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
    March 31, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Has anyone tried making this in smaller form? So a 9” circle or square pan, or even cupcakes? If so are there any modifications about time or temp I should be aware of?

    • Reply
      April 5, 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Yes. 3/4 full for 20 minutes. Use her PB buttercream icing though.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2021 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    How would you alter icing to pipe on cupcakes?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 28, 2021 at 11:33 am

      I would make a regular peanut butter buttercream for piping. I have a peanut butter frosting recipe here.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2021 at 2:38 pm

      I made cupcakes for bridal shower. 3/4 full about 20 min. Used her PB buttercream and it was amazing.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2021 at 2:43 am

    5 stars
    Best recipe ever my family loved it
    The flavour just takes your breath away

  • Reply
    March 7, 2021 at 6:16 am

    5 stars
    Made this today and we had it for breakfast. It is so good! Never made a peanut butter cake before, and this was so easy to make and really tasty. I used 1 cup sugar in cake and 2 cups powdered sugar for frosting. It was still very sweet, moist, and delicious! My 3 yr old who said she hates peanut butter loved the cake, especially the frosting 🙂 We had it warm and can’t wait to try it cooled down too. Thanks for another great recipe, Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 7, 2021 at 7:19 am

      For breakfast? Nice way to start the day 🙂 Thanks Marisa.

    • Reply
      Mary McConnell
      March 7, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Oh, my goodness. This cake is SO delicious!! My husband raved and said that I can put that icing on any cake I make….which made me think that the next time I make Texas Sheet cake, its going to have peanut butter icing. So, so good!!!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Made this cake with about 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar, and natural peanut butter. Also when we made the buttermilk / water quantity swap suggested above. It was absolutely delicious, and my family who likes their sweet things sweet thought it was sweet enough. For the frosting I did quarter cup of butter, half cup of peanut butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar with the salt and vanilla and it turned out great. We may have added some chopped up chocolate chips along with the peanuts on top to go with the fun Sahara animals to decorate for my nephews birthday. Thanks for the great recipe. This is totally a keeper.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    5 stars
    I made this cake today after reading the wonderful comments. It did not disappoint. I loved the slightly dense texture and was glad it could be made in a bowl without getting out my mixer. I wouldn’t change a thing and will definitely make again.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2021 at 10:45 am

    5 stars
    I made it. We loved it!!
    I sent half to our daughter’s family. They loved it too.
    When we had eaten it all, both families were sad. I will definitely make this cake again… SOON.
    It is now a new favorite.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 2, 2021 at 2:57 pm

      Nothing makes me happier Camille 🙂

  • Reply
    March 2, 2021 at 6:43 am

    5 stars
    This is the number one cake in my family and friends at work for the last 2 years. The blackberry bars are a very close second. I love your recipes. The bread one is next this week, for sure! Thank you Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 2, 2021 at 7:40 am

      Yay Bernice, so glad it’s become a yummy part of your life.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    5 stars
    AMAZING recipe. Made this cake Saturday night(was gone before Sunday night), making again Monday night. Everyone loved this cake!

  • Reply
    Lita Davis
    February 13, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    5 stars
    Fantastic cake! I’ve made it twice!

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