Eat Skinny: Light Peanut Butter Cake, y’all!

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Although I like to pretend I”m from the South (3 years counts, right, right?!) the y’all isn’t in the title for that reason. In fact, it’s more of a tell tale sign of what this cake was SUPPOSED to be.

Now, let me first state that this cake is effing amazing, pardon my French. I mean, how can anything with peanut butter and whole wheat flour not be? It’s delicious and looks really darn pretty too, don’t you think?

Well, the reason for the y’all so strategically thrown into my title is because this is supposed to be a Texas sheet cake, but because I am lacking in the kitchen baking equipment, it just became a regular o’l cake. Can you believe I only have 2 size square cake pans (8 x 8 and 32 x 33) and not one single round cake pan? Plus, I’m also lacking in a food processor. [Kitchen Aid or Cuisinart, send help!] Despite not being what it’s supposed to be, this “imposter” if you will, makes up for it, and more, in taste.

It’s SO moist, so fluffy and the peanut butter icing? Guys? I would spoon to mouth this any day of the week.

The reason for this cake is simple. While I was spoon deep in a jar of peanut butter last night (reduced fat, that’s something, right?) I decided I wanted to make a dessert with it. Because in my demented mind, eating a dessert made with peanut butter is far less shameful than just eating it straight from the jar. So, I did a little bit of digging on the interwebs and stumbled across this recipe for PB Texas sheet cake. I immediately saw the 2 cups of sugar and 2 sticks of butter and got excited. A new recipe to play Frankenstein with!

Cut the butter by a 4th, added 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, subbed out more than half the white sugar for brown and swapped in some whole wheat flour. I don’t know what the regular cake tastes like but I know what this cake does and it tastes like sweet, sweet heaven. Here’s hoping all the lone rangers and cowboys in Texas approve of it too.

Adapted from the Gooseberry Patch.

Light Peanut Butter Cake


Serves about 16
Prep time: >10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • about 6 – 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chopped peanuts for garnish


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 (or 15 x 13 if you have it) with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, sugars, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, bring butter, peanut butter and water to a boil, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the flour mixture, stir well. Add in applesauce, eggs, vanilla and milk, stir well.
  3. Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 – 28 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
  4. While cake cools, prepare frosting by bring butter, milk and peanut butter to a boil in the same saucepan (about 4 minutes). Gradually add in powdered sugar until mixture has thickened and is spreadable. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Once cake has completely cooled, frost with frosting and garnish with chopped peanuts.

This is the perfect cake for Mother’s Day too, especially if your mom is a peanut butter freak! 

Nutritional information per slice: 

Calories: 255 
Fat:  9.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 31.3 grams
Fiber: 5.5 grams
Protein: 4.75 grams
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 6

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  1. Posted by healthyfoodietravels on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    Ooooh! :) That looks amazing! 
  2. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    You are killing me with this. I want the whole stinking thing!! 
  3. Posted by amy donovan on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    this sounds great! i'm such a peanut butter lover so when i saw you post this on Facebook, i literally stopped what i was doing to come over + check this out. um, NOM!
  4. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    This looks great, and I love that it's lightened. I can eat more!
  5. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    I adore your Skinny Posts. I want to make a pinterest board for just those
  6. Posted by poolb on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    use regular peanut butter. peanut fat is good for your heart. reduce fat removes that good peanut fat and uses instead a reduced fat oil thing that is not good for you.
  7. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    You stole my heart with this one - I absolutely love peanut butter but can you believe I have never tried peanut butter cake?  I must ASAP!  Lite or not, I want a slice of this badboy!
  8. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    Peanut butter in the cake and in the frosting?  Ooh...I'm going to need more than one slice. :)
  9. Posted by Maggie G. on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    This looks amazing! Peanut butter desserts are my favorite, but they're always soooooo high calorie. This looks like a delicious alternative! 
  10. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    What a lovely light recipe, Claire! This cake looks so delicious and if it's light, well, it probably wouldn't last long in this house. Thanks for sharing!
  11. Posted by Macaroni and Cheesecake on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    Oh I am so excited to try this!!! It sounds fabulous and I love that you lightened it up!!
  12. Posted by Kelly on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    Umm get into my mouth NOW!!!  Delish!
  13. Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
    Hahaha I had a boyfriend in high school that thought I was NUTS for eating pb straight from the jar. I thought he was just nuts. Guess that's why he's an ex.......

    Moving on. Love this. Also, girl, get yourself a food processor! I got one on the cheap at Target and it was probably one of the best purchases I've ever made. That and my cheap slow cooker. (I'll try for expensive ones when I get married, haha)
  14. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
     I am a pb freak so I am totally in love with this cake of yours!!
  15. Posted by Vicki @ WITK on
    Thursday, May 10th, 2012
    This sounds absolutely delicious!  I'm a huge PB fan and would probably eat the whole pan.  And 3 years totally makes you a southerner! 
  16. Posted by Jesica Edisanto on
    Thursday, May 10th, 2012
    This just looks crazy awesomeeee~
  17. Posted by Katie on
    Friday, May 11th, 2012
    I love that the peanut butter is somewhat "restrained" in this recipe. I can't handle ones that call for 2+ cups of PB. That's ridiculous!
  18. Sunday, May 13th, 2012
    This looks to die for! And it's light? Then I'm definitely having this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner :)
  19. Posted by yeni on
    Monday, May 14th, 2012
    Can I replaced the WW flour with whole grain pastry flour?
    • Posted by admin on
      Monday, May 14th, 2012
  20. Posted by Acepooh 3 on
    Monday, May 14th, 2012
    Just made this cake and it is AWESOME!!! Yummy just doesn't give it justice :-)
  21. Posted by Peggy Garbe on
    Friday, May 25th, 2012
    I love texas sheet cakes - but I usually only see them in chocolate.  But peanut butter - hell yes!  I don't think I'd want it any other way =)
  22. Posted by Ziviniah on
    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
    This one is fabulous! Just made it for the second time :)
  23. Posted by Sandi on
    Sunday, August 19th, 2012
    May I ask how many points plus would be in just the frosting? I need to have this on a chocolate cake weight watchers recipe I found.
  24. Posted by Chloe Fernandes on
    Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
    The nutritional information you have given is per slice. How many slices does this cake make?
  25. Posted by Tracy on
    Sunday, May 12th, 2013
    We made this for a friend's birthday last night - it was delicious! I made it in 2 round pans and poured the icing on. We decorated with reese's cups cut into half moons in a ring (not too close to the edge, because they wanted to slide off). Crushed peanuts and leftover resse's cups in the middle. So good! So rich (without being overly rich). The birthday boy loved it - thanks so much for the recipe!
  26. Posted by Jenny on
    Thursday, January 26th, 2017
    Thank you! My husband has dietary restrictions but loves peanut butter - this will be perfect for his birthday!