Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Double the peanut butter, double the fun.

If you’re not a peanut butter fan, then this is probably not the cake for you. Because with this cake we’re talking about a moist peanut butter crumb topped by a creamy peanut butter frosting topped by a sprinkle of roasted peanuts. That’s like double peanut butter plus actual peanuts, which means it’s the perfect cake for people who love the sweet and salty spread. This cake does the sweet and salty thing justice and it feels like the kind of simple but delicious cake Grandma would have waiting to greet you as soon as you walked in the door.

The batter is a little unique, in that you start by boiling water and butter together before stirring in peanut butter and oil. This makes it much easier to incorporate the peanut butter well.

Once that’s cooled a bit, you whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla…

… and then add it to the dry ingredients…

… before pouring that peanut-y batter into a baking pan.

While it bakes, you put together the frosting, which starts on the stovetop as well. It’s the perfect creamy topping for this cake.

Thanks to the oil, the peanut butter, and the butter, it bakes up moist and peanuts provide a bit of crunch and saltiness. You can skip them, but you’d be missing out if you did.

This isn’t a cake with a contrast of flavors, rather, it’s a pure celebration of peanut butter but the sweet and salty playing off each other keeps it from tasting too one-note. It may be simple but the moist and peanut-y crumb will keep you coming back for bite after bite!

Peanut Butter Cake

Serves 12 Prep 10m  Cook 40m

For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, for topping
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and water until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and oil until smooth.
  4. Let cool 2 minutes, then whisk in eggs, milk, and vanilla until well incorporated.
  5. Add to dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
  6. Set pan on a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting:
  7. To a medium saucepan, add the butter, peanut butter, and milk and bring to a rolling boil.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, followed by powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.
  9. Whisk until smooth, reheating a bit if needed, then pour over cake. If frosting is stiff, add a bit more milk.
  10. Working quickly, spread frosting evenly over cake and top with peanuts. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The View From Great Island.