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
3.5 from 1164 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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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    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
      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
      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
      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
    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
      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
      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
    May 18, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Wonderful recipe. How far ahead can it be made?

    • Reply
      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
      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
      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
      May 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      May 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I wish I could send you some!!

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