I am a news junkie. I have been since I was way too young to even be watching the news. I probably started watching when I was in second or third grade. I would start my morning with the local news. It was probably mostly out of convenience that it was what was flipped on in the house. Was there a traffic accident that needed to be avoided? Was school closed (fingers crossed)? But then I grew to like it. The same friendly, familiar faces greeting me each morning. And morning news typically isn’t the same hard hitting stuff shown later in the day, it’s fun, it’s chit-chat, it’s laughter.
About the time of fifth grade I moved to Today. I still begin my mornings watching Today. Some of the hosts and certainly the format have changed, but it’s still a great show, giving me the vital news of the day without weighing me down with bad news story after bad news story.
Somewhere just after fifth grade, local evening and nighttime news casts, along with a nightly national news cast were added to my queue, and I was hooked. I have a need to watch, to see the weather, and what’s going on in the world. In high school, I’d rush home, completely exhausted and turn on CNN. Crossfire, Inside Politics, The Situation Room. It was how I decompressed after what was undoubtedly not a very good day at school. CNN has done a lot of changing in the time since I watched too, and I rarely watch anymore, but I loved it then, looked forward to it each day. A mix of top stories, in depth reports, interviews, viewer emails, it was everything I needed.
I was also starving by the time I got home from school. Too anxious to eat much during the day, my body craved nourishment. My favorite after school treat was a strawberry banana smoothie. Mom would pull out our pink KitchenAid blender, scoop a bunch of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream, slice a banana and a handful of strawberries, and whir it up into a pink delight sure to take away the pain of the day while I watched CNN. Another of my favorites was toast with peanut butter and banana. It was so warm and comforting, the peanut butter stuck on the roof of my mouth. I loved it.
I still watch tons of news, eat more bananas than the average person, and am addicted to peanut butter, even if much of the rest of me has changed since those high school days. I had some leftover homemade peanut butter that I wanted to bake with. After a search through my recipes, I settled on Peanut Butter Sheet Cake, not sure how it would turn out.
The cake and frosting are both super easy to make. The butter is melted in both cases, along with a few other ingredients. And both the cake and the frosting are made in the pots those ingredients are cooked in. It’s always cool to try new baking methods like this, but a little scary, as Mom wondered more than once if the cake would turn out. The cake batter tasted amazing. Seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. If you don’t fear eggs or use pasteurized ones, like me, try the batter. You will love it.
The cake baked up like a dream. Puffy and golden brown, it was still soft to the touch. And the frosting is to be poured over while the cake is warm. I also highly recommend eating the cake while warm. It’s messy, but it will blow your mind. One bite of this cake and I was in crazy love. The frosting is gooey and thin, so it oozes everywhere, and it’s not too sweet, but I would like to take out some of the butter and add more peanut butter the next time. But you guys, it’s this cake, this cake is stellar, amazing, the best thing you’ll ever eat, a shoe-in for one of my favorite recipes of this year. Somehow a measly quarter cup of peanut butter makes the peanut butteriest cake you can imagine with undertones of brown sugar. It is crazy moist and perfectly dense. I want to eat this cake every day for the rest of my life . . . but I won’t because I like the pretty party dresses in my closet too much.
A word of caution, homemade peanut butter worked fine in the cake, but not in the frosting. Stick with the processed stuff that I always say not to eat in the frosting. It’s much more stable and there’s nothing healthy about this dessert anyway. It’s definitely a special treat.
Do yourself a huge favor and make this cake. You’ll fall in love with cake and peanut butter in a whole new way.
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used homemade)
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter – not natural or homemade
- 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan.
- Make the cake. In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, water, and butter over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, stir together sugars, flour, salt, and baking soda until combined. Add this mixture to the peanut butter mixture and mix together in the pot. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla to the pot and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine butter, milk, and peanut butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Add vanilla. Stir in confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until the frosting has thickened considerably but is still quite runny. Pour over the warm cake. Best served warm, but may be stored in an airtight container overnight. May also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours, or in a 350 degree F oven, wrapped in parchment, placed on top of foil for about 15 minutes.