Peanut Butter Cake sandwiches peanut butter cream cheese frosting between two layers of peanut butter cake. It’s the best cake for peanut butter lovers!
It has been years since I first shared this Peanut Butter Cake recipe, but it will always hold a special place in my heart for two reason.
The first is that Peanut Butter Birthday Cake is a recipe from Joy the Baker’s first cookbook. And it was at her Chicago book signing that I met one of my best girls, Stefanie from Sarcastic Cooking.
I had no way of knowing at that signing, or even when I first shared this recipe, that Stef would become one of my true, fast friends. She quickly went from a blog friend to a real-life friend!
And let me tell you, that’s a special thing in this big Internet world.
Stef and I have both come a long way in the past 7 (!!) years. She even has her first cookbook, Quick Prep Cooking with Your Instant Pot, coming out in April, and I couldn’t be prouder.
The second reason this Peanut Butter Cake is special to me is because I first made it for my then-93-year-old grandpa. Peanut butter was one of his favorite things and he loved this cake.
Grandpa Swope has since passed away (at the age of almost 97!), but I still think of him every time I bake with peanut butter.
PEANUT BUTTER CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
I have to admit that I’m normally not a huge cake person, unless it is Coconut Cake or Angel Food Cake. Honestly, I don’t like frosting that much. It’s usually much too sweet for me and seems to overwhelm the cake.
I am particularly suspicious of cream cheese frosting for some reason.
But this Peanut Butter Cake changed that!
The cake itself is delightfully peanut buttery. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting lends just enough sweetness to balance out the cake (which isn’t very sweet on its own) without taking over the spotlight.
It’s basically a case of cake and frosting working hand-in-hand to make your mouth crazy happy.
HOW TO MAKE A PEANUT BUTTER CAKE
One of the best things about this Peanut Butter Cake recipe is that both the peanut butter and the buttermilk will help keep it tender. They serve as a buffer to keep the cake layers from getting too dry.
Another trick is to fold in the final cake ingredients by hand with a spatula. It is easy to over-mix with an electric mixer!
After the cake layers are baked, allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pans. Remove them from the pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
The peanut butter cream cheese frosting will melt if the cakes are still warm from the oven. Patience pays off here.
When making the frosting, make sure both the cream cheese and the butter are softened before mixing. Beat these two ingredients together for about a minute before adding the peanut butter.
This will help the cream cheese and butter to marry together and keep the frosting from breaking.
Once the cake layers are completely cooled, frost your cake layers with as much frosting as desired!
Make this Peanut Butter Cake. Feed it to your 90-something-year-old grandfather (or your any-year-old person of importance that happens to love peanut butter). It’ll be a hit.
For the peanut butter cake:
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together peanut butter, butter and sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for 1 minute between each addition. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Slowly add all of the buttermilk. When the batter just starts to come together, add the remaining flour mixture, beating on low speed until the mixture just starts to come together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula. (This will prevent you from over-mixing, thus keeping your cake from getting tough!)
- Divide batter between the prepared pans. If you're an uber-nerd (like me) and have a kitchen scale, you can use it to make sure they are of even weights. Bake for 30-45 minutes, rotating pans as needed halfway through to ensure even baking, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
- Cake will last, wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make the frosting:
- Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for about 1 minute, ensuring that it is soft and pliable. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute until thoroughly combined.
- add 1/3 cup of the peanut butter to the bowl. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the salt and powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla. Once everything is almost incorporated, turn the mixer to medium speed and beat until all of the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is velvety soft, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- If using immediately, add in the last 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and fold in with a spatula, leaving streaks of peanut butter throughout. Use immediately to frost cakes or cupcakes.
- If storing for later use, spoon into an airtight container, add peanut butter, swirl into the frosting and store in the fridge until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before frosting cakes or cupcakes.
- Frosting will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
From the Joy The Baker Cookbook
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