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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter "Cake"

This is a funny little recipe.  It only has four ingredients and requires no baking. I used to make this cake when my boys were little and it always amazed me.  I was looking through my recipes the other day for something and came upon this and had fond memories of it.  I can't even remember where I got this recipe from anymore, but it's a winner.

How does a cake require no baking?  It's made from chocolate graham crackers and after you've frosted the crackers and let the cake sit for several hours, they soften up and become cake-like.  No kidding.  It works very well.  You make two frostings, one with peanut butter and one with chocolate.  It's easy and a great make-ahead little cake with very little effort.

The frostings are definitely worth making from scratch.  They are basically just flavored whipped cream frostings, one peanut butter and one chocolate, and they are light and fluffy and absolutely delicious.


Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake "Cake"


for a printable recipe, click here

serves about 8-10


  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 12 whole chocolate graham crackers
  • optional garnish: chocolate jimmies 



In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine 1/4 cup of the cream and the peanut butter chips, stirring just until melted and smooth: pour into a bowl.  Repeat with the milk chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup of the cream; pour into another bowl.  Refrigerate both about 15 minutes until cook, but not firm.

In a medium bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat remaining cream just until stiff.  Gently fold half of the whipped cream into peanut butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.  Fold remaining whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Refrigerate milk chocolate whipped cream.

Spread each of 10 whole chocolate graham crackers with about 2-1/2 tablespoons of the peanut butter whipped cream.  Sandwich together coated crackers to form 2 stacks (5 cookies per stack). Top each stack with 1 plain graham cracker. Arrange stacks, side by side, on a serving plate, long edges touching. Frost with milk chocolate whipped cream.

Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight for cookies to soften into "cake". To serve, garnish with chocolate jimmies if you want. 


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Reader Comments (48)

this is wonderful I have to make a cake for a school carnival "cake walk" and this will be so easy and perfect.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertracey

I can't wait to try this one! Easy, yet impressive! My kind of dessert!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

This looks like so much fun to make with my boys!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail sharpe

Beautiful! Usually no-bake cakes do not float my boat, but this looks wonderful.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicoleD

Why is it, that everything that triggers Pavlov's experiment, a heart attack on a plate?

I know, I's only once-in-a-while. But, that ' while' seems to come up every other day. :(

Montrea, Quebec

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherrill Pearson

Wow. Another beautiful and delicious creation. Thank you for sharing your amazingness with us! :) Your blog is such a delight.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFarmer's City Wife

Well, it doesn't get any easier than that! Very cool.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy@Savoring Today

This is too dangerous to have in my fridge, but it looks fantastic and fun!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

Think I'll try it with semi-sweet chocolate chips!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

I'm loving this idea! We have a similar recipe in our family with graham crackers & pudding. This is a must try.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiva@Diva Eats World

Wow, I'm stealing this one for sure! Thanks for sharing! I'm a purist when it comes to chocolate. I wonder if it would taste good with just chocolate chips?

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaribel

Hello, this looks wonderful. I really would like to try to make this for this Saturday, it's going to be birthday of a friend of mine, but here, in Lithuania, we do not have peanut butter chips - how could I substitute them? Would simple peanut butter be ok? I would be very grateful for your recommendation.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterViktorija

Pleased to see the use of the term 'Jimmies" rather than sprinkles!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStan

When I was a girl, my mom made an almost identical"cake" with round chocolate cookies. It was delicious. This sounds like a more modern update of that recipe...

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarge

this looks really good~~so different!! gonna try this over the weekend!!!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWenDee Riffe

From The Italian Dish:

Viktorija: I'm not sure but I think peanut butter might be too dense to soften the crackers. You could certainly try it. If not, maybe you could make a dark chocolate frosting and a milk chocolate frosting and that would give you two versions instead of a peanut butter frosting. Look in your store and see what different kind of chips they have.

May 19, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This looks like a dish from the 1950's- what is called an "icebox cake". Thanks for posting this recipe, it looks like a real winner. A nice idea for a birthday.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

The layers look just like chocolate cake, perfectly in row. My granddaughter and I could do this together when she sleeps over so we can have it the next day, or we need to make it early in the morning. She would love this!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

Oooh, that chocolate frosting looks so good...........totally love it

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIndu

wow this looks incredibly delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Butterfield

I am a surrogate grand mother for a pre-teen across the street from me. I am teaching her to bake. I can't wait to try your recipe with her, so she can learn that you do not have to have all the fancy gadgets that I own to make a great desert. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really look forward to your blog posts. I have made many recipes from the different blogs I read. YOUR recipes are always a hit, always.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Have done many a Christmas cake similar to this, applesauce with jello (lime and rasberry) filling and regular graham crackers. Looking forward to trying this non-Christmas version.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda

What a fancy looking recipe but so simple! With this combination of flavors it has to be good!

Another great recipe to go along with your no bake cheese cake!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ambrosino

What a neat idea - especially when you need a dessert and it's too hot to bake.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

My husband is a big fan of the "Graham cookie/pudding dessert". When I came accross your receipe I though it would be a nicer and fancier alternative for his birthday. I could not find the chocolate cookie so I used the honey one instead and switch the peanut butter chips for butterscoth. It was a real delight!!! I think we found a new classis for our familly, thank you for sharring!

