The Best Buttermilk Cake Recipe 

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This buttermilk cake recipe has the most perfect flavor and fluffy texture. It’s a classic buttermilk cake and one that you will make over and over again. It’s perfectly paired with a chocolate buttercream frosting or made into a bundt cake with a dusting of powdered sugar. This is a foolproof recipe that works every time!

If you’re looking for a classic cake recipe that has the most delicious buttermilk flavor, this is it! The recipe uses oil, butter, buttermilk, and eggs to create a super moist and tender texture. The baking soda and baking powder give it a beautiful height and make it incredibly fluffy. It’s a versatile cake that is perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or simple gatherings.

The best buutermilk cake recipe with chocolate frosting and edible flowers on the top

We made this cake for a simple dinner party and everyone loved it. It’s an easy recipe and we’re confident you will love it as much as we do! 

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink. Traditionally, it’s the liquid left behind after churning butter. Now you can make your own buttermilk using milk and lemon juice. It brings a pleasant tang to baked goods while adding a little fat. Like sour cream, this acidic ingredient also helps tenderize gluten, giving the cake a softer, fluffier texture.

How to Make Buttermilk Cake

This is an easy cake to make! It uses basic ingredients that you can purchase at your local grocery store. Here is a list of the classic ingredients to make this perfect buttermilk cake:

Supplies

  • Cake Pans – Sheet pan, round pans or bundt pan. See all of our cake pan reccomendations below.
  • Electric Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Liquid Measuring Cup
  • Spatula
  • Double Broiler – If you’re making the chocolate frosting too.  
ingredients in bowls to make a buttermilk cake

Buttermilk Cake Ingredients

Full recipe and step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cake Flour – Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour and a finer, lighter texture. If you don’t have cake flour, no worries! You can make your own cake flour.

Baking Powder + Baking Soda – Both are dry leavening agents used to increase the volume and lighten the cake’s texture.

Unsalted Butter – Use good quality, pure butter when baking. Butter creates a light and tender texture, gives the cake a buttery flavor, and also helps it rise. Make sure the butter is room temperature and soft.

Granulated Sugar – White sugar sweetens the cake. If you want to use a different sweetener, check out these sugar substitutions.

Large Eggs – Eggs add structure and moisture to the cake. Use large, organic eggs when baking this recipe.

Vegetable Oil – We use a little oil in the recipe as it helps create the moistest cakes. Oil captures the gases that are released from the interaction of the baking powder and baking soda, and slows down gluten formation to keep certain baked goods tender and fluffy in texture!

Buttermilk – Use 2% reduced-fat cultured buttermilk. You can find this at your local grocery store. You might also see cultured, low-fat organic buttermilk which is even better. Buttermilk will add the tangy flavor to the cake.

Vanilla Extract – Use a good quality, pure vanilla extract. You can also use vanilla bean paste which will give it more of a vanilla flavor and make it a vanilla buttermilk cake. The best vanilla to use is Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract. 

buttermilk cake batter

Directions

Preheat and Prepare – Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the cake pans. You can use a 10 x 2 pan or two 8 x 2 round cake pans. Add parchment paper to the bottom, butter, and add a little flour for easy removal.

Sift – Using a sieve or a sifter, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. If you don’t have a way to sift, simply add the ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently whisk them together using a fork. This will incorporate air and lighten the ingredients.

Combine – In a liquid measuring cup combine the buttermilk, oil, and eggs.

Beat – In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar n medium-high speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in one egg at a time.

Alternate Dry Ingredients and Wet Ingredients – Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat until smooth and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Bake – Depending on the pan, this cake will bake for 25 – 35 minutes. The 10 x 2 will take about 25 minutes and the two rounds will take 30-35 minutes to bake.

buttermilk sheet cake

Tips for Making Buttermilk Cake

Here are our best tips for making this cake:

  • For best results, make sure the ingredients are all at room temperature.
  • Baking time will vary. Check the cake by inserting a toothpick into the center. When it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Make sure the cake cools before consuming as this allows the flavors to mix
  • Know the difference between cultured buttermilk (grocery-store variety) and traditional buttermilk.

Cake Pans

Buttermilk cake is very versatile and can be made in different pans. Here are some suggestions on what pans you can use to make this cake:

Sheet Cake Pan – Sheet cakes are cakes baked in a rectangular cake pan that ranges in size from 9x13x2 to 10×7. Any of these sizes will work.

Bundt Pans – Also known as a tube pan. This is a round pan with a hole in the middle. Some of them have designs and others are smooth. If you use this pan, make sure to butter and flour it as you can’t use parchment paper to help release the cake.

Loaf Pan – A loaf pan is a small rectangular pan, we use it to make our coconut cake and our pumpkin bread. If you use a loaf pan for this recipe you will most likely need to make two cakes. When you bake a cake in a loaf pan it’s often called pound cake. So this would be a buttermilk pound cake recipe.

