Peanut Butter Buttercream

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and despite all of my planning and effort to make the day special, it all fell apart. Breakfast was a disaster, his birthday cake literally crumbled while I frosted it, and not only was dinner not ready when he got home, but he caught me in the act of hanging streamers and balloons. I may or may not have childishly slammed a door and cried into my pillow.

I don’t know why I tried a new chocolate cake recipe, I already have one that I know and love. I could tell almost immediately that it was going to be a dud structurally, but still I hoped that I could salvage it with a little time in the fridge and a heavy-handed coating of peanut butter buttercream.

Peanut butter buttercream, where have you been all my life??
Peanut Butter Buttercream

Nope. No such luck, and I was left with a messy pile of cake and frosting. A delicious mess, to be sure, but not the birthday cake I was hoping for. Nobody bursts into song over, or blows out candles tucked into a plateful of crumbs.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

I debated whether or not to even tell you about this, but in end I thought you deserve to know about this peanut butter buttercream. Because it is amazing. It’s butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and creamy peanut butter, and when it all comes together magical things happen.

It’s so magical that I’ve almost forgotten that I baked a cake that completely fell apart. I better go eat the rest of it to hide the evidence.

The importance of sifting powdered sugar

In my tutorial on How to Build a Layer Cake, I share several ways to give your cake that professional look. One sure bet to give yourself away as an amateur cake baker is lumpy frosting. To avoid visible clumps of powdered sugar, simply sift the powdered sugar with a sifter or mesh strainer before adding it to your recipe.

Peanut Butter Buttercream


Peanut Butter Buttercream
A rich and creamy peanut butter frosting, perfect for icing cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
Yield: Approximately 5 cups
  • 10 ounces (295 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups (500 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • ⅔ cup (200 grams) creamy peanut butter
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. With the mixture on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Mix in the peanut butter.
  2. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge to later use.
Note: For best results, do not use a natural peanut butter as the oil can separate out. I used Jif.

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30 Responses to Peanut Butter Buttercream

  1. molly says:

    i think your story is AMAZING (and sooooo something i would do…go against what i KNOW is a good cake, to try something new & amazing)
    i definitely love that you wrote about (i can almost feel how depressed you must have been-as i have when this kind of %$#$*& happens on a big day).
    it took courage & i think you’re awesome.

  2. June g. says:

    You make a fail look beautiful:)

  3. Meghan says:

    Your cake doesn’t even look bad at all!! AND I’m sure all the effort you put in is appreciated anyway, even if things didn’t go as planned. Really though! 🙂

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks! Some of the pictures I took when I thought I could still salvage the cake and a post on it, so I shot the good angles.

  4. Oh, Annalise! Sending big hugs. Somedays are just like that. The frosting looks amazing and I’m sure the cake was just as good!

  5. Tina says:

    Oh dear, it sounded like a rotten day. Glad that it’s over. I bet the cake and frosting tasted amazing though. What a good idea, peanut butter with cream cheese; I can’t wait to try it, with a layer or raspberry jelly on a vanilla cake!

  6. I got a chuckle over the “slamming the door and crying into the pillow” part. I may or may not have done the same thing in the past. Despite the crumbly cake, I’ll bet Steve enjoyed every spoonful of that amazing buttercream!

  7. Loretta says:

    Now I feel better I’m not the only making fails for the hubby’s birthday! This happened to me in December. Thankfully he’s so easygoing and didn’t care. The frosting looks incredible!

  8. Ohhh, you poor thing! But I have to say, the cake still looks pretty dang delicious. And all in all, that’s what everyone really cares about 🙂 Thanks for sharing this, it’s nice when bloggers admit they’re human too! And for the record, I don’t think it’s possible for you to take a bad photo. Sheesh!

  9. Erin R. says:

    Oh, my goodness. I just want to start hacking into that thing with a spoon. So mouthwatering.

    I once tried out a new layer cake on my family and the entire thing literally disintegrated on the platter. Of course I was embarrassed and mad, but honestly, NOBODY CARED. We all ate it right in the middle of the table without bothering to put it on plates. I’m sorry your cake blew up, though. It’s always disappointing when something doesn’t turn out the way you thought.

