If you have been searching for the ultimate peanut butter cake recipe that will be the talk of the town, look no further! This showstopper peanut butter cake is made with moist, fluffy sponge cakes and is topped with a smooth and creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Equally old-fashioned and modern, this peanut butter cake is perfect for a special occasion or a casual afternoon snack. Who knew that putting peanut butter in cake could be so good?
🌟 Why this is the best Peanut Butter Cake Recipe
- It is the most delicious - This old fashioned peanut butter cake recipe uses the highest quality ingredients and the best technique to make super moist sponges with a creamy, finger-licking frosting. It may be the best peanut butter cake recipe you’ll ever try!
- It is easy to make - It is a peanut butter cake recipe easy enough for inexperienced bakers yet still fun for the experts. It requires just ten simple steps that, when followed as written, will result in a delicious cake in no time!
- No special ingredients or equipment required - All the ingredients needed to make this recipe are simple items you can find in your local grocery store or already sitting in your kitchen pantry! You can also make this recipe using your everyday baking equipment.
- It is 100% made from scratch - If you want a peanut butter cake with cake mix, you are in the wrong place because this recipe makes everything from scratch– even the frosting! Once you learn to make this recipe, you’ll never touch peanut butter cake mix again!
- It is versatile - Whether you want to make a peanut butter sheet cake or layer cake or add different toppings and flavors, this cake recipe makes it easy! See the Flavor Variations and Substitutes section below for more ideas.
📝 Ingredient notes
For the peanut butter sponge cake
- Butter - Use butter with at least 82% fat content for the best cake texture. Make sure to use unsalted butter to control the salt levels in the recipe fully. You can also use homemade butter. It will need to be at room temperature but not melted.
- Brown Sugar - The brown sugar helps to sweeten the cake with a delicious molasses flavor. Use dark brown sugar for a bold, rich flavor and light brown sugar for a lighter taste.
- Granulated Sugar - Plain, white sugar helps balance out the molasses’ flavor. See my sugar guide to learn more about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking.
- Eggs - You need two whole room-temperature eggs for this recipe.
- Peanut Butter - Smooth peanut butter works best.
- Milk - Whole milk with 3% fat will give the best results. Like the butter and the eggs, the milk must be at room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract - Use pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste for the best flavor. Avoid using imitation vanilla extract.
- Flour - I use all-purpose flour in this recipe. Read my flour guide to learn more about the different types of flour in baking.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda - These two ingredients are leaveners that, when combined, help give the sponge cake its light and fluffy texture and height.
- Salt - Salt is an essential ingredient in baking recipes and helps balance the sweetness. Do not skip it!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
For the peanut cream cheese frosting
- Cream Cheese - Use high-quality, full-fat cream cheese for the most delicious and creamy results. I prefer Philadelphia brand cream cheese, which contains 33% fat. There is no need to bring it to room temperature first.
- Mascarpone Cheese - Like the cream cheese, you want a full-fat mascarpone. I use mascarpone cheese with 41% fat for this recipe. It also does not need to be brought to room temperature first.
- Powdered Sugar - Use fine-quality powdered or confectioner’s sugar to avoid grainy textures in the frosting.
- Peanut Butter - Smooth, unsweetened peanut butter is best. Avoid chunky varieties.
- Vanilla Extract - The vanilla extract helps to enhance the flavor of the frosting. Again, avoid using imitation vanilla, as it will not give the same results, preferably make your own homemade vanilla.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
👩🍳 How to make Peanut Butter Cake
1. Make the Peanut Butter Sponge
- Preheat the oven to 175°C / 347°F and grease an 8-inch / 20 cm Spring form pan.
- In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to cream the room-temperature butter with the white and brown sugar. Mix until it becomes light and fluffy, then slowly whip in the room-temperature eggs and milk until combined. Next, mix in the peanut butter and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda (your dry ingredients) into the wet peanut butter mixture and gently fold them together with a rubber spatula. Fold just until the ingredients are combined.
- Slowly pour the batter into the greased cake pan and use an offset spatula to top. Then, place the pan in the oven.
- Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until you can pass the “toothpick test.”
- Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before applying the peanut butter frosting.
💡Top Tip: To test whether the cake is done baking, use the “toothpick test.”: If you can insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and it comes out completely clean, the cake is done.
2. Make the Peanut Cream Cheese Frosting
- Use an electric hand mixer to whip the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sifted powdered sugar together for a few minutes.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and smooth peanut butter before the mixture starts to thicken.
- Continue whipping until the frosting reaches a fluffy texture. Do not overmix.
For more details, substitutions, and other flavor variations read my peanut butter cream cheese frosting recipe.
💡Top Tip: Stop whipping the frosting as soon as it reaches a pipeable consistency, which will be after approximately 2-3 minutes. Overwhipping can cause the frosting to separate and become runny.
3. Assemble the Peanut butter cake
Once the cake is completely cooled and the frosting is perfectly fluffy, it is time to assemble the Peanut butter cake! You can either cut the cake horizontally and make it into a layered cake or simply keep it as a single-layer cake and apply the frosting on top. You will need to double the frosting though if making a layered cake.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle tip. Carefully frost the piping on top of the cake.
