Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

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My old fashioned peanut butter cake recipe is a classic cake perfect for peanut butter lovers and has peanut butter baked right into the batter and whipped into the frosting!

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

Peanut butter cake was one of the very first cake recipes I made from scratch. My first memory of making this cake was while we were newlyweds, but eating this cake came first… this was the bottom tier of our wedding cake (the middle tier was almond cake, the top tier key lime!) When I searched for a peanut butter cake recipe shortly after our wedding to try out, I came across an “award winning” peanut butter cake on PeanutButterLovers.com. It used shortening and didn’t have quite as much peanut butter as I wanted, but it seemed a good starting place. So I swapped butter for shortening, messed with maybe 1 more thing, and made the cake. Not only was it a hit, a friend requested it for a potluck party a few months later! Talk about a vote of confidence for this novice cake baker! 

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

I kept using the recipe with my own little changes from time to time, until one day I went to look for it, and it was gone. The website had no record of this cake, and an internet search yielded plenty of peanut butter cake recipes, but not that recipe. It’s been years and I’m still a bit sad every time I think about it. Thankfully, I remembered the general gist of the recipe, and I’d become a far more confident “from scratch” cake baker, so I worked it out, and created my own based on the memory of that cake, to share with you. Never fear darlings, I don’t plan to take down this site anytime in the foreseeable future… I don’t think I could bear to see my “go to” peanut butter cake recipe disappear twice!

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

This is a very old fashioned cake recipe. I call it old fashioned because it is oh so slightly dry, but this is part of the charm. It’s not a chalky dry, don’t worry about that, it’s that old-school “cake they serve at the church bake sale that’s someone’s great great grandmother’s recipe” texture. I’ve found that Southern cake recipes are either really moist, or have the texture of this cake. It’s almost comforting. The cake texture works well because it pairs beautifully with the frosting, which is a masterpiece on its own.

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

I really really love this frosting actually. It’s a basic buttercream with just a few ingredients,  but the balance between the butter, sugar, and peanut butter is so addicting! It’s also a very forgiving frosting for beginner bakers because it’s thick. This doesn’t spread super easily because of the peanut butter. It’s almost patched onto the cake, but it sets quickly so you can easily smooth out any lumps and bumps with a bit of wax paper and a fondant smoother, or a very smooth paper towel (Viva brand has a smooth finish on some of their towels).

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 2-layer 8" round cake
Ingredients
Peanut Butter Cake
  • 1½ cups (320 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces, 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (135 g) smooth peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (99 g) oil (vegetable, canola, avocado, any neutral oil)
  • 1½ cups (672 g) buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups (480 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 3 sticks (12 oz, 339 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup (178 g) smooth peanut butter
  • 5 cups (568 g) sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F (177 C, gas mark 4). Butter and line two 8" round baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter in a mixing bowl on medium speed for about 1 minute until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add ⅓ to the peanut butter mixture, add half the buttermilk, another ⅓ of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last bit of the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a tester comes out clean and the center of the cake lightly springs back when touched.
  6. Allow the cakes to set in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. In a clean mixing bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the vanilla extract. Stir in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping after each addition. The frosting is naturally rather thick, but if you need to thin it, add a little heavy cream.
  3. Decorate your cake and enjoy!

 

This is the cake for peanut butter lovers! Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting! * GoodieGodmother.com

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18 Comments on Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake

  1. Jasmine Green
    November 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm (5 months ago)

    I just have a quick question. Although this recipe seems very easy, i am a make a cake from box person. I have so much cooking to do during holidays and on a regular basis. If i use a regular yellow cake mix and add the peanut butter fo you think it will still come out good.

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      November 22, 2016 at 8:59 pm (5 months ago)

      I can’t vouch for that because box mix cakes have different ratios and ingredients and it’s been years since I’ve used a box mix. You might want to search for doctored box mix recipes to see if others have tried something similar. That being said, I have found that the time difference between making a cake from a box and measuring out the ingredients to be negligible. Best wishes on your holiday baking!

      Reply
  2. Heather
    November 9, 2016 at 9:39 pm (6 months ago)

    I have a quick question. I’m making a cake a birthday cake for my sister-in-law. She requested a peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting. This recipe looks perfect. I was wondering if you thought the frosting would tint well to a blue color (making a dolphin cake). I really don’t want to use fondant if I don’t have to. From the pictures, the buttercream looks like a light tan color. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      November 10, 2016 at 9:58 am (6 months ago)

      I think that if you use a gel you should be able to get a lovely blue color in the frosting. It is a very light tan and not dark enough to prevent the use of color as long as you aren’t trying for something super light like yellow. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Katelyn
    November 7, 2016 at 8:04 am (6 months ago)

    Really great recipe. I loved making this cake!

    Reply
  4. Kimberly R McDaniel
    November 6, 2016 at 11:42 am (6 months ago)

    Going to try this cake recipe for Thanksgiving ….. My son loves these cakes!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  5. Lindsey Dishman
    October 28, 2016 at 2:26 pm (6 months ago)

    I’m making this cake right now! As I was making it I noticed the recipe doesn’t say when to add the oil so I just added it after the eggs. Also my batter was really thick and I was wondering if it was supposed to be that thick?! Thanks

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      October 31, 2016 at 11:42 am (6 months ago)

      You guessed correctly and I’m going to fix that right now. 🙂 Thanks! The cake batter is very thick, when I scoop it into cupcakes it even looks more like ice cream, but it always turns out. I hope you enjoyed!

      Reply
  6. Tracy Gaffney
    October 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm (6 months ago)

    This looks delicious! I don’t see where it says to add the oil in the directions. Do you add it with the butters and sugar?

    Reply
  7. Brian Jones
    October 5, 2016 at 2:23 am (7 months ago)

    I’m not much of a cake dude but never tried peanut butter cake and love peanut butter, may have to have baking session some time soon!

    Reply
  8. Byron Thomas
    October 4, 2016 at 10:47 am (7 months ago)

    Oh, come on, Mary! You know I’m trying to watch my girlish figure. 😉
    I’d throw the towel in though for a big slice of this cake. YUMMO!

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      October 4, 2016 at 11:43 pm (7 months ago)

      If you pair it with milk, there’s a good amount of protein in there, so it’s kind of like a protein shake, right? hahaha I can justify anything. #badinfluence

      Reply
  9. Meaghan | Cook. Craft. Love.
    October 4, 2016 at 1:20 am (7 months ago)

    When I was home in May my mom requested this cake as soon as I told her it was up on your blog. It was so moist unlike an old family recipe I’ve been messing with for ages. LOVED it!

    Reply
  10. Nicole @Little Blog on the Homestead
    May 29, 2016 at 11:30 am (11 months ago)

    I love peanut butter, so I will definitely be making this cake. And because I’m addicted to chocolate and peanut butter combo I might try it with my fudge frosting! Because yum!

    Reply

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