This delicious, one-bowl, no-mixer Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake is one of our favorite desserts EVER! It's also one of the quickest and easiest cakes you'll ever make!
This Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake recipe has a fun story to go with it. Scott and I are trying to "seize" this unusual moment in time and make the best of it. Our two grandchildren that live nearby, Emmy (7) and Hayes (4), are doing online school right now. We asked their parents if we could be the "specialists" for the kids one day each week to give mom a little break and for us to make some memories with the children. The parents were thrilled and we were immediately employed, with me teaching cooking and Papa Scott becoming "the music specialist".
We decided to tie it all together with a study of the United States, so we picked up a big map and some fun interactive learning tools. Each week, the kids get to pick a new "state" and we learn lots of information about it, including popular recipes and songs from the region. We also teach the kids ten interesting, important (and sometimes crazy) facts about each state. We review these facts all day so the kids know them inside out.
When mom and dad come for dinner (which the kids have helped cook) they get a written quiz on "the facts". The first week, the parents didn't do so well. However, they now do a little online research themselves before showing up, as they each want to win "the prize" that we have waiting for them. The kids get to teach mom and dad the answers that they don't get right (very gleefully, I must say).
Last week, the state chosen was Texas. We made a slow-roasted Texas pork roast and Texas Sheet Cake for dessert. Texas sheet cake is classically a super easy, super delicious chocolate cake. You can see a rendition of it that I did way back in the early days of The Café here.
Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake?
I wanted to do something a little different, so I did a little research and came up with a Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake. I wasn't sure if it would measure up to the original chocolate recipe but, OH MY! All it took was one bite for each of us to declare this sweet treat, totally "blog-worthy" (our highest possible accolade for a recipe).
It's light and moist with a tender crumb and lots of delicious peanut butter flavor. The caramel peanut butter icing takes it off the charts.
Plenty for everyone!
I love that this recipe makes a large cake, so it's perfect for feeding a crowd or gifting to friends or neighbors (we've distributed versions of this cake to sweet friends and neighbors all the way down our little mountain road). It also freezes well, making it nice to be able to pull out when someone needs a sweet treat.
Although the title of this cake is a little long; Ridiculously Easy Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake, the recipe definitely falls into our Ridiculously Easy series. If you're new to The Café, we have a whole category of recipes called Ridiculously Easy. You can read more about the series in this post but, in a nutshell, these (beloved-by-our-readers) recipes are the ones that make you look like a culinary rock star with minimal effort on your part.
Is this Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake really that easy? YES! Simply combine water, butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for two minutes until everything is nice and melty. Add the sugar and vanilla, let the mixture cool briefly, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter into a greased sheet pan and bake for twenty minutes. The wonderful aroma that wafts through your kitchen will be a promise of the delicious pleasure to come!
The caramel peanut butter icing comes together just as easily; combine butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power till the butter is melted. Add vanilla, buttermilk (or half and half), and powdered sugar. Whisk it all together until nice and creamy and you're done!
A cake to make any day a party!
I'm wishing we could sit down together and enjoy a piece of this delicious Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake with a nice tall glass of cold milk. But since that's not possible, you have to promise you'll make it soon and do a milk "cheers" to The Café! I'll be waiting!
Café Tips for making this Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake
- This recipe calls for a microwave-safe bowl. What does that mean? Microwave-safe bowls and containers are specifically designed to be used in the microwave. The container itself does not get hot when heated. You can tell if a bowl (or another item) is microwave-safe by checking the bottom. There should be a small symbol of a microwave with some wavy lines on it.
- I love these microwave-safe Pyrex measuring cups with handles that stay cool. They come in different sizes, are dishwasher safe and are little kitchen workhorses for me. I use the 8-cup size to make both the cake and the icing for this Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake recipe. Any of these would make a wonderful, long-lasting gift for someone who likes to cook or would like to learn to cook. (Haha, I just talked myself into ordering another one!)
- The easiest and best way to mix up this cake is with a whisk. Every kitchen needs a good whisk. A whisk makes the task of stirring a nice smooth batter (without a mixer) a breeze. Good whisks aren't expensive and will last a lifetime. This is a really nice set of simple whisks.
- This cake freezes well. I like to freeze it uncovered for about an hour then wrap it in saran wrap or place the pieces in a zippered bag. Freezing it uncovered to start with, prevents the icing from getting all squished from the plastic wrap or bag.
- I use creamy peanut butter for this recipe but the crunchy style could also be used if you like a little more texture.
- No buttermilk? No problem! You can substitute plain yogurt or sour cream for the buttermilk. OR you can make your own; add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup then fill the cup with milk to the one half cup line. Stir and wait 5 minutes then proceed with the recipe using the vinegar/milk solution in place of the buttermilk.
- For the icing, you can substitute half and half or milk for the buttermilk. For those of you living outside of the United States, half and half is an American convenience product that's often used with coffee here in the States. It's simply a half and half combination of milk and cream.
- Sometimes I substitute 1-2 tablespoons of espresso or strong coffee for 1-2 tablespoons of the buttermilk in the icing. It gives the icing another layer of flavor, seems to cut the sweetness a bit and gives the icing a little deeper color.
- If you like a less sweet cake, you can halve the icing recipe and use a little extra buttermilk to make it more of a thin glaze.
- This Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake can also be made in two 8-inch cake pans (with at least 2-inch tall sides) or two 9-inch cake pans. The 9-inch cake pans will yield a little lower and larger cake. These are nice options as you can either freeze one or give one away. The round cakes also make a pretty presentation for serving.
Thought for the day:
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup butter 1 stick
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 4-6 tablespoon buttermilk (or half and half or milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3½-4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously spray a 12x18-inch sheet pan with baking spray OR rub with shortening then add a tablespoon of flour and tilt the pan in all directions to coat the shortening with flour.
Combine water, butter and peanut butter in a medium-large, microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 2-2½ minutes or until the butter is melted. Add the sugar and vanilla, then whisk until well combined. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
Add the eggs and whisk until smooth then add the baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined.
Add the flour, whisking vigorously until lump-free then add the buttermilk and stir until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean and the top feels firm and springs back lightly when touched.
Cool for 20 minutes then top with the icing. Spread the icing with a knife to cover the surface. If desired, swirl the icing with the back of a small spoon for a pretty presentation. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Combine the butter, dark brown sugar and peanut butter in a medium-large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 1 minute. Whisk well then return to the microwave for another minute.
Add 4 tablespoons of the buttermilk (or half and half or milk) and vanilla. Whisk well to combine. Add 3½ cups of powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. You’re looking for a fairly thick but still pourable icing. If too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar and stir again until nice and smooth.
See Café Tips above for more detailed instructions and tips.
Cake recipe adapted from My Recipes, icing, a Café concoction.
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