    Thanks for your bravery in showing us the pictures and the frosting recipe. That photo of it all piled on top of the cake absolutely slays me. I’m definitely saving this one.

  10. kate says:

    I love you just a little bit more because of this. I love to bake and think I’m pretty good at it, but then I have moments like this and think I’m the only one who ever f**** up. Last year, I messed up D’s cake with no time to fix, and found out you can buy unfrosted cake rounds at Harmons. It’s nice to know that you of the beautiful baking makes goofs too. I bet it still tasted delicious.

  11. Kristen says:

    I don’t think it looks like an epic fail, by any means. Those are some gorgeous photos!
    That buttercream… decadent and delicious. Oh my!
    Happy birthday to your husband 🙂

  12. Oh the Birthday debacles… one year I made pumpkin goulash in a pumkin (the husband was born on Halloween!). I made it the night before, stuck it in the pumpkin, and put it all in the fridge. After work the next night I stuck the whole thing in the oven and friends were coming over for dinner. After an hour and a half in the oven the goulash in the middle was still cold as ice and so very gross. We ended up eating cake and ice cream for dinner, with company over! It was such a mess. But one of our favorite Birthday tales to relive!

  13. Gretchen says:

    Reminds me of the time I made my Mum a lemon syrup cake for her birthday it was a crumbled mess on the plate but was so delicious. I am glad you shared your story.

  14. Haley says:

    Beautiful pictures even though it fell apart! I’ve definitely had moments when cakes fell apart causing me to slump onto my kitchen floor in a crying mess. That you could pull yourself together to take lovely pictures . . . I am impressed! The frosting sounds delish! I generally freeze cakes to frost them. It usually helps!

    • Annalise says:

      I usually put mine in the fridge overnight for the same reason. But didn’t this time, though I have no idea why. Definitely contributed to the fail, the cake was just not meant to be!

  15. Christine says:

    I just made this peanutbutter buttercream. It is delicious! I am thinking maybe to put it on top of brownies … Thank you for sharing with us !!!

  16. Slice says:

    I was looking for a good, moist chocolate cake recipe and went to your link for sour cream chocolate cake. You are so right. It is the best. I made one and a half recipes and baked it in my new 2 inch deep half sheet pan. It came out perfectly for a church luncheon. If you don’t have one of these pans in your collection, consider adding one. Mine even came with a plastic snap-on cover. Standard half sheet pans are barely an inch deep and I’ve had lots of batter and fillings spill over the sides and burn on the bottom of the oven. By the way, the frosting was delicious, too. Thank you for sharing another great recipe. I’m very curious to know what the tip off was in your failed cake, that the recipe might not work?

    • Annalise says:

      There were just little clues, it didn’t rise well and seemed super crumbly. I should have chilled the cake layers before frosting them, as that usually holds a crumbly cake together. But I didn’t. Glad you liked the sour cream chocolate cake and that it worked so well as a sheet cake! I will have to try that sometime.

  17. Kelly says:

    That sour cream cake is the best cake I have ever made. Delicious and moist. I’m about to make the frosting, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t buy enough cream cheese. I guess I’ll see what happens using only 8 ounces!

  18. JAM says:

    I used the frosting recipe to make cupcakes… I put a peanut butter cup in each tin with the cupcake batter before cooking it… It turned out amazing. Peanut butter/chocolate cupcakes.

  19. Melissa says:

    This buttercream looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

  20. Randy says:

    Hi Annalise. :0)
    I was wondering which cake recipe you used? I’m about to make one that uses the exact same icing recipe with a peanut butter chocolate ganache. The blogger warned that the layers were extremely tender and I’m wondering if it is the same recipe. I have to make this cake for a birthday party tomorrow and I would be horrified if it fell apart. What do you think caused it to happen?

  21. Judith says:

    Just stopped in to tell you I found your recipe (the Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting) on Pinterest months ago and just recently tried it on a boxed mix chocolate cake. It was heavenly! Tonight I put it on brownies and oh my! I have enough leftover frosting to make another batch of brownies. It’s a good thing 🙂

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks so much for the comment Judith! So happy to hear you like the recipe, love the idea of putting it on brownies!

  22. Courtney says:

    I made this and it was amazing! I only used 8 ounces of cream cheese and it was still very good!

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