Peanut Butter Cake

The last few days have been completely taken over by math.  Matrices haunt my dreams, I’m constantly running through proofs and derivations, and I’m sort of accepting the fact that number theory is way over my head.  This stupid test is in two weeks and I can’t wait to have my life back.

When I wasn’t studying this week, I was out with the fam.  We went to a LOT of restaurants, and kept Ellie out past her bedtime more than once.  Oops.

Good thing she inherited my ability to sleep just about anywhere.

Having family around means that desserts don’t last long (and that’s a good thing), so I jumped at the chance to try a cake Mike had been eyeing in Joy the Baker’s cookbook.

I was a tiny bit hesitant about this cake.  The last time I tried to bake with peanut butter (making something other than cookies), it was a big fat fail.  I tried to make a peanut butter banana bread but it was dense and gritty and unpleasant.   That was three years ago.  Ever since then I figured baking with peanut butter should be left to cookies.  I should have known Joy wouldn’t mess it up, though.  This cake has a nice, light crumb with the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor.

I frosted it with a basic peanut butter buttercream, and it was divine.  I think the only thing that might have made it better would be some sliced bananas in between the cake layers.  I’m definitely going to do that next time.  Maybe to celebrate being done with my ridiculous math test!

Peanut Butter Cake


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • Frosting
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tbsp milk (as needed)


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 F with racks in the top and middle third of the oven.
  2. Grease two 8" cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the butter, sugars, and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  6. Add half the flour mixture and mix on low just until all traces of flour disappear. Add the buttermilk and continue to mix on low.
  7. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Remove the paddle attachment and stir gently with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated.
  8. Divide among the cake pans and bake for 15 minutes, then switch the pans to opposite racks and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
  10. Once the cakes are completely cool, make the frosting: Beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix on medium-high until smooth. Add milk a scant teaspoon at a time, stopping when frosting reaches a spreadable consistency (you probably won't need all the milk).

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6 comments to Peanut Butter Cake

  • Looks delicious- I love that there’s no cream cheesein this!

  • jen

    i want right now. yummmmm!

  • Michael

    It was really good with a little grape jelly spread over it…I’m such a fat kid sometimes.

  • I love the Joy the Baker cookbook. Every recipe I’ve made out of it has been a win, and I’ve gifted at least 6 copies of it now. I’ve had my eye on the peanut butter cake, but I know if I make it, it will just call to me from the kitchen until I’ve eaten the whole thing!

  • I would definitely choose family time over math, any day!

  • Abbie

    I’ve been saving this recipe, waiting for an excuse to make it. So when my peanut butter-obsessed boyfriend’s birthday rolled around I knew what his birthday cake would be. This is awesome. I swapped the frosting for fluffernutter frosting and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved (including one person who claimed to hate peanut butter…and ended up going for seconds). Thanks!

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