This Peanut Butter Cake recipe is simply THE BEST EVER! But don’t take our word for it, check out all the rave reviews and then experience this cake for yourself!
BEST Peanut Butter Cake Recipe
Before we get to the peanut butter cake recipe, two things: 1) I need more food props, and 2) to quote my husband, “Every time you use the white table cloth and that plant it looks like something out of a 1970’s cookbook.” It’s sadly true. But it doesn’t change the fact that the cake is downright amazing.
Combine points one and two: No more 70’s food pics. Need. More. Food. Props.
But on to the subject of this recipe post: Peanut butter lovers – this is definitely THE cake for you!
Is it good? Oh, it’s good alright. So good that it comes with a warning label: This peanut butter cake is extremely rich. Like if you eat the whole thing in one sitting you may experience cardiac arrest. And we really don’t want that to happen. So eat in moderation only.
I created this cake by way of request from Elizabeth via the Make a Request! link. She asked me if I would create a peanut butter cake that is “moist, peanuty and delicious,” like the kind she enjoyed from her childhood. I didn’t have any more information than that to go on. Sheet cake or layered? Frosting or glaze? Moist crumb or goopey? So many options. At first I was thinking along the lines of a peanut butter layered cake with a hot honey glaze drizzled over it and left to seep down into the cake, resulting in a super moist, slightly goopey texture. Then maybe even add a layer of peanut butter frosting on top. I may still get around to creating that. In the end I settled for the more traditional version: A peanut butter layer cake with a rich peanut butter frosting. I went for oil instead of butter because oil makes cake nice and moist whereas butter tends to dry it out. Buttermilk also does wonders for creating a soft and moist crumb. So we’ve got both in here!
Note: If you want to cut back on calories (and save yourself some work), bake the cake in a 9X13 cake pan as a sheet cake and make half the amount of frosting to go on top (the “death factor” in this cake lies primarily in the frosting).
Also, for an even more moist, “goopier” version, see notes in recipe box. I haven’t actually tried this, merely conceptualized it in my mind, but I think it will work wonderfully 🙂
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How to Make Peanut Butter Cake
Alright, let’s go to that cake!
Combine the brown sugar, oil, and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl.
Beat until combined and add the eggs and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until combined.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, beating just until combined. Do not over-beat or the cake will be dense and dry. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps of flour.
Grease a 9×3 inch round baking pan and pour the batter in. (I used 9×3 – a 9×2 inch pan should be fine, too). I use the hand-forged aluminum pan by Magic Line, made in the USA. Love it!
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out “moist” – not wet with batter, but moist. Be careful not to over-bake or the cake will be dry.
Let the cake sit in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely. The cut the cake in half.
Now let’s make the frosting:
Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Cream the two together until smooth.
Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the heavy cream a little at a time until the frosting becomes a spreadable consistency. Note: This is a fairly stiff frosting. Be sure to keep it at room temperature or will be stiffen even more.
Note: For a chocolate frosting, simply add a couple of tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder.
Spread the bottom half with frosting, frosting down the sides as well.
Place the top layer on top. Ignore the picture. I accidentally put it on wrong and I didn’t want to try and pick it up again. The top cake layer should have been put on upside down so that the top edges don’t slope down.
Spread the frosting on the top layer and down the sides.
This is where you can now become creative with your cake decorating skills. Piping, crumbled up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, you name it. My 3 year old was eagerly waiting for me to take him and his baby sister to Petco to see the animals, so I kept it simple.
Another variation: Pour some chocolate ganache over it for some ultra decadence!
Oh, I forgot to mention. I faced a serious challenge here. You’ll remember from my Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies With Nutella Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting that I absolutely LOVE the combination of peanut butter and Nutella. I probably stood at my kitchen table staring at this jar of Nutella for a good 10 minutes, debating whether or not to add some to the frosting or maybe swirl some into the batter. Or a swirled peanut butter Nutella frosting… Oh, it was so hard deciding what to do! In the end I decided to stick to the classic peanut butter cake. But I mention this because you may decide to add some Nutella – it’s a delicious option.
Simply the best peanut butter cake ever! Check out all the rave reviews in the comments below and then give it a try to experience it for yourself!
BEST Peanut Butter Cake
- For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil , at room temperature or oil of choice (I use coconut oil). Note: Oil yields a moister cake than butter
- 1/3 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (can substitute 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice stirred into it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes then use as recipe directs)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Frosting:
- 1 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (if using regular peanut butter which has lots of sugar in it, cut back a little on the brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 3 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar (can use less if preferred)
- up to 1/2 cup heavy cream , at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, oil, and brown sugar. Beat until combined and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat just until combined.
Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the wet mixture, beating just until combined. Be careful not to over-beat or the cake will be dense and dry. A few small lumps of flour is fine.
- Grease a 9X3 inch round baking pan (I use Magic Line pans). Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out moist (not wet with batter but moist. If the toothpick is dry, the cake is over-baked and will be dry). Let the cake sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To Make the Frosting: In the meantime place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, continuing to beat. Add the heavy cream until you reach a spreadable consistency. (Note: This is a fairly stiff frosting.)
Cut the cooled cake in half horizontally. Frost the bottom half of the cake and down the sides. Place the top layer of the cake, upside down, on top of the bottom layer. Frost the top layer and down the sides.
*Variation: Add Nutella to the frosting
*Another variation: Pour some chocolate ganache over it for ultra decadence!