Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

A slice of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake is a good old Southern potluck staple that’s reached cult status. The hot peanutty frosting gets poured right onto the warm cake, and the whole thing gets showered with roasted peanuts. Just divine.

A piece of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

This old fashioned peanut butter cake is a winner!

In case you’ve ever wondered, the ratio of attempted recipes to those that actually make it onto the blog is about 3 to 1. That’s to say that for every winner there are a few losers. Today’s lucky winner is an amazing peanut butter cake that has been taunting me from a magazine clipping on my refrigerator door for months. I finally tackled it and now I’m a happy girl.

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.

Overhead photo of old fashioned peanut butter cake in pan

gather your ingredients:

  • all purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • peanut butter ~ I love Jiff for its flavor and texture
  • butter
  • eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • buttermilk ~ 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


A piece of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

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.

old fashioned peanut butter cake in pan

The batter for this easy cake gets whisked together right in a saucepan.

The batter is thin enough that you can whisk it up in a saucepan, no mixer needed. That makes this amazing cake dangerously easy to throw together.

The older this blog gets, the longer my favorites list gets, but I’m looking you straight in the eye when I say this 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.

A slice of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork


Reader Rave ~

“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. We are die-hard peanut butter fans so perhaps we are biased-but regardless the cake was divine! The frosting is so good, like a peanut butter caramel.
Thanks for a great recipe!!” ~Gerry

A slice of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork
3.51 from 1170 votes

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

A good old fashioned peanut butter sheet cake with a crazy good warm frosting!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 24 servings
Calories 343kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick, or 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 stick, or 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
  • Spray a 9x13 pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt 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.

Cook's notes

  • 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.


Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 373IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Rachael P
    May 23, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    5 stars
    Best peanut butter cake ever….my son in law and his dad, have requested it for their birthdays every year since I started making it. It never lasts more than one day at our house!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    5 stars
    I made this on Mother’s Day as dessert for the big meal I made at my Mom’s house. Everybody loved it! I used mini chocolate chips because my step-father and mother do not do nuts (false teeth) and it was a great substitute.
    I put them on while the frosting was warm so they melted ever so slightly but didn’t totally turn into blobs.
    For some reason, I read “baking powder” instead of “baking soda” and used baking powder that day. (I had a lot going on so I probably wasn’t paying enough attention.) But, the baking powder version was terrific! I have another in the oven now, this time with baking soda. Don’t know how it could be better than what I made before, but curious. Thank you for a great, decadent recipe!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    5 stars
    Made this today for my son’s birthday. Because I wanted to construct it as a bar cake with chocolate mousse filling between the layers, I wanted a less-dense, less-moist cake, So I made a few changes:

    1. Cut the sugar to 1 c.
    2. Nixed the buttermilk and used a heaping 1/2 c of Zoi Greek Honey yogurt
    3. Cut the water to 3/4 c
    4. Used a heaping 1/2 c of PB
    5. Used 1/3 c of oil
    6. Skipped the cooked frosting

    I spread it in a parchment-lined 11×15 in bar pan, and baked it for 25 minutes. The end result is a deliciously soft, light cake that’s about 1/3” thick and will hold up BEAUTIFULLY when stacked. This recipe is fantastically easy to adapt to fit a variety of needs!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 11, 2022 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks for the great adaptation Kerri 🙂

  • Reply
    Susan S
    May 5, 2022 at 11:02 am

    5 stars
    I am not a big peanut butter fan but this cake, oh my goodness, it is delicious. I have made it twice in a month and it has been a hit at both dinner parties. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 7:35 am

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness.. One of the BEST!! I made recently for my Son in Law’s birthday and it was A HIT!! Loved the ease of making this, quick and simple! The cake is beyond moist and not too sweet, but full of wonderful deliciousness! Its a keeper! Followed the directions to a “T”.

  • Reply
    Chaitra kashi
    April 21, 2022 at 5:24 am

    Hey what can I substitute for eggless

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 21, 2022 at 9:02 am

      Maybe try one of the new egg substitutes from Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur flour, they’ve gotten good reviews.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    4 stars
    Made this cake for Easter and it got rave reviews. Tempting and tasty, loved it.

  • Reply
    Sally Salter
    April 12, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    Can this recipe be halved and made in a square pan?

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