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
    October 9, 2021 at 8:13 am

    5 stars
    it is really good

  • Reply
    September 17, 2021 at 7:53 am

    5 stars
    Outstanding recipe. Made it exactly as written, except instead of peanuts on top, I sprinkled a little bit of Maldon salt over the cake. My husband raved. Will be making this again and again. Thank you!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    5 stars
    The cake is delicious have made it twice with 1/3 of the sugar and rite now i have the same cake ahalf size with whole meal flour.

  • Reply
    Louette Uhl
    July 20, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Can you use a bundt pan? What temperature and baking time would you suggest?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 20, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      This cake is much too moist for a bundt pan I’m afraid. It would just get stuck!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    5 stars
    This cake is delicious, and easy. I will certainly be making it again; probably as soon as it’s gone. 😉

  • Reply
    June 26, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    5 stars
    Guys i used Banking powder instead of soda ?? will comment later cake in the making lol

  • Reply
    Chef James
    June 24, 2021 at 11:19 am

    first omit the water double the peanut butter
    eggs are a binder can’t do without or add 3.5 oz. butter, butter is also a binder
    butter milk is an acid its used to aid the baking soda and power to create bubbles also change the baking soda to 1/2 tsp and add 2 tsp baking powder
    no butter milk, add 1/2 tsp lemon or vinegar to milk

  • Reply
    Fiona Fieber
    May 27, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Londoner here, keen to try your cake! I’ve succeeded in working out the corresponding Euro weights and measures but what is ‘peanut butter, not natural’ please?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 27, 2021 at 5:11 am

      I mean regular peanut butter that does not separate in the jar, with a layer of oil on top. Here in the States we have both kinds.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    3 stars
    This cake looked so good, I made it this morning, just after work, I had all ingredients sitting out (except for milk ? and eggs?) and I still forgot the oil, said that to say, it is still surprisingly moist, for those that my want to skip the extra fat. My one tweak is the amount of sugar, I will never use that much sugar again in 1 cake. Other than that it’s very good if you are a PB-OHOLIC like me. ??

  • Reply
    April 23, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    5 stars
    What a yummy cake! Wanted to share a tip for those who have a kitchen scale and hate cleaning peanut butter out of measuring cups. A half cup of peanut butter is 125 grams. I put the empty butter wrapper on top of the scale and plopped the peanut butter right on top of that to weigh, then just tossed the messy wrapper. For this recipe, both the cake and the frosting have a stick of butter and a half cup of peanut butter (how lucky is that?). Makes this dangerously easy recipe even easier!

    • Reply
      May 8, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      I used your tip for the icing! It works wonders! Todah Miriam!

    • Reply
      April 30, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you!

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