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermc melancolie

I found this same recipe in McCall's Magazine in February of 1997! Their icing was much smoother and creamier (maybe didn't whip the cream as stiff) and they used chopped chocolate peanut butter cups for their garnish. I remember it being yummy, but messy to make. Think I'll try it again, though:)

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

amazing I love it! gloria

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergloria

From The Italian Dish:

Donna: Yes! I think that was it. You know exactly the cake I'm taking about. My recipe calls for the garnish to be peanut butter cups, too (I changed it to jimmies) and 1997 sounds about right. Good memory!

May 24, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I stumbled across your blog at work last night (whoops, sorry boss) and it is SO ADDICTIVE. All of your creations are scrumptious looking and I love the way you write. You're my new favorite person!!!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

I'm in the process of introducing a dear friend of mine into the world of foodie-ism, a no bake cake will surprise and delight him, and harken back to the peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kiss of his past.

I'm so please to read your blog, it brings me a great amount of joy.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElllie Barczak

From The Italian Dish:

Candice: You made my day! Thanks for the kind comment.

Ellie: So glad you dropped by! Hope you are enjoying Madison. I bet it was hard to leave Chicago!

May 26, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

What an amazing !! fantastic posting for Cake really yummy cake . thanks

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPSD To XHTML

I brought this cake to a Memorial Day BBQ and everyone loved it! It's so rich and delicious you don't need a large piece to satisfy.I love it too for the novelty, so much fun to reveal how it's made!

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

I was sooo excited to make this. I think I did something wrong! My "whipped cream" is too loose... not sure how to get it more fluffy? I have it "hardening" in the fridge... seeing how it goes... I will try again :)

June 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

From The Italian Dish:

Hillary: Maybe it was hot and humid in the kitchen when you made it? Putting it in the fridge and letting it chill should help a lot in firming it up. Good luck!

June 5, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Ok so I froze the mixtures thinking it would thicken them up and I was using stainless bowls... then I froze the mixing blades too. it still was pretty loose. I will try again. We haven't tasted it yet will tomorrow :)

June 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

Made it this afternoon for a potluck this evening. A BIG HIT! Used semi-sweet chocolate only. That takes the number of ingredients down to just 3! People at the potluck thought I bought it and asked where I got it. When I told them I made it, they all asked for the recipe. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaribel

Delicious dessert looks delicious I find I'm hungry!!!!!

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercheap nfl jerseys

my youngest son made this for Father's Day and everyone loved it! I did not have chocolate graham crackers and it was still fantastic (but I do think the chocolate graham crackers would have made it even better). My boys decided that they will make this cake every week - I'm okay with that :-)

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

What a great idea! I have a local park by me and I picnic a lot. This would be a perfect desert! Also, made me smile that you say "Jimmies", too! I thought that was just a New Jersey thing!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Maybe my whipped cream wasn't stiff enough? Or I should of chilled my melted chips mixture more?
When I folded the cream and my melted chips mixtures into each other, they came out too liquid. I put them back in the fridge to firm up. I hope that works!

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

I made a CHOCOLATE SOUR CHERRY (UK) version of this recipe, which was absolutely delicious! I substituted digestive biscuits (Whole Earth) for Graham crackers, milk chocolate buttons for choc chips and sour cherry 'jam' for peanut butter chips. The jam (=jelly in the US) is a homemade mixture, made from dried sour cherries soaked in water with a little Kirsch, then cooked down for a while with some sugar, to create a little syrup. I reckon other kinds of jam (jelly) could be used too.... and even fresh fruit e.g. strawberries, or tinned pineapple rings...perhaps?....I plan to experiment further.... Incidentally, because digestive biscuits are circular, I made individual round cakes instead of one large square one. Very cute. Many thanks for a great recipe.

Patty (UK)

July 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatty Fermenty

There's a really common and typical cake here in Portugal, called Bolo de Bolacha (Cookie Cake) that's made of Marie Biscuit or Graham Crackers lightly soaked in coffee and frosted with buttercream. It's very similar to this.

August 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoana

My boyfriends nephew has a birthday coming up and his 4year old niece wants to bake a cake for him and this is perfect for her to make. Easy, safe, yummy, and best of all FUN!!!

November 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanna

Hello, I have been looking for a cake recipe that I lost from that same McCalls February 1997 issue. Do you by chance have a recipe for a Chocolate Blackout Cake? Please, Please, Please, say yes!

May 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Hello, I saw that you said you had seen this recipe in a McCall’s 1997 issue. I have been looking for a Chocolate Blackout Cake recipe that I lost. I believe it was in that same issue. Could you please tell me if you might have other chocolate cake recipes from that issue?

February 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

From The Italian Dish:

Barbara: Sorry I can't help you! I think a reader commented that is where they saw the recipe, but I do not know where I clipped the recipe from myself. Sorry!

February 25, 2019 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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