Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe

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This Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe is so moist, fluffy, and has wonderful flavor.

We've made many buttermilk cake recipes over the years that we just love. This vanilla cake recipe is one of our favorites!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe by MyCakeSchool.com

Our popular Almond Cake and Lemon Buttermilk Cake recipes were inspired by this flavorful recipe. It works perfectly for vanilla cupcakes also. You will love this wonderful go-to vanilla cake!

Keep this versatile vanilla cake recipe in mind the next time you need a great baby shower cake, birthday cake, bridal shower cake, baby shower cake, or a delicious dessert for no occasion at all!

Ingredients for Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Here's a quick look at the ingredients for our Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Layers. Make sure to see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete recipe!

There are so many frostings that would be perfect with this vanilla cake, including the Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting used in our featured photo, as well as Chocolate Buttercream, Cream Cheese Frosting, and more!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Ingredients.

A Few Ingredient Tips

Cake Flour: We often use cake flour as its lower protein content makes for a softer, more tender cake.

Buttermilk: We recommend whole buttermilk rather than reduced fat, for added richness. Buttermilk's boost of acidity softens the strands of gluten in the cake batter, which enhances the texture of the cake.

Unsalted Butter: We use unsalted butter so that we have more control over the amount of salt in the recipe. However, if you are using salted butter, you can eliminate the additional salt that the recipe calls for.

How to Make a Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Make sure to find the full recipe for Vanilla Buttermilk Cake at the bottom of this post. Here is a quick rundown of our steps!

  • First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour three 8 inch round cake pans. We also like to line the bottoms with parchment paper circles to ensure that nothing sticks.
  • Start off by whisking together these dry ingredients: cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds so that everything is well combined.
Bowl of Dry Ingredients, with a whisk.
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
Buttermilk Mixture for Cake
  • Next, mix the softened butter until nice and smooth, then mix the sugar for 3-5 minutes until it lightens and becomes fluffy.
Butter and sugar mixture in mixing bowl with paddle attachment
  • Next, add the room temperature eggs one at a time.
Adding Eggs to Cake Batter in Stand Mixer
  • Almost done! With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. After the last addition, mix just until the batter is combined.
Cake Batter in mixing bowl with spatula.
  • Once ready, divide the vanilla buttermilk cake batter between three prepared 8 inch cake pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Then, cool the cake layers, still in the cake pans, on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Layers.
  • Make sure that the layers have cooled completely before filling and frosting with your preferred frosting recipe! We used our Classic Vanilla Buttercream.

Recipe FAQs

Yes, just as with most of our cake recipes (from lemon cake to marble cake, strawberry cake and more), these vanilla buttermilk cake layers freeze beautifully.

Even if we don't need to bake in advance, we often freeze our cake layers as we find it makes them even more moist! We do this for all of our cakes, whether scratch cake recipes, or cake mix recipes.

Cool your freshly baked cake layers (still in the pan) on the cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Then, flip them onto foil-wrapped cake boards, individually wrap the warm cake layers tightly with plastic wrap, foil, and freeze (for up to three months).

When ready to use, thaw on the countertop still wrapped, until condensation forms on the wrapping. Then unwrap and decorate!
(I often begin assembling and filling my cake layers while the layers are partially frozen. They are less fragile this way.) 

No, buttermilk doesn't change the flavor of this cake. It simply tastes like a delicious vanilla cake!

We love adding buttermilk to cakes as it adds richness and makes for a wonderful texture.

The acidity of the buttermilk softens the strands of gluten, which makes for a moist, tender cake. Many of our favorite cakes call for buttermilk! Just a few more of our favorites are Lemon Buttermilk Cake, Orange Cake, and Chocolate Buttermilk Cake!

We frosted our cake with our Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting but so many frostings would be perfect with this cake!  Other great options are: Classic Chocolate Buttercream Cream Cheese Frosting, Strawberry Buttercream Frosting, Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, and more!

Many of the cake recipes on our site call for cake flour. Cake flour has a lower protein content than all purpose flour, which leads to less gluten formation. The lower amount of gluten makes for a softer, more tender cake.

A few favorite cakes that call for cake flour are our orange cake, white chocolate cake, yellow cake, and many more!

