This is the perfect peanut butter cake recipe. It has the great taste of peanut butter without being overwhelming. I can’t wait to make it again and share it with friends! ~Marci
This old fashioned peanut butter cake is a winner!
Peanut butter cake is a good old Southern potluck staple. It starts with a base of moist peanut butter sheet cake. Then hot peanutty frosting gets poured right over the warm cake, and the whole thing gets showered with roasted peanuts. Just. Divine.
I can’t imagine there are too many of you out there who wouldn’t enjoy this old fashioned sheet cake. I loved everything about it. Starting with the cake itself; peanut butter does something wonderful to the texture. It’s not too sweet, just the way I like it, and very pillowy and moist. And I can’t even with that frosting.
gather your ingredients
- all purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- peanut butter
- I love Jiff for its flavor and texture. Regular creamy pb works best. Natural peanut butter, the kind that separates with an oily layer at the top, doesn’t work as well for baking.
- vegetable oil
- the buttermilk in the cake and in the frosting gives this cake its Southern charm.
- confectioner’s sugar
- baking soda, salt
- vanilla extract
- crushed peanuts
The hot peanut butter frosting is like peanutty caramel, so good
If you’ve tried my Brown Sugar Peach Cake or my Pumpkin Praline Cake, you might have an inkling about this one. The frosting is cooked in a saucepan, and then literally poured right over the cake. It sets up immediately, almost like fudge or caramel. You have to work quickly, but your reward is that saucepan with a thin layer of peanut frosting clinging to the sides…Let’s just say I stood there scraping it with a spoon for an embarrassingly looooong time.
we love caramel
- Pumpkin Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting
- Caramel Frosted Zucchini Pecan Bars
- Salted Caramel Pot de Crème
- Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
- Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
whisk up peanut cake batter right in a saucepan!
The batter is thin enough that you can whisk it up in a saucepan, no mixer or extra bowl needed. That makes this amazing cake dangerously easy to throw together (it could get habit forming.)
the bottom line
The older this site gets, the longer my favorites list gets, but I’m looking you straight in the eye when I say this peanut butter cake is a goodie. You’ll love it, and it will serve you well if you need an easy dessert to bring anywhere this season. The 9×13 cake can serve up to 24 people, right out of the pan. Try it.
“I never bake but I made this for my son’s birthday and my whole family thinks it may be the best cake they ever ate. The frosting is so good, like a peanut butter caramel.
Thanks for a great recipe!!” ~Gerry
Peanut Butter Cake
- standard 9×13 baking pan
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter Note: I used regular peanut butter for this recipe, 'natural'peanut butter does not work as well.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 Tbsp buttermilk, you might need a touch more if your frosting is too stiff
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Heat the butter and water in a medium/large saucepan until it comes to a boil. Take off the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and oil until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until well blended.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the cake on a cooling rack while you make the frosting.
- To make the frosting, put the butter, peanut butter, and buttermilk in a saucepan and bring to a full boil. Take off the heat and beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar, adding a cup at a time, until the frosting is smooth. I like to put it back on a gentle heat just to rewarm it, stirring constantly, before pouring over the cake. Note: if your frosting is very stiff and not pourable, add a little bit more buttermilk to thin it out.
- Pour the hot frosting over the warm cake, working quickly because the frosting sets up immediately. Spread evenly over cake.
- Garnish with peanuts.
- Make it chunky! Yes, of course, go ahead and use chunky PB for this cake. I would still use smooth for the frosting, but that’s your call.
Questions and Reviews
This is the cake Papa requests for every birthday. Thank you for making him so happy!
I hear from a lot of readers that this cake is particularly popular for birthdays!
Will an egg substitute like applesauce work in this recipe?
I haven’t tried that, maybe another reader will chime in here.
This looks delicious and I plan to make it this weekend.
One question: Can I use melted and cooled butter instead of vegetable oil?
That should work Karen. Hope you love it!
I’m curious, I had rather make round layered cakes. Would this recipe work for that also? I’m thinking I would need to double the recipe for frosting, but other that that, has anyone tried this?
The cake would probably work in round pans, but the hot poured frosting would be a challenge!
It was easy to make and tastes delicious. Everyone loved it.
I had 3 people come up to me after I brought this cake to a church dinner telling me it was divine! I enjoyed it too. Easy and delicious, perfect cake to take to an event.