Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

This Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake is a true southern favorite. Moist and flavorful, it’s topped with rich peanut butter glaze.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

I served this cake at our Mother’s Day brunch this year. After the first bite, my mom immediately wanted to know where I got the recipe. It was familiar. No wonder – it’s one of those southern mainstays that makes the rounds in community and church cookbooks. I found it in the latter, although I had never heard of – or attended – the church that produced it. Someone must have gifted the book to me long ago.

The cake is loaded with peanut butter flavor but it’s not overwhelming. Yes – it’s rich. However, lighter than you might expect. My mother-in-law, who has food allergies was tempted enough to have just one bite. Her mother used to make this cake. When she tasted it and closed her eyes, I could see the flavor was a fond memory.

Peanut butter cake batter.

To get started, all of the dry ingredients go into a big bowl, including the sugar. In baking, sugar is considered a wet ingredient because it liquifies in the oven, but – we’ll call it dry here, just this once. Whisk everything together and set aside.

Next, put a whole cup of butter, water, and just 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter into a saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil on the stove top. When the mixture boils, pour it into the flour mixture and combine it using a hand mixer. Low speed works best. Mix it until just combined and set aside.

Mix together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in a large measuring cup, and then add it to the peanut butter batter. Beat until everything is well combined and consistent. The batter will be a little viscous and syrupy.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Bake until golden.

Pour the cake batter into a greased 13×9 inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. My cake took about 35 minutes. But you’ll know it’s done when the exterior is deep brown and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut butter fudge glaze.

Cool the cake for about 10 minutes before adding the glaze. And. Oh my goodness gracious. The glaze really tastes like peanut butter fudge. To make it, boil butter, peanut butter, and milk, on stove top. Then removed to cool slightly. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Because both cake and glaze are warm, the glaze spreads into a thin even layer on the cake. It’s the perfect amount of sweet.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Add some toppings – or don’t!

I served this cake without any extra toppings the first time I made it, but for this blog post I added some crushed peanut butter cookies (Nutter Butters). And a few honey roasted peanuts. It’s good both ways! If you decide to add some toppings, be sure to get those on there as soon as the glaze is poured because it sets up quickly!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

It’s hard to believe this cake has only 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter in the cake batter, and another 1/4 cup in the frosting. Yep, just 1/2 cup total peanut butter in the whole cake. This amount imparts bold flavor without making the cake heavy or too thick. It’s just so good, and it stays moist for days at room temperature. My husband’s favorite way to eat it is heated in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream. Which I had to try for myself, and I must say – it is really nice.

Related recipe: Peanut Butter Pie

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

Heather Baird
This peanut butter cake is a southern favorite. It has bold peanut butter flavor without being heavy or too sweet. The peanut butter glaze has just the right sweetness, and tastes like peanut butter fudge.
I found this recipe in a church cookbook, with the author’s note: “I made this for a church get-together and had many requests for the recipe…so will you!” (So cute!)
I added some crushed peanut butter cookies and honey roasted peanuts on top of this cake, but these toppings are optional. The cake is quite good without them.
The cake is baked in a 13×9 inch dish; however, you can also bake it as a 15×10 inch sheet cake. See the recipe notes for these instructions.
4.34 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • 1 13×9 inch baking dish

Ingredients
 
 

Peanut butter cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter such as Jif
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut butter glaze

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter such as Jif
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 16 oz. box
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 Nutter Butter peanut butter cookies optional
  • 2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts optional

Instructions
 

Peanut butter cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Combine the butter, water, and peanut butter in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. When the mixture boils, pour it into the flour mixture. Beat together using a hand mixer on low speed until just combined.
  • In a separate bowl or large liquid measure, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the peanut butter batter and mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is well browned and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Remove to a cooling rack and let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the peanut butter glaze.

Peanut butter glaze

  • Combine the butter, peanut butter, and milk in a saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture boils, stirring occasionally. When the mixture boils, remove it from the heat and mix in the confectioners’ sugar using an electric hand mixer. Add the vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and lump-free. Pour the glaze over the warm cake and spread evenly. Add toppings immediately, if using.
  • Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. This cake stays moist for days after making it.

Notes

Toppings: If adding toppings to the cake, have them ready to hand right after pouring the glaze on the cake. The glaze sets quickly, and if you wait too long, the toppings won’t stick.
Sheet cake version: Use a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan in which to bake the cake batter. Reduce the bake time to 15-20 minutes. Glaze as directed. This version is sometimes called “Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake”. The cake is good baked both ways, but my family prefers the fluffier 13×9 inch version.
Keyword creamy peanut butter, old fashioned peanut butter cake, peanut butter cake batter, peanut butter glaze, peanut butter sheet cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Pamela
Pamela
1 year ago

Can this possibly be baked and assembled as a layer cake or would the issue that its a glaze used on the cake, at least before I create one this is what it seems like, and wouldn’t work well as frosting between layers or to cover the side of the cake? I would rather check now instead of trying it and then it becomes a disaster and all those ingredients and time are all wasted because it isn’t fit to take anywhere. Thanks

Jesse-Gabriel
Jesse-Gabriel
1 year ago

5 stars
Erdnussbutter geht immer, morgens, mittags und auch abends.
Ich werde den Kuchen nach backen aber nur 250 Gramm Zucker für den Kuchen verwenden. Auch den Puderzucker werde ich reduzieren.
Viele Grüße,
Jesse-Gabriel

Jodie
Jodie
11 months ago

2 stars
The subtle peanutbutter flavor of this cake was nice but the iced cake was way too sweet for us.

Latoya Bessant
10 months ago

4 stars
This peanut butter glazed peanut butter cake sounds absolutely scrumptious! It’s definitely going on my to do list. I may just add less sugar, though..

Lauri
Lauri
4 months ago

It was good. Just wanted to mention that the vanilla in the glaze was omitted in the instructions.