Calling all peanut butter lovers! This old fashioned peanut butter cake is ultra moist and happens to be vegan. Perfect for get-togethers and easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry!
I was inspired to make this cake from a little treat I used to get at a local coffee shop. They only had a few vegan options, and one of them was this little peanut butter snack cake. It actually didn’t have frosting at all, but instead was topped with mini chocolate chips.
I decided to go all out and top my cake with peanut butter frosting, and the results are incredible!
Peanut butter desserts can be rather dry, but this cake is very moist and tender. The texture of peanut butter cake is different than other cakes; it’s not exactly light and fluffy, but once you take a bite you will be hooked!
How to make peanut butter cake
(This is simply an overview with photos, see the recipe card below for the full recipe.)
Prepare your vegan “buttermilk” by measuring the soy milk and adding the apple cider vinegar. Give a little stir and set aside. Then, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan (or 10×15 for a sheet cake).
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the peanut butter, sugar and oil until well combined and smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and vegan buttermilk, in about 3 parts, until combined.
- This cake batter will be thick and not like other cake batters, but that is correct so don’t worry!
- Transfer the batter to the cake pan/dish and spread out evenly. Since it won’t pour, you will need to really spread it to all the corners.
Bake for 28-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Let cool completely before frosting.
Peanut butter frosting
This frosting is so addicting, you won’t be able to get enough!
To make it, simply beat the peanut butter and vegan butter together until smooth and creamy, then add the powdered sugar, plant milk and vanilla. Beat for a few minutes until fluffy and smooth. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk. If it’s too runny, add a little powdered sugar.
Tips & Substitutions
- Milk – I used soy milk, but another non-dairy milk will work just fine, like almond, cashew or oat milk.
- Gluten free – Try substituting a gluten free mix.
- Peanut butter – Make sure to use non-natural creamy peanut butter (like JIF). Natural possibly could work, but some brands are super oily while others are thick and dry, so for best results, just use the regular peanut butter.
- Oil – I used canola oil, but you can use another oil, like vegetable, avocado or possibly even melted coconut oil, though I haven’t tried it. If you need the cake to be oil free, you could try subbing applesauce.
- Don’t over mix the cake batter, but only mix until combined. This will help the cake be fluffy.
- Sheet cake – For a sheet cake, make it in a 10×15 inch pan, but only bake it for 15-18 minutes.
How to store the cake
Store the cake at room temperature, there is no need to refrigerate it. Simply cover once cut so it doesn’t dry out too quickly. It does freeze well, either in individual slices or whole.
More vegan cakes to love
- 1 Bowl Vegan Coconut Cake
- Vegan Vanilla Cake
- Vegan Lemon Cake
- Vegan Funfetti Cake
- Chocolate Sheet Cake
Peanut Butter Cake
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 inch cake pan (or a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan for a sheet cake).
- Vegan buttermilk: In a measuring cup, measure 1 cup of soy milk, then add the apple cider vinegar and give it a little stir. Set aside to curdle.
- Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the peanut butter, sugar and oil until well combined, scraping the sides as needed.
- To the bowl with the peanut butter, with the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the vegan buttermilk, in 3 parts, ending with the buttermilk. The cake batter is thicker than most, and won't really pour like other cake batter.
- Transfer to the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. For a sheet cake (10x15 inch pan), it will only need 15-18 minutes in the oven.
- Let the cake cool completely, then frost generously with peanut butter frosting and serve. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if desired.
For the frosting
- Using either a handheld or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the peanut butter and vegan butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons of soy milk, vanilla and optional salt. Beat on low speed at first, then gradually increase to high and beat for 2 minutes until very fluffy.
- If it seems too thick, add more milk, a few tablespoons at a time. If it gets too runny, add more powdered sugar until you have a smooth, thick and pipe-able frosting.
- You can use another plant milk, such as almond, cashew or oat milk.
- I used canola oil, but any vegetable oil will work, such as avocado or maybe even melted coconut oil, though I haven't tried it.
- Gluten free: Substitute an all purpose gluten free flour.
- Peanut butter: Use the non-natural creamy peanut butter (like JIF) for best results. I haven't tested it using natural, but I'm afraid it won't work well. I haven't tried it with almond butter, but it might work though the flavor will be much different.
- Keep the cake at room temperature, there is no need to refrigerate it unless you want to. Cover after you cut it so it doesn't dry out too fast.
- For a snack cake, skip the frosting and fold in some mini chocolate chips.