11 year old and the now nine year old have requested it for two years running. I also have neighbours and friends lined up around birthday time, pre ordering a slice. This cake is ridiculous in the best sense of that word. Thanks for taking it over the top yet again. AJC Ottawa Canada

  191. Deb, could I freeze the crust & fudge layer for longer, say, 24 hours? I am making this for a friend’s birthday but I have a 5 month old and the jumperoo only holds his attention so long… so I’m trying to break up the tasks!

    1. deb

      If it’s not cutting smoothly, in almost all cases, a hot, wet knife will do the trick. Wipe the knife and re-dip it in hot water between cuts for clean cuts.

  192. Michelle

    Hi Deb-
    I have been following your site for at least 8 years (before your first cookbook) and have made and loved so many recipes. I have never sent a message or posted, but I just tweaked this recipe and it was so amazing I felt like I HAD to let you know. The peanut butter cheesecake recipe is one of my favorites and I have made it many times. I was asked to make a nutella cheesecake for a birthday party and after reviewing (and trying) several recipes came to the conclusion that my best shot at a good cheesecake was to use your recipe and swap the out the peanut butter for the nutella (1:1 swap). The results were AMAZING. I think the baking time was slightly longer (closer to 90 minutes then 70) but the cheesecake baked perfectly; no cracking or breaking, even without using a water bath. Its the kind of thing you might just have to run right out and try…

  193. Grace

    Ok I love this recipe! I’ve made it a few times now and it’s amazing every time. The one sub that I definitely found I prefer is to use chocolate Graham crackers instead of the cookies. For me it just forms a better crust. I definitely want to use this recipe as an outline and try a white chocolate variant, maybe with just some classic cheesecake and raspberry!

  194. Donna Bailey

    I love to make cheesecakes!!!! This one will be perfect. But……….I have a question. I am having a hard time with my ingredient measurements for a 6″. I’m tired of wasting the extra. Can you help me? Every recipe I find is for a 9″ and I don’t know how to reduce them to fit a 6″. Any advice will be appreciated.

    1. deb

      6″ = exactly half what you would put in a 9″, however, you need it to be the same height. If your 6″ springform doesn’t have 3″ sides, maybe put only 1/3 of everything in there instead, to be safe.

  195. Britania

    I’m planning on making this for my birthday! I was wondering what the texture of the cheesecake layer is? Is it on the denser side or the more pillowy soft side? I prefer the latter in cheesecake. Do you have any recommendations for how to keep the filling soft and almost mousse like but still hold its shape?

  196. Dawn

    I know this is old but I made it a few days ago and wanted to give it a review. I’ve been making cheesecakes for many years, have made probably over a hundred different kinds and this is one of the best! Just so people know, you do not have to take the cream out of Oreos if you are using them to make the crust. I just put them in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin, cream and all. It works fine and just makes the crust creamier. I did not add the brown sugar to the crust, nor did I bring the crust all the way up the sides. I think it looks better with the layers that way. I cut 1 cup of sugar to 3/4 C but otherwise, I did everything else according to the recipe. I did add some chopped up miniature Reeses peanut butter cups to the cheesecake layer because I always like that in a peanut butter cheesecake. This was in no way too sweet for me. If I really wanted to, I could eat half the cheesecake before I got an upset stomach. So, good job with this one!

  197. Gina Igel

    I have made this cheesecake 3 x’s now. The first two were incredible, but both times my springform leaked despite double wrapping in heavy duty foil. I decided to try something different. I placed a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and the cheesecake on the middle. When the cheesecake was close to done, I turned off the oven and held the door slightly ajar by the width of a wooden spoon. 20-30 minutes later I took it out. @30 minutes later I popped it into the fridge uncovered. No cracks.
    I recall learning the spoon trick when baking a cheesecake, years ago, with a recipe from, “The Cake Bible”, I believe.

  198. Sheri

    This is our family’s birthday cake of choice! Everyone from the 4 year old to the 40 year old (me!) requests this! I just made it for myself for my 40th birthday because it is better, and definitely cheaper, than anything you can get at the Cheesecake factory. I follow the directions exactly and it turns out perfect every time. I baked in a water bath this time and it was even silkier and absolutely no cracks. I highly recommend this recipe!

  199. Alison

    I’d like to do some piping decoration on the top, but don’t want to make this cake even more indulgent/too sweet. Would barely sweetened whipped cream be too much?

  200. Alison

    I’d like to do some piping decoration on the top, but don’t want to make this cake even more indulgent/too sweet. Would piping barely sweetened whipped cream around the edge be too much?

    1. deb

      I don’t think it’s needed at all but if you want it more decorative, it’s not going to be harmful or anything. You could also scribble on it with melted white chocolate for contrast.

  201. One of my grandsons requested this after seeing a similar recipe online. I knew yours would be better, and it was. My entire family — two daughters & spouses, five grandchildren (aged from 11 to 20), and my husband all *raved* over this. The recipe looks long, but it’s so easily made, given the need to chill/freeze at different stages. This has gone into my permanent file. :)

  202. Amy

    I made this for my daughter’s birthday, which we celebrated on Thanksgiving with family this year. Despite everyone’s bursting tummies people could not resist this. My daughter loved it and everyone raved!

    One modification – I had trouble finding my usual wafer cookies so used chocolate graham crackers for the crust (added a bit more sugar to compensate). I couldn’t notice a difference from my usual wafer cookie crusts.

  203. onegracie

    I’ve made this for my husband’s birthday several years in a row now! One of our favorites. It was a little too chocolate heavy for me (I wanted more peanut butter filling), so I increased the peanut butter cheesecake filling by 1.5 and decreased the chocolate layers a little. But totally personal preference. This is such a solid recipe!