- Decorate with roasted crushed peanuts.
💡Top Tip: If you do not have a piping bag and nozzle, you can use a spoon or an offset spatula to apply the frosting and make fancy decorations.
📚 Flavor variations
Different nut butter: Instead of peanut butter for the cake and cream cheese frosting, try it with my homemade walnut butter, cashew butter, pistachio butter, pecan butter, or hazelnut butter as I do with my hazelnut cake.
Chocolate peanut butter cake: Change out the peanut butter cake layers for chocolate layers to make chocolate & peanut butter cake similar to my chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.
With toppings: Add a finishing touch to the cake with crushed and roasted peanuts, chocolate chips, or crumbled chocolate chip cookies.
Or, for a peanut butter Reeses cake, top with crushed Reese’s peanut butter Cups.
Egg-free cake: If you have an egg allergy or are on a vegan diet, you can swap out the egg for one of these many egg substitutes.
🥣 Equipment notes
Baking is a science, and precision is key if you want flawless, bakery-style results. A digital scale is a must-have piece of equipment, as it will ensure accurate measurements of the ingredients. Likewise, a digital oven thermometer will ensure the correct baking temperature since some oven models may vary by a degree or two.
Also helpful to have is an electric hand mixer, which will help combine the ingredients much easier than mixing by hand. A rubber spatula is essential for combining the wet and dry ingredients without overmixing the batter.
When it is time to assemble and decorate your cake, you will want to have an 8-inch / 20cm spring form pan for the cake layers, a piping bag with Wilton 2A round nozzle tip for applying the peanut butter frosting, and an offset spatula for smoothing the frosting. The offset spatula is also helpful for smoothing the batter once you pour it into the pan.
🎓 Expert tips
- To avoid lumps from appearing in the batter, always sift the dry ingredients (flour, powdered sugar, baking soda, and baking powder) before using them in the recipe.
- The wet ingredients (milk, egg, and butter) in the sponge cake must always be at room temperature to emulsify correctly.
- Take care not to overbake the sponge cake, as it can become too dry. Immediately remove it from the oven as soon as you pass the toothpick test.
- It is important to use only high-fat content ingredients in the frosting for the best peanut butter flavor and to achieve a creamy, pipeable consistency.
- To make this sheet cake into a layer cake, cut the sponge cake into two horizontal portions and double the amount of frosting you make.
Once cooled and frosted, store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Absolutely! After the sponge cake cools entirely to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap. Then, place it into a sealable plastic bag to avoid freezer burn. Freeze for up to three months and thaw at room temperature.
For the best results, use smooth, unsweetened natural peanut butter. If you prefer sweetened peanut butter, you must reduce the amount of powdered sugar in the recipe. This keeps the cake from being overly sweet.
🍰 More cake recipes
Peanut Butter Cake
For the peanut butter cake
- 114 g (½ cups) Unsalted butter room temperature
- 100 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- 100 g (½ cups) Brown sugar
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 130 g (½ cups) Peanut Butter smooth
- 240 g (0.981 cups) Whole milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 240 g (2 cups) All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
For the peanut butter cream cheese frosting
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with making the peanut butter sponges
- Pre-heat oven to 175°C / 347°F and grease an 8-inch / 20 cm Spring form pan.
- Cream butter with the two different types of sugar until light and fluffy, then whip in the eggs and milk slowly while the mixer is on. Finally, mix in peanut butter and the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together into the mixture and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula just until combined.
- Pour the peanut butter cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Let the cake completely cool before frosting.
Prepare the peanut butter cream cheese frosting
- Whip the cream cheese, mascarpone, and sifted powdered sugar with an electric hand mixer for a few minutes.
- Just before the mixture starts to thicken, add the vanilla extract and smooth peanut butter to the mixture and continue whipping.
- When the frosting reaches a fluffy, pipeable consistency, stop right there and do not overmix. If you continue whipping the frosting, it will separate and get runny.
Assemble the Peanut Butter Cake
- Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle tip and pipe the frosting on top of the cake. Alternatively, arrange the frosting with the help of a spoon or spatula.
- The cake can be served immediately or stored refrigerated for 2-3 days in air-tight container.
- Measure your ingredients with a digital scale for accuracy.
- For the peanut butter sponge cake, use room-temperature ingredients.
- For the peanut butter cream cheese frosting, use high-fat ingredients.
- Use only smooth peanut butter, preferably unsweetened. If using sweetened peanut butter, reduce the powdered sugar in the recipe
- Make sure you read my Expert Tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not enough to cover all the necessary details and science behind baking.
- When baking the sponge, be careful not to overbake it. Over-baked sponge cake can become too dry. Only bake it until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, then take the cake out of the oven. Each oven is different, consider using an oven thermometer for accuracy.
- Cream cheese frosting is very easy to overwhip. When whipping the frosting, be sure to stop as soon as the mixture has reached a fluffy consistency (this will take 2-3 minutes). It will not get stiffer after this point. In fact, if you overbeat the frosting, it will only get runnier and then break.
- If you prefer to make it into a layer cake, cut the sponge into 2 horizontally and double the frosting.