Today, I’m sharing a recipe with a big old root system behind it- Yellow Cake with Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Icing. The cake we’re going to use is just a boxed mix because, well it’s not the cake that is important here, it’s the icing – My Grandmother’s old fashioned peanut butter icing to be exact. This cake will forever me endeared to be for one reason, my great aunt Red.
Red was my great grandmother’s sister. Her given name was “Stella” but I took to calling her Red when I was just a girl due to her insisting that her hair be dyed red at all times.
Memories of her are so precious. I was so blessed to get to spent the early years of my life surrounded by these wonderful people and these years of my life are so much richer as a result. Red, Lela, Grandaddy, and Grandmama may not be physically sitting around our tables like they used to, but they remain very much an important and very special part of my life. I always get a nice little tear duct cleaning thinking about them whenever I have a bite of this cake.
For the icing, recipe ingredients are:
- shortening (I use coconut oil these days)
- peanut butter
- Exact recipe at bottom of page.
Tips for success with this recipe:
- The boiling of the icing is the most critical step. Make sure it comes to a rolling boil and then stay right there, timing it. I suggest adding one minute to be on the safe side but don’t go over this as the icing will scorch.
- You absolutely must have your cake done and ready the moment the icing is done.
- Once your icing is finished, remove it from the heat and use a wire whisk to quickly stir in peanut butter and vanilla until icing thickens a bit and starts to lose some of its shine. It should still be pourable.
- Don’t try to spread the icing once you’ve poured it, instead, pour it evenly over the cake so that no spreading is needed
- Most important tip of all: Unless you lived through the Great Depression, I strongly encourage you not to use this on anything other than a sheet cake. Only those who have the crown of wisdom that comes through age and hardship can ice a layer cake with this.
How To Make Peanut Butter Icing
In a large sauce pot, combine sugar, milk, shortening, margarine, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Once it reaches a boil, let boil for two to three minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and peanut butter. Beat until icing is smooth and starts to lose it’s shine.
Immediately pour onto cake.
Allow to cool before serving.
A nice layer of peanut butter fudge icing!
Can you see why Yellow Cake with Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Icing is such a special cake?
This is a sight to behold. Guess what? It seems like it was a gift from above, but as a precious reminder of my past and their connection to the future – this is my daughter’s favorite cake.
Red’s birthday has already passed but, Happy Belated Birthday, Red. I look forward to spending it with all of you again someday.
- Duncan Hines yellow cake mix made according to package directions and cooled
- 1- 1/2 Cups sugar
- 7 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup creamy Peanut Butter
- Prepare cake mix in a 9x13 pan as directed on package. Allow to cool.
- In a large sauce pot, combine sugar, milk, shortening, butter, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- Once it reaches a boil, let boil for two to three minutes without stirring.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and peanut butter. Beat until icing is smooth and starts to lose it's shine. Immediately pour onto cake. Allow to cool before serving.
This post was originally published in July of 2008. I updated the photos in August 2019.
Stella “Red” and Lela, 1988
My Great Aunt and Great Grandmother
You may also like these icing recipes: