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

In case you’ve ever wondered, the ratio of attempted recipes to those that actually make it onto the blog is about 1 to 1.  That’s to say that for every winner there’s a loser.  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.

Overhead photo of old fashioned peanut butter cake in pan

I can’t imagine there are too many of you out there who wouldn’t enjoy this peanut butter 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.

But can we talk about that frosting?

A piece of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

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

Another nice thing about this old fashioned peanut butter cake?  The batter is thin enough that you can whisk it up in a bowl, no mixer needed.

A slice of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

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.   So good.

*recipe from Our State magazine

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Category: dessert, snack

Yield: serves 24

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (not natural)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    frosting
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
    garnish
  • roasted peanuts, about 1/2 cup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Spray a 9x13 pan.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. Heat the butter and water in a small 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.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Pour the hot frosting over the warm cake, working quickly because the frosting sets up immediately. Spread evenly over cake.
  9. Garnish with peanuts.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/old-fashioned-peanut-butter-cake/

Make it your own ~

  • 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.

 

 

don’t forget to pin this old fashioned peanut butter cake

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Elaine Wilson
    May 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Sue….two comments

    Due to an allergy to peanuts, I am going to substitute cashews; I think the slight sweetness of the cashews would be just delicious

    The words “Old-fashioned” and the piece of cake placed on that lovely crocheted doily are a delightful example of your creative photography.

    Thanks for your blog and for it being a fun spot in my emails!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Cashew butter would be such a fun twist on this cake Elaine, love that!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    May 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    I love that peanut butter frosting, what a dreamy cake! Please save me a slice :)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 18, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Schmakalaka! That’s what my mom would say when something was crazy delicious. This cake looks crazy delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      I know that’s the highest praise coming from you Chris :) My mom used to say “bully good!”

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    May 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Oh I haven’t had this in years…way too many to think about. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply
    Marj
    May 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Why do you not recommend using natural peanut butter? Is it because it is typically thicker? It sounds ridiculously yummy! I am going to make this for my daughter’s shower – if it doesn’t get eaten by me before it makes it there.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Hey Marj ~ I usually don’t recommend natural peanut butter for baking because it separates and tends to be oily no matter how much you stir it. You could certainly give it a try.

  • Reply
    sandra D Joliet
    May 18, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I’ve actually never heard of this before and my Mom is from the South. Her favorite cake is similar where you pour the hot frosting over it…..it sounds awful but I was shocked at how good it was. It’s prune cake. Yeah, I know how it sounds. It is super rich though and I can’t eat a lot at one time. I will have to give recipe a go.

  • Reply
    Glenda
    May 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Hello. What do you mean by ‘not natural’ peanut butter. Also, could you please give us measurements for things like butter in grams? It is so complicated to measure butter in a cup. Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      I recommend against the natural because it tends to be oily and runny, Glenda, and the consistency can throw off a recipe.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    May 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I haven’t even tried it and I know it’s a keeper! I know this cake will soon have a place in our house!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    May 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Any chance you could provide the nutritional info for your recipes? It would be most helpful. Thanks. And the recipe for the peanut butter cake looks yummy!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      I’m working on that Kathy, there are so many kinks in most of the apps I’ve tried, but I’ll have it available on all my recipes soon.

  • Reply
    Angela McDarren
    May 18, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I will certainly be making this. Love all your cake recipes. However it doesn’t say when to add the dry ingredients. .

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Hi Angela! So glad you’ll be trying this–let me know how it turns out! I just fixed the recipe instructions so it should be all clear now. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Theresa P.
    May 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Hi Sue, this looks amazing! can’t wait to try this recipe. from reading the recipe it says to combine the flour,sugar,baking soda, and salt and set aside. but it does Not tell you when to add them in. can you please clarify when to add these ingredients??? Thanks, for sharing. appreciate all you do.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Hi Theresa, I just fixed this in the recipe! You add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and just whisk it all together.

  • Reply
    Karly
    May 18, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Reminds me of Texas sheet cake just a peanut butter version! I’m sure this is a crowd pleaser!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      I almost made this as a sheet cake Karly, but to tell you the truth I like it this way better…the pieces are bigger :)

  • Reply
    Lynn A
    May 18, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Hi, Sue! This is something I want to try! My former mother-in-law used to make a peanut butter cake that was awesome, but she’d never give the recipe! LOL Anyway, I’m not sure, from reading the recipe, when to add in the dry ingredients? Should they just be dumped in at the end and mixed in? Thanks for clarifying!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Hi Lynn, thanks for the catch! I just fixed the recipe. You just add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in one go and whisk until combined. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    tucsonbabe
    May 18, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Sue,
    Wonderful recipe. How far ahead can it be made?

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Thanks! I would say you could make this a day or so in advance. I wouldn’t go much further than that so the frosting stays fresh.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 18, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I have never had a peanut butter cake and now I’m feeling like I’ve truly missed out! Will be trying this :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

      I hope you do!! It really is delicious.

  • Reply
    averie @ averie cooks
    May 18, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I love that there’s oil, butter, and peanut butter in this cake – talk about super moist! And the frosting looks dreamy! Saw it on Foodgawker :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Good point! There’s no way you’re going to end up with a dry cake with that trifecta :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 18, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Well I’m absolutely drooling but just finished breakfast! Warm peanut butter frosting – oh my. This truly is divine!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Tricia! It definitely doesn’t get much better than warm peanut butter frosting

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    May 18, 2018 at 3:21 am

    It’s almost lunch time over here and I am waiting for my delivery to arrive any minute. Slice of this one would make my lunch / day complete Sue :-) Or maybe several slices …..

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I wish I could send you some!!

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