Delicious Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe by MyCakeSchool.com

More Vanilla Cake Recipes

In addition to our gluten free version of this recipe (Gluten Free Vanilla Cake), and popular Vanilla Velvet Cake, we have more delicious vanilla & white cake recipes to share with you!  Don't miss our section of Vanilla Cake Recipes. Here are just a few favorites:

 Enjoy the Recipe

Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you enjoy this delicious vanilla cake recipe. Keep it in mind for your next special occasion. It would make a perfect birthday cake recipe, baby shower cake, and more!

In addition to our cake recipes, don't miss our huge collection of videos on cake decorating! If you prefer a more rustic (and super easy) design, check out our post on naked cakes!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake, sliced, on a glass pedestal.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe

This Vanilla Buttermilk Layer Cake is so moist and flavorful! The buttermilk in the recipe makes the crumb so tender and soft. This is a wonderful go-to vanilla cake!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 9 servingss
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Ingredients

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake Recipe

  • 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, softened. (Holds it shape but dents when pressed)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (If in a hurry, place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.)
  • 3 cups (342g) cake flour (If not using a digital scale, lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off.) See notes for substitution.
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296g) buttermilk (If you do not have buttermilk, see substitution below)
  • ¼ cup (54g) vegetable oil (We use canola oil.)
  • 1 Tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8×2 inch round pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Set aside..
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid). After the last addition, mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. Let cool 10 minutes and turn out.

Notes

Substitute for Buttermilk: No Buttermilk? Here is a substitution: To a measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Add milk to the 1 ¼ mark, stir. Wait 5 minutes and it is ready to use.
Substitution for Cake Flour: Using all purpose flour (plain in UK) to make Cake Flour: For each cup of flour in a recipe, remove 2 Tablespoons of flour and replace with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour in the UK). This recipe has 3 cups of flour so you will measure out 3 cups of all purpose flour, remove 6 Tablespoons and replace with 6 Tablespoons cornstarch, whisk to blend
Recipe makes 7 ½ cups batter
4.54 from 382 votes (381 ratings without comment)

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216 Comments

  1. Hi Ann, Thank you so much for posting this. I know it will help others who want to bake gluten free. What gluten free flour mix did you use?

  2. I love this cake! So delicious and exactly the recipe I’ve been needing!

    Do you know how many cups of batter it makes? Thank you!

    1. Hi Allie, I am sorry this question was overlooked. The Vanilla Buttermilk cake recipe makes 7 1/2 cups batter. Thank you for your nice comments on the recipe.

  3. Hi Ann- Sorry that I missed your post- So happy to hear that it worked well with the gluten free flour!

  4. Hi Melissa! I love using your cake recipes! They always come out perfectly! I have a question about sizing. Do you ever make your cakes in 10” pans? If so, how do you adjust your recipes to come out with 3 10” cakes? Thank you!

    1. Hi Leah, We never bake in 10 inch round pans. This recipe makes 7 1/2 cups batter. We have doubled recipes with no problem, but we have not tripled them. A (10x2) inch round can hold 6 cups batter, if you put only 5 cups in each pan you could just double the recipe.

  5. This cake I made on a whim wanting to use up some buttermilk. I was blown away by how good it is. It is now my go to vanilla cake recipe.

  6. I have made this cake twice and it is the best vanilla cake I have ever eaten! I would like to make it into four 8-inch layers. Can I accomplish that by just increasing the recipe by one-third? Thanks.

    1. Hi Rachel! I'm sorry that we missed your comment- that may work but we haven't tried increasing the recipe by 1/3. If you are wanting 4 layers so that you will have an extra layer of filling, you can pour the batter into two 8 inch pans instead and slice each thick layer in half to make 4.

  7. Hello,
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it day with a berry compote and chantilly cream- it was amazing.

    I'll be using this cake for my daughter's first birthday next month.

    I can't wait to make the other cake recipes on your site.

    Cheers Love,

    1. Thank you Amanda! So glad that you enjoyed the recipe. The berry compote and chantilly cream combination sounds delicious!

  8. Made this vanilla cake with three 6 inch layers with fresh whipped cream and jam layers covered with buttercream frosting. It was super delicious, great texture and loved by all.
    Thanks for the great recipe!