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Peanut Butter Cake

My dad’s birthday was in March. When I was really young, my mom would often make him a peanut butter cake. Just for fun, one year she put a big red, twisted taper candle right smack dab in the center of the cake. That was impressive!

After I took a cake decorating class as a teenager, Dad had his heart set on me baking him a 5-layer cake with peanut butter frosting. I was not too pleased with the far from stellar results, but it was BIG, and it was peanut butter, so dad was happy.

As I look back, I realize my dad was quite a peanut butter fan. He was famous for peanut butter and jelly milk shakes and once he even ordered a peanut butter and jelly omelet at a restaurant.

Last year, with quarantine restrictions in place at the care home in which he lived, family wasn’t allowed to gather and celebrate his birthday.  But that didn’t keep me from baking a cake at home on his behalf.

And this peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting was the obvious choice. It did the honors nicely and is a special nod to my dad as I think back on happy memories.

If you have peanut butter lovers in your life, you’ll have to make this cake. It’s easy, it’s moist and it’s sure to please. To make them twice as happy, or to feed a crowd, double the recipe and put it in a 10 x 15-inch pan.

Not into peanut butter? Check out this easy recipe for Lemon Sheet cake (with a bright, zesty lemon glaze!). Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try out this recipe for Molten Lava Cakes for a delicious chocolate fix.

Step by step Overview:

Whisk the dry ingredients together. We want these to be ready so we can quickly mix them into the cake batter later on.

preparing dry ingredients for the cake

Choose a medium sized saucepan. The entire cake batter will end up in this pan so make sure it’s large enough to accommodate! Put your butter and water into the pan over medium-high heat.

melting butter in saucepan

Once the butter is melted you’ll bring the mixture to a boil then remove from heat and whisk in your peanut butter and oil.

stirring peanut butter and oil into melted butter and water

Next, whisk in your egg, buttermilk and vanilla beating until well combined.

adding egg, buttermilk and vanilla

Remember those dry ingredients? Time to add them to the mix. Stir everything together until combined.

adding dry ingredients to cake batter

Then pour the batter into your baking dish and bake. This cake bakes for about 25 minutes. Home ovens are notorious for being slightly (or not so slightly!) off in temperature and this will definitely effect baking times! It’s always a good idea to start with less time than called for on a recipe and then add more time as needed. You’ll know this peanut butter cake is done when a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

cake batter in pan ready to bake

While the cake is still in the oven, you’ll want to make your frosting because you want to pour the warm frosting over the hot cake. Got that?

Put your butter, peanut butter and buttermilk into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

making the frosting with peanut butter buttermilk and butter

Remove from the heat, beat in your vanilla and stir in your powdered sugar a little bit at a time beating until smooth between each addition. If the frosting gets too thick to pour over the cake, add a little more buttermilk until it’s the right consistency.

stirring the powdered sugar into the peanut butter frosting a little at a time

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the warm frosting over the top immediately and spread evenly.

spreading the warm frosting over the hot peanut butter cake

Finish the cake off with a small handful of chopped peanuts.

peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting and chopped peanuts

Peanut Butter Cake

Michele McFie
This Peanut Butter Cake is easy, moist and sure to please any peanut butter lovers in your life.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 people


  • stove
  • oven



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup peanuts chopped, for garnish



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x9 baking dish and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, soda and salt together. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan bring butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and oil. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat well.
  • Stir dry ingredients into saucepan and stir just until combined.
  • Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Prepare frosting while cake is finishing baking.


  • Melt butter, peanut butter and buttermilk together in a saucepan, then bring to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla.
  • Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time beating until smooth.*
  • Pour the warm frosting over the hot cake and spread evenly. Garnish with chopped peanuts.


* If the frosting gets too thick, add more buttermilk until it's thin enough to pour over the cake.
Keyword baking, cake, peanut butter

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