I may have had another one of those food dreams again. You know when you wake up and are craving something totally random? Well, in my case, I think today’s cake craving came from my elementary school days in Sapulpa… and a school lunch item.
Confession: I usually thought school lunches in elementary school were typically good. There aren’t too many things I do remember, but something I recalled this morning when I woke up was a special dessert that was served every now and then. It was definitely a sheet cake, not too thin and not too thick, always tender, and had a distinctive peanut butter flavor with a light peanut butter glaze for icing. I loved that cake, and remember willing to trade my entire lunch for someone’s peanut butter cake.
I thought well if I’m going to make it, I’m going to work on it as if it were another sheet cake favorite of mine, the Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake; a hot water cake-ish. No chocolate, add peanut butter and see where I land. I landed smoothly and deliciously then couldn’t wait to share.
So try it out for yourself, and let me know what you think. Heres to a good night’s rest tonight and wondering what other school lunch items my subconscious has locked away?
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup water
1/2 cup, rounded, creamy peanut butter (try crunchy if you like)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pound (1 full box) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Honey roasted peanuts finely chopped for topping
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and prepare a medium sized sheet pan (8”x11”) with baking spray or line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a spoon to combine evenly.
In a saucepan add the cup of butter, water, and peanut butter. Begin to heat until simmering and mix until smooth.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. To that, add the two eggs and vanilla. With a fork beat until combined.
Pour the hot simmering butter, water, and peanut butter directly into the flour mixture and mix rapidly. Be sure to scrape down all the sides and hand mix enough that there is no flour visible and the mixture is smooth.
To the batter add the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla mixture. Again, mix until thoroughly combined and you have a sweet smooth batter.
Pour the batter into your prepared sheet cake pan, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Smooth the batter out evenly to all four corners, and tap the pan on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
Place the pan in the oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until the center of the cake is fully baked.
While the cake is baking making the icing: In a large mixing bowl add the powdered sugar. With the same saucepan from earlier, add the milk, butter, and peanut butter. Gently heat until the butter, and peanut butter has melted. Mix to a creamy texture. Pour the hot mixture into your powdered sugar, and again, mix rapidly to a sweet smooth icing.
Remove the cake from the oven after baking. Pour the icing on right away and smooth out over the entire cake… nice and even.
Sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed/finely chopped honey-roasted peanuts. Eat warm or cold… it’s your call! Enjoy!