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.


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 (you might need a touch more if your frosting is too stiff)
  • 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. 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.
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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70 Comments

  • Reply
    Coleen
    July 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I wanted to try this before using it for a big group, made an 11″x7″ pan and halved the recipe. All I can say is YUM, I loved the batter (of course I taste test batters) and I am eating hot cake right now, couldn’t wait. How have I missed this all my peanut butter loving life?!

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Haha, I’m all for giving recipes a ‘test run’ Coleen, enjoy!

  • Reply
    Amy
    July 6, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Can you do this for cupcakes? If so, 12 or 24? Also, I use all natural peanut butter without sugar, should I add extra sugar to be safe?

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 6, 2018 at 9:57 am

      I think this should work for cupcakes, Amy, and it will make 24, I’m guessing, but watch the cooking time. No need to add extra sugar if you use natural pb.

      • Reply
        Amy
        July 6, 2018 at 10:21 am

        Thank you so much! I’ll let you know the results with timing!

  • Reply
    Judith A Griffiths
    July 5, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I made the cake yesterday for 4th of July dinner. It was fabulous. Followed recipe exactly, baked it in glass 9×13 pan for 40 minutes, and it came out of the oven looking scrumptious. Wow, what a great recipe. Thanks so much.

  • Reply
    DeAn Eddy
    July 4, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    I made this cake today for a 4th of July party and it had great reviews! I made it in a cookie sheet with sides like a sheet cake. I think I’ll adjust the measurements a little to make more batter for both the cake and the frosting. Any suggestions if you’ve already done that? What would you say is the cook time. I did 35 min and it was too long.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    June 30, 2018 at 4:47 am

    I made this last week and it was great. I really like all your recipes but some are over the top.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 30, 2018 at 5:50 am

      Thanks Charlotte, I’m so glad you liked it :)

  • Reply
    Susan
    June 28, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Does the cake need to be refrigerated?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 28, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      I tend to leave cakes out for a day or two, and then refrigerate.

  • Reply
    Berni
    June 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Guess what I’m making tonight for a birthday here are work tomorrow? Yes, they all want the peanut butter cake!

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 28, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Haha, you’re becoming famous for it Berni!

  • Reply
    Marj
    June 26, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Sue – You must stop posting that Peanut Butter Cake recipe! I’m salivating over it and haven’t made it yet because we are in hot summer weather here and I don’t want to heat the house! It looks amazing!
    Oh. by the way…I’ve made the Bourbon meatballs several times and they are a smashing hit each time with family members and shower guests! Mmmm-mmm! ….Marj.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Sorry to tempt you Marj!

  • Reply
    Berni
    June 25, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I have been told, by my family, not to show up at 4th of July outing without this cake. Yep.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 25, 2018 at 7:32 am

      LOVE it :) Have a wonderful holiday Berni.

      • Reply
        Sue
        June 25, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        I used your line in my facebook posts today :)

  • Reply
    Gloria Smeltzer
    June 23, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Do refrigerate this cake after its done

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 25, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      I love the texture of the frosting when it’s refrigerated.

  • Reply
    Liz
    June 23, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Can we use just regular milk ? I never have any other use for buttermilk and our store just carries the quart size.

  • Reply
    Joan
    June 23, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Can you use almond flour? or any gluten free flour?
    i can smell the cake in my dreams. thanks
    Joan

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 23, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Haha, I know just what you mean about those dreams…I haven’t made this with gf flour, but I would suggest a good baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill to start.

  • Reply
    Berni
    May 30, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I made this for memorial day family gathering and I was told this is the new favorite and they want me to make it all the time, lol! The recipe smells so delish as you are preparing it, I loved it! Thanks Sue!

    • Reply
      Berni
      May 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Oh and I used Skippy, worked great!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 30, 2018 at 8:22 am

      I’m truly thrilled, Berni, and I should have mentioned that about the smell, it smells amazing at every step of the way, doesn’t it?

      • Reply
        Berni
        May 30, 2018 at 8:33 am

        My friend came over to help and learn and when she walked in I had the peanut butter with all the other ingredients in the sauce pan and she was like “oh wow what is that smell! I’m drooling.” I know! Then making the frosting, wow! It was just amazing pouring it over the cake. I was looking forward to licking the whisk, she grabbed the sauce pan! She loves your recipes as well. Thanks Sue, I look forward to receiving my recipes all the time.

  • Reply
    jenny andrews anderson
    May 24, 2018 at 5:40 am

    hi! quick question…did the peanut butter you used have sugar in it? thanks. i’m making this tomorrow for a party.
    jenny

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 24, 2018 at 5:50 am

      I use Jiff, which does contain sugar Jenny. I think they make a low sugar version, too. You can use any peanut butter you like, but if you use a natural kind you’ll need to make sure it’s really well stirred.

      • Reply
        jenny andrews anderson
        May 26, 2018 at 2:08 pm

        thanks. i did use natural peanut butter. i just dumped the whole jar into the food processor. it worked great. and the cake was really good.

  • Reply
    grace
    May 23, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    i’m obsessed with peanut butter goodies these days and i’ll be making this one next!

  • Reply
    christine
    May 21, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Slight typo in your recipe. You neglect to say add the dry ingredients before pouring batter into the pan. I figured it out though :) I replaced roasted nuts with chocolate chips. Divine.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 21, 2018 at 10:22 am

      We fixed that, thanks Christine ~ and I love your chocolatey twist!!

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