  204. Emily

    I made this to take to a Christmas dinner party. I made it almost exactly as the recipe is written, including all optional peanut butter. The only change I made was to reduce the sugar in the cheesecake layer to 2/3rd cup per someone else’s suggestion. The crust is very sweet and I am glad I reduced the sugar a little in the cheesecake. It would have been fine still, but it was not missed either. It was phenomenal and definitely very rich. We had 7 adults and a little over half a cheesecake left at the end. It is a hefty cake as well. Mine took the full 90 mins to cook and it didn’t crack. I didn’t use a water bath, but I did put a pan of water on the bottom rack. I have no idea if it helped. The ganache was soooo good and would have covered any cracks anyways! This is basically like a gigantic peanut butter cup. It was a crowd pleaser.

  205. Heather

    When people made this, did the cheesecake top come out light-coloured like a traditional New York cheesecake, or more amber/golden brown? I halved the recipe for a 7″ springform pan but forgot to shorten the baking time. The top didn’t crack but it’s quite dark in colour and not at all jiggly, so I’m pretty sure it’s well overbaked. (I took it out at 75 minutes but probably should have removed it at the hour-mark, when it was still somewhat jiggly.) Now that it’s covered with the ganache, of course, you can’t tell. Here’s hoping it tastes okay!

    1. Heather

      PS: I should also add that I didn’t have chocolate wafers so I used speculaas cookies (similar to gingerbread) and found the crust was too wet when using the weight of crumbs suggested in the recipe. After adding the butter, I added more crumbs till I got the consistency I wanted.

    2. deb

      If you look at the 8th picture from the top here, you might see that mine got a darker “skin” on it, which might be what you’re seeing. You can even see the cake below, which is the color of the slices. So, it might just look darker on top for you too. Hope it was a hit.

      1. Heather

        It was lovely–the texture and taste of the peanut butter layer were perfect. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I (the world’s biggest sweet tooth) found the combo of fudge and peanut butter a little too much. I am going to make it again this weekend but will omit the fudge layer.

  206. Tamar

    Can you please tell me the size of the springform in CM?
    From the explanation at the beginning, it is sound too small (6 inches).
    Thank you!

  207. Manpreet

    Do you think it’s okay to use all natural peanut butter or do you think it would seperate? I notice on your chocolate peanut butter cake you recommend not to. Btw I’ve made that one a few times and my family loves it. Thought I’d change it up and make the cheesecake one for father’s day!

  208. eemiillaa

    I love chocolate, and I adore ganache; this confection, however, was over the top. I added the full amount of peanut butter, and it still was buried by chocolate. I reduced the sugar in the cookies for the crust and the cheesecake batter not to mention using natural peanut butter without any added sugar, and even cutting thin slices it was shockingly sweet. I hesitate to call this cheesecake as it is so overwhelmed by the chocolate components. Aesthetically this is a knockout celebration cake that doesn’t live up to the peanut butter cheesecake parts of its name.

  209. Viola

    I love everything about this cheesecake; it has a crust recipe that I will use on all chocolate cheesecakes from now on, a ganache layer that is to die for, and the best peanut butter cheesecake ever!

  210. Jackie

    Sorry if this has already been asked and answered, what is the bake time for a 6 inch pan. Making it this weekend for a friend at the gym and taking a full sized cheesecake in to the gym might get me stoned (and not in the good way)!

  211. Jackie

    I made this last evening and just put the ganache on. I’ve not made cheesecake before but your recipe was easy to follow and well laid out – I halved the recipe and made it in a 6″ springform pan, baked it for an hour. Looks lovely, hope the recipient enjoys it. Thank you, have made many of your recipes – no fails !!

  212. Marissa Keener

    This cheesecake is decadent in the extreme! It was definitely a hit but it was so rich that you really only need a sliver of a slice. Also I was surprised by the density – I know cheesecake is heavy but whoa! I weighed it and after popping it out of the springform pan it weighed 5.5 pounds! Over a pound of that is chocolate. The only thing I didn’t love was the crust – dough was quite wet and hard to get smoothed on the pan. After it baked though, that was one of my favorite parts! I saw other commenters talk about the sweetness level and I did not find it to be too sweet – just super rich/heavy. I used a natural peanut butter and more of a bittersweet chocolate (rather than semisweet) and followed the recipe to a T. Thanks Deb!

  213. Louwima Bone

    I had two large slices. Delicious. Served my family of six adequately – though will have to make another soon. Thank you for the recipe.

  214. Rachel Wasser

    If halving this and using a 6″ pan, would the cooking time be approx half? Just wondering what my initial “check to see if this thing is done” time should be.

  215. Mimi

    I made this with Leibniz Kakaokeks for the crust, just if anyone in Germany wonders what wafers to use. But I halved the sugar for the crust. Most yummy chocolatey crust I ever tasted!

    Also left out the fudge layer. Maybe next time I’ll Do less cheesecake mass, and add the fudge. I could eat only a very thin wedge, Deb was right as always :-D

  216. Emily

    This cheesecake is delicious and so decadent. I followed other commenters advice and omitted the sugar entirely from the crust and cut down the sugar in the cheesecake layer to 2/3rds a cup. I do have to say that the fudge layer was way too thick and hard though. Should be half the thickness of what’s called for in my opinion.

  217. Viola Konopka

    This is a favorite cheesecake in my house! I have made it many times. The most recent time is for my daughter’s wedding reception, per her request!

    I love this recipe so much that I have used the chocolate crust with other cheesecake recipes! The crust never turns out soggy.