Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake




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A slice of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork
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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.


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



Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
Rate this recipe
286 ratings

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 (you might need a touch more if your frosting is too stiff)
  • 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. Note: if your frosting is very stiff and not pourable, add a little bit more buttermilk to thin it out.
  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.

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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136 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenn
    January 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    So excited to try this cake! Just wondering after reading some comments. Should I throw it in the freezer for an hour after baking, and if so is that before or after the frosting gets applied? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 24, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      I don’t put the cake in the freezer at all Jenn, in fact you need to pour the hot frosting over the cake while it is still warm.

  • Reply
    Uco main
    January 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    can you make this in a larger pan? (Like a cake mold)

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 15, 2019 at 4:46 pm

      Do you mean a bundt pan, or something similar? I haven’t tried that but I think it should work.

  • Reply
    Donna Baxter
    January 14, 2019 at 3:52 am

    Can this cake freeze well with the frosting?

  • Reply
    krysta Wolfangel
    January 13, 2019 at 9:11 am

    I am writing this review because this cake is very good as is! If you change nothing, you Wil be happy! However, after a few test runs (3), I realize a few minor changes make the cake *subjectively* better.
    I made this cake for my dad’s 66th birthday. I made 3 “very very mini” test batches in the days before. The moistest cake was achieved with all brown sugar, heaping measurements of peanut butter and flipping the amounts of water and buttermilk. The flour was measured with the “spoon and sweep method”.
    The cake was removed from the oven when a fork inserted in the center was moist (not dough, but moisture). I then put the whole cake in the freezer immediately to cool it down completely, about an hour. Anyway, the cake is moist and while the peanut butter flavor is mild, the cake wa’ll is perfect paired with peanut butter buttercream. Yum!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2019 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Krysta ~ I’ve done that freezer method with cakes before, it’s an interesting one!

  • Reply
    Joyce
    January 6, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This is the second best cake that I have ever eaten. The best is a 5 ingredient chocolate flourless cake. I left off the peanuts but thought that peanuts would be good in the frosting. I was thinking that adding chopped peanuts in the frosting would be good, but then ,I thought that the saltiness of the peanuts on the top when sprinkled on top would be a great surprise for the palate. This cake recipe is definately a keeper.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 6, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Thanks so much for coming back to let us know Joyce! Now I need that flourless cake recipe!!

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