Peanut butter cake. Yes. Wait, what’s that? The best peanut butter cake? Yes! In the whole world? Yes. Yes. Yes.
You guys, I proudly present to you the BEST peanut butter cake I’ve ever tasted! This cake is moist, fluffy, and extremely peanut buttery. I’ve come across many recipes for peanut butter cake in my years of baking, and none of them was particularly, well, peanut buttery. Most tasted just like plain vanilla cake. Or maybe brown sugar vanilla cake. Not peanut butter. And the few cakes that did taste of peanut butter were inexcusably dry. Like biting into a peanut butter flavored dust bunny. Yuck! I mean, sure I like peanut butter, but why sacrifice texture for flavor? It doesn’t make any sense.
Obviously, I needed to come up with a peanut butter cake recipe of my own. And because I happen to have a cute little four-month-old who seriously is the most active baby I have ever met and who continually wants to play and practice standing up with me, a Rocking Rebel who likes me to pick up the vacuum cleaner every now and then, and a dog who likes to have her ears scratched, this recipe is also ridiculously easy. Like throw-everything-in-a-bowl-and-whisk kind of easy.
You may thank me in the comments 😉
But wait, why stop at just the peanut butter cake? Why not frost it with an insane dark chocolate frosting? C’mon, peanut butter and chocolate belong together. So of course I frosted my perfect peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting.
The chocolate frosting is actually my foolproof, decadent American chocolate buttercream. Which I’ve decided to call frosting in this post for SEO reasons. Don’t even ask…
The frosting, like the cake, is super easy to make and absolutely delivers in both the flavor and texture department. It’s velvety smooth and creamy, and it has an intense (!) dark chocolate flavor due to a generous amount of Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I recently learned a bit more about the difference between Dutch-processed and natural cocoa powder, and you definitely want to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder to make the frosting, because it tastes more like actual chocolate and is less acidic. And it makes a difference, yo!
Next to Dutch-processed cocoa powder, you’ll need unsalted butter, powdered sugar, a splash of cream, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla extract to make the frosting.
For the peanut butter cake itself, you’ll need just 10 basic ingredients:
- sunflower oil (or canola oil)
- dark brown sugar
- a couple of eggs
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- table salt
- vanilla extract
- and, of course, peanut butter.
I use Skippy peanut butter for all my baking recipes. It’s just a personal preference based on convenience, and you can use a different brand if you like. Buuuuut, I wouldn’t try this recipe with natural, or unsweetened peanut butter. I once made a peanut butter cheesecake with unsweetened peanut butter that was so, um, displeasing to the tastebuds (to say the least!) I actually managed to traumatize my family with it. Seriously, my brother-in-law was afraid to even try this cake once he found out it had peanut butter in it!
Lucky for him, he turned around, and he now considers himself de-traumatized 🙂
If you need more tips about the different kinds of peanut butter and which you should and shouldn’t use in baking you may want to read through this post. It’s all there, including the sugar content of my beloved Skippy.
Like I said, making this cake is easy. Just whisk oil, sugar and peanut butter together. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Whisk a little more until the batter looks smooth. Done.
Yup, that’s right. No mixer required. No elbow grease needed. Just a whisk and a bowl. You’ll likely spend more time on gathering your ingredients than on whisking. Which is perfect, because it gives you time to vacuum the living room to make your significant other happy. Haha… I mean time to cuddle some more with your baby. Or paint your toe nails. Or finally read last Saturday’s newspaper. Or dance around in the dusty living room. Or whatever!
After the cakes come of the oven, allow them to cool completely while you make the chocolate frosting. Don’t make the frosting before that, because you’ll be tempted to eat it all straight out of the bowl the minute you’ve whipped it up. It’s that good. Use it to frost the cake, drizzle the sides of the cake with some melted peanut butter, pipe a decorative border, and… Dig in!
*Sigh*… wish I was eating that piece of cake, right now.
Anyway, what’s your favorite way to use peanut butter in baking? Cake, cupcakes, cookies? Please let me know in the comments 😀
Next post: recipe round-up of things I made April 2015 (no-bake Nutella cheesecakes!).
Oh, and scroll down for a nice and long pin-image!
- 80ml (or ⅓ cup) sunflower or canola oil
- 170g (or ⅔ cup) creamy peanut butter, I used Skippy
- 220g (or 1 cup, packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (about 110g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 180g (or 1⅓ cup + 5 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 240ml (or 1 cup) buttermilk
- 200g (or ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 325g (or 2½ cups + 5 teaspoons) powdered sugar
- 100g (or ¾ cup + 5 teaspoons) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 120ml (or ½ cup) heavy whipping cream
- pinch of salt
- 50g (about 3 tablespoons) creamy peanut butter, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°C (standard oven setting) and line the bottom of two 7-inch baking pans with baking parchment. Lightly butter the sides of the pans and dust with a spoonful of flour, discarding the excess flour that doesn’t stick to the buttered sides.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine oil, peanut butter and sugar. Whisk until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk and whisk until the batter looks smooth, about 1 minute.
- Divide the batter over the prepared cake pans and place on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a wire rack. Once cool, remove from the pans.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat softened butter with a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat for another 30 seconds.
- Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Combine vanilla, cream and salt and add it to the bowl with the butter. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, stir ingredients until somewhat incorporated and the mixture looks dry and crumbly, but not powdery. This is just so that you don't end up with a big cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa in your kitchen when you turn the mixer on.
- Mix for 3-5 minutes, or until the buttercream looks creamy, fluffy and smooth.
- First make sure the cakes are completely cool and reserve ¾ cup of frosting (180ml) to make the decorative border after you’ve finished frosting the cake.
- Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover the top with frosting, using an ordinary knife, the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Top with the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Melt the peanut butter in the bowl of a double boiler (or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water) and, using a spoon, drizzle it over the edges of the cake.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip and filled with the reserved frosting, pipe a border on top of the peanut butter drizzle along the edge of the cake.
- Cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.