Round Cake Pans – If you make to make a layer cake, then use 2 8×2 round cake pans.

chocolate frosting

Quick Chocolate Icing

This frosting is creamy, rich in flavor, and goes perfectly with this cake. It’s a quick frosting to make too.

Ingredients

Unsweetened Chocolate Bar

Unsalted Butter

Hot Coffee

Vanilla Extract

Confectioners Sugar

Directions

  • Chop the chocolate and cube the butter.
  • In a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a small saucepan, warm the chocolate and butter until it’s melted.
  • Add in the coffee and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into a bowl with the powdered sugar.
  • Using a spatula fold the mixture until it’s smooth.
a buttermilk cake with chocolate frosting

How to Store Buttermilk Cake

Storing buttermilk is pretty simple. You can store it in the fridge or freeze it.

To Store:

To store your sweet treat in the fridge, make sure you wrap it up tightly. This will preserve moisture and ensure a tender cake.

If you plan to store the cake for a long time, your best bet is to freeze it.

To Freeze:

Wrap the cake in plastic as soon as it cools. Storing the cake in the freezer will help keep the moisture content in, and it’s how professional bakers store their goods as well.

The cake will thaw pretty quickly, so that’s good news for anyone that wants to consume it out of the freezer. The frozen cake also makes a great base for icing.

cake with chocolate frosting and edible dried flowers in a sheet pan

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

If you want to make this a lemon buttermilk cake recipe, simply replace the vanilla extract with lemon extract.

Also, add in 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and make sure to top the cake with a lemon buttercream frosting, similar to the one we use on our lemon elderflower cake.

Lemon aroma pairs amazingly with buttermilk’s acidic nature, so feel free to alter this cake into a delicious lemon buttermilk cake.

slice of buttermilk cake on a plate

Buttermilk Cake Toppings

This cake goes with so many different flavors and there are several ways you can top it! Here are some of our favorite suggestions:

Frosting – Top this cake with any frosting you desire. We prefer a chocolate buttercream, but you can also add cream cheese frosting, vanilla frosting, or a whipped Swiss buttercream.

Sprinkles and Edible Flowers – We love using sprinkles for a birthday cake and edible flowers for a simple gathering. Dried edible flowers work just as well as fresh.

Fresh Fruit – If you prefer a light cake, top it with whipped cream and fresh fruit and berries.

The possibilities are endless for this cake, so feel free to get creative!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Buttermilk Do to Cake?

Buttermilk is a fermented beverage that can be substituted for white vinegar. This is because it is made up of acids. It has several cooking applications.
Buttermilk gives the cake a tender crumb due to its acidity.

Is Buttermilk Better Than Milk for Cakes?

Often, you’ll want to use buttermilk and milk in your cakes. This is because each one has its own purpose. Your best bet is to experiment with balancing both ingredients in various baking recipes.

Can You Drink Buttermilk By Itself?

You can drink buttermilk by itself. In fact, this might be one of the best ways to consume leftover buttermilk. Just grab a cup of milk and drink. It’s an excellent source of protein. The taste may resemble yogurt, and it has a thick, creamy texture.

How Long Does Buttermilk Last Once Open?

Once opened, you can expect your buttermilk to last 14 days in the fridge.
Extra buttermilk in the fridge? Just drink it! Or, bake that classic buttermilk pound cake for your dinner party.

Can I Substitute the Buttermilk for Something Else?

White vinegar and buttermilk are interchangeable in cake baking recipes because of their acidic properties. You may have to play around with the ratios, but that’s the fun of baking, right?

pretty slice of cake with frosting and en edible flower

What Can I Make With Buttermilk?

If you don’t know what to do with your leftover buttermilk, we’ve got you covered. Here are some other recipe ideas you can try:

  • Chocolate buttermilk cake
  • Buttermilk ice cream with berries
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Buttermilk pancakes

When to Serve Buttermilk Cake 

This is the perfect dessert year-round and for any celebration. Here are some ideas for when to serve this easy buttermilk cake recipe:

Brunch

Birthday Party

Carnival Party

Garden Party 

Fall Harvest Party

Baby Shower or Bridal Shower

Christmas Party

Easter Brunch

cake with chocolate frosting

What to Serve with Buttermilk Cake 

Serve this buttery cake with:

Vanilla ice cream, buttermilk ice cream, or chocolate ice cream.

Fresh berries or fresh fruit platter.

A glass of homemade lemonade.

Cucumber lemon water.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love

If you love this cake, here are more of our homemade cake recipes to try:

Our favorite Chocolate Sheet Cake

The Best Homemade Funfetti Cake

Super Moist Lavender Cake

Our Favorite Crumb Cake

Let us know what you think about this buttermilk cake recipe by leaving a comment and review below! We’d love to know your thoughts.

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The best buttermilk cake recipe with chocolate frosting and edible flowers on the top

Buttermilk Cake Recipe

This buttermilk cake recipe has the most perfect flavor and fluffy