Easy Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

with Chocolate Frosting

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake – Rich, tender, and larger-than-life peanut butter flavor slathered with glossy chocolate frosting Texas-style!

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake is sure to satisfy both the chocolate and the peanut butter lovers in your life. If you can’t get enough of this favorite combo, bookmark our Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and our Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

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Slice of peanut butter sheet cake with chocolate frosting on a spatula

This recipe is one of those that makes me want to jump up, go straight to the kitchen, and start making it! With a title that has “easy” and “Texas” in it, you just know it’s a “go big or go home” taste in every delectable bite! 

Delicious peanut butter sheet cake with a signature hot fudgy icing poured over the baked cake to finish it all off is a match made in heaven; obviously in Texas too! Texas sheet cake is the perfect party dessert for feeding and pleasing a crowd. 

Even better, the idea of not having to drag out the mixer to make a rich, sumptuous cake earns all the points! 

One saucepan, some good whisk action, a scratch-made cake, and decadent homemade frosting never tasted so good!

Peanut butter sheet cake on a plate in front of the pan

Why You’ll Love Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Sheet Cake With Buttermilk

  • Tastes heavenly; hard to say more than that!
  • A chocolate and peanut butter lover’s dream dessert. 
  • Uses pantry staples with no fancy fixin’s.
  • No stand mixer is needed! Fast and easy cleanup!
  • Feeds a large gathering and looks downright tasty.

overhead shot of texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting

Not Much Equipment Needed For This Easy Peanut Butter Sheet Cake Recipe 

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This recipe easily qualifies as “fun-baking” because it’s a novel experience preparing the peanut butter cake batter in a saucepan! Besides measuring implements and a sheet pan, all you need is a good medium saucepan and a whisk. And we did say easy!

What size pan to make sheet cake:

Texas sheet cake recipes are usually baked in a baker’s half-sheet pan which measures 18 x 13 inches, and sides about one inch high. This type of pan results in a thinner cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, giving you the perfect ratio of cake to frosting.

A jelly roll pan is similar in size, 12 x 17 or even 11 x 16 inches with 1 inch deep sides (this size pan is going to give you a higher ratio of cake to frosting).

As long as you are within those sizes the cake will turn out great. You just don’t want to use a cookie sheet, because they don’t have a rim around the edge.

You can bake Texas sheet cake in a 9×13” pan, but you will have a much thicker cake and will need to increase the baking time a bit.

how to make peanut butter Texas sheet cake photo collage

How To Make A Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake With Buttermilk

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Step 1

Using a medium saucepan cook water, butter, and peanut butter until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the combined sugars, flour, salt, and baking soda, whisking until lump-free. Add the remaining ingredients: eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla, whisking until well combined.

Step 2

Pour the velvety batter into a generously greased and floured 13×18-inch sheet pan and smooth and bake. 

Step 3

In a small saucepan, melt butter, then add milk and cocoa. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour icing over warm cake and cool on a wire rack before serving.

how to make Texas sheet cake chocolate frosting photo collage

Key Ingredients For Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

Stuff For The Peanut Butter Cake:

  • Unsalted Butter –  A best practice is to allow butter to warm up if you can before putting it over the heat. If you use it straight from the fridge, cut it up and heat gently to avoid browning or overcooking the portion that melts off first.
  • Peanut Butter –  We always use creamy peanut butter, but crunchy should work too if you prefer.
  • Cake Basics – baking soda, salt, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar
  • Eggs – If your eggs are cold, place them in a bowl of warm/hot (not boiling) water for 5-10 mintues.
  • Vanilla Extract – brings a warm, aromatic depth to the cake and enhances the peanut butter.
  • Buttermilk – In baking not only does it react with the baking soda to create the lift in cakes, but it also provides a richer, more homestyle/old-fashioned flavor profile. Don’t have any buttermilk? See the substitute in the Tips section below.

