Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

 

So my oldest turned 9 last week.

It was rough.

Some of his birthdays are fun, some of them are exciting, some of them kind of come and go. And some of them kind of wring my heart a little. See, it seems like yesterday that we did this…

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and this…

and now we’re doing this…

 

and, in the same amount of time that he’s been alive, he’s going to be getting ready to move away from home. And it kind of kills me a little.

So I’m not going to think about that, and instead, I’m going to eat my feelings in the form of the Jones Family Birthday Cake (who am I kidding, all those feelings got eaten about 4 days ago. Now I’m cakeless and sad all over again).

I got the Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipeswhich I’m pretty sure is out of print but not impossible to find, right after my husband and I got married almost 13 years ago. And when I put it on its spine, this is where it opens up:

It’s clearly gotten a lot of love. Everyone in our whole family loves this cake, and it’s super easy, so, by default, it’s kind of become the family birthday cake.

You’re going to need butter, unsweetened cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, and buttermilk or sour cream.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13″ pan (and flour it if you like to; I usually don’t) and set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, and cocoa powder.

Over medium heat, stir the mixture frequently until it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), add the flour,

sugar,

baking soda, and salt

and whisk together to combine.

Add the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk (or sour cream)

and beat until blended. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, combine the peanut butter chips, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan

and heat, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the chips are melted and the the mixture is combined. Remove from heat, then whisk in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar until smooth (you can use an electric mixer if you’d like). Pour the frosting over the cake and smooth with a spatula, then, if desired, sprinkle with mini Reese’s Pieces.

Allow to cool before serving.

Or sticking candles in it and getting all teary in the dark while your baby blows out his birthday candles. Yes, I’m a mess.

Makes 12 servings.

 

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27 comments

  1. My son is turning 2 soon, which makes me sad so I can’t even imagine how 9 feels! He LOVES peanut butter, so maybe this should be his birthday cake. I’d like to make an 8-in cake with 2 layeres. How would you recommend doing that with this recipe?

  2. I cannot believe a post about a chocolate peanut butter cake has me in tears. Okay, I can, because my babies (boy/girl twins) just turned 9 on the 3rd. I share your feelings EXACTLY.

    Oh, the cake looks awesome BTW.

  3. Hi Kate, my daughter will turn 9 this year as well and I know how you are feeling. She is my oldest as well!! She tells me she won’t leave or that she will buy the house next door…so sweet, but that will never happen! Your son is a handsome boy! I know what we are making for dessert next weekend!! This looks fabulous and my family loves anything peanut butter! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a handsome boy! I’m not usually tempted by choco/peanut butter, but the hubby’s birthday is next week and he LOVES this! So many fun years right around the corner!

  5. Awww, Kate, I feel for you! My daughter turned 12 (TWELVE!!!) last October and I am still in shock! Your boy is so handsome, happy birthday to him!!

  6. Anything chocolate + peanut butter sounds fabulous!

    You have one handsome young man there! That is crazy to think of it as half of his nest (live-at-home) years! Time goes way too fast!

    And I love your egg holder. Is it ceramic?

  7. The Hersey’s Best Loved Recipe cook is one of my family’s favorites, too. I got my copy 12 years ago. My children have always loved to read it, too. They will go get it off the bookshelf during quiet time and drool over all pictures. It has seen a lot of love and a lot of use. So much, that the cover came off and pages started coming out. I was able to find a copy from a bookseller on Amazon that was in like new condition for just 88 cents + shipping. 🙂
    I can’t believe I have never made that cake before. I guess the name never caught my eye because we do not go to picnics very much, LOL.
    I think I will give it a try for dessert night this week. Thanks!

  8. My “baby” will be 20 next month. I just found some of his baby pictures the other day and it still freaks me out. He’s the oldest of my bunch. His littlest brother will be 10 at the end of this month and all I can think is, “where did the time go?”

    1. I was at Walmart and they carry them. They’re next to the Reese’s peanut butter chips. Not directly next to the chocolate chips so it’s probably why you haven’t seen them before! 🙂

  9. I made this tonight and it came out fantastic!! My husband was eyeing it all night long until I finally cut pieces! I was wondering though… how do you get your servings to look so clean and not messy around the edges? I baked mine in a 9×13 as the instructions said and about halfway cutting vertically down the cake the icing got really broken up and “messy” on either side. Tips?

  10. My son turned 9 last week also! I am right there with ya… I feel like he was just born, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. And I had that exact same thought as you, that he has been here for 9 years and only has another 9 in my house before he is all grown up and leaves us!!! Breaks my heart! Just have to cherish every day, even the hard ones! 🙂

  11. Just wait until its your baby making all these milestones. My youngest is only 2, but its been a fast 2 years. Every milestone, every birthday breaks my heart just a little more. Even the thought of potty training him and knowing that I’ll be done with diapers (something I always have been looking forward to) kills me because it just means I really don’t have a baby anymore. So – he may be quite old by the time I do it. 🙂 Great cake by the way! My family has chocolate and peanut butter running through their veins. I’ll have to try this one.

  12. This cake looks so yummy! I realize it is a “sheet” cake but it is possible to make this in two round pans and have the frosting drip off the sides of it?

  13. I love the recipe, but I have a question. I have made this twice and both times I end up with the flour and chocolate not mixing well together. I have little lumps of flour floating when I am done mixing it. Is the chocolate part supposed to cool before mixing with the flour and buttermilk? It cooks fine just ends up more like a brownie than cake.

  14. How did I screw this up? I just made this for my son’s 10th birthday, and the frosting got all gross and the separated. The second I quit stirring it, oil starts to forming to the edges. It’s yucky…I don’t think I can put it on a cake 🙁

  15. I’m with Virginia. . . I don’t know what I did wrong, but the frosting turned out all thick and gooey and carmely, not soft and fluffy. Any ideas what I did wrong? Mine had oil forming around the edges of the frosting as well. Any tips on how to fix this in the future would be appreciated. . . thanks so much! Love your site!

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