Stuff For The Fudgy Sheet Cake Icing:

  • Butter – you can use salted or unsalted
  • Milk – it is best to use whole milk, but I have used 2% milk with great results. Skim milk would not be a good choice. 
  • Unsweetened Cocoa PowderHershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder is available in most grocery stores.
  • Powdered Sugar – you must use confectioner’s sugar for smooth and silky icing, not coarse.
  • Vanilla Extract – for best flavor be sure to use pure vanilla extract (instead of imitation vanilla )

Peanut butter Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting on a half sheet pan and 3 slices cut

Tips & Additions For Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake 

  • Be sure to grease and flour the pan. You can even line the bottom with parchment paper making it easier to serve.
  • If you don’t have any buttermilk you can add white vinegar or lemon juice to milk. To make 1/2 cup of buttermilk substitute for this texas sheet cake measure 1½ teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add milk until it reaches the 1/2 cup line. Stir and let stand 5-10 minutes.  
  • Don’t heat cold butter too rapidly for the cake or the icing to prevent browning or burning.
  • This classic cake bakes up best in a baker’s half-sheet pan which measures 18 x 13 inches, with sides about one inch high. 
  • Careful not to overbake this cake. The frosting keeps this cake super moist, but it’s so thin that it can quickly dry out if left in the oven too long.
  • Be prepared to work quickly with the frosting. Have all the ingredients measured and next to you as well as the warm cake. 
  • Don’t pour icing on the cake right out of the oven. Let the cake rest a few minutes while you prepare the icing and then pour it on.
  • The frosting will begin to set fast so once the warm frosting is poured on the cake work quickly to spread with a spatula.
  • Fancy up your Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake by sprinkling crushed peanuts on the icing or add some peanut butter or chocolate chips to the batter if you’d like a creamy surprise bite.

a piece of peanut butter sheet cake with chocolate frosting on a white plate

Storing Your Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

This cake will hold up covered and stored on the counter for 3-4 days, maybe a bit longer. Under warm and humid conditions, it can be refrigerated if wrapped securely. This cake is best after being brought up to room temperature.

You can freeze a Texas Sheet Cake by wrapping the completely cooled frosted cake in the pan with plastic wrap and placing it in the freezer for up to one month. Loosen the plastic wrap and let the cake come to room temperature on the counter for a few hours before serving.

Peanut butter sheet cake with chocolate frosting on a blue plate with a fork

Texas Sheet Cake FAQs

What is the difference between a sheet pan and a jelly roll pan?

The dimensions. A jelly roll pan is commonly 10.5 x 15.5 inches or 12 x 17 inches, whereas a half sheet pan is 13 x 18 inches; both have a 1-inch edge. 

Can I use a jelly roll pan instead of a half-sheet cake pan with this easy peanut butter sheet cake recipe?

No problem if it is the larger jelly roll size; if you use the smaller, you will need to adjust the baking time by a few minutes, and the cake will be a little thicker.

What are sheet cake sizes, and how many will it serve?

  • ¼ sheet cake   serves 15 to 20
  • ½ sheet cake   serves 30 to 42
  • ¾ sheet cake   serves 50 to 60
  • Full sheet cake   serves 60 to 84

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Peanut butter Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting photo collage

Texas Sheet Cake forms a glorious chocolate frosting crust layer over the peanut butter cake that simply melts in your mouth. This cake has become the most requested dessert in our house in the last few years!!

Slice of peanut butter sheet cake with chocolate frosting on a spatula

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

Yield: 32
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Texas Sheet Cake forms a glorious chocolate frosting crust layer over the peanut butter cake that simply melts in your mouth.

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup buttermilk

For Icing

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (baking cocoa)
  • 3¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously grease and flour a 13x18-inch sheet pan
    2. Combine water, butter, and peanut butter in a medium saucepan. Heat until mixture comes to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the sugars, flour, salt, and baking soda, whisk until lump-free then add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla whisk until well combined.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth with a spatula to an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    4. When the cake comes out of the oven, prepare the frosting. *see notes
    5. In a small saucepan, melt butter then add milk and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour icing over warm cake. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Notes

  • * make the frosting as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, you will want to pour the frosting over a pretty warm cake (but not right out of the oven hot), so you don't want to let the cake sit and cool too long.
  • You can store left-over cake covered, in an air-tight container on the counter for 3-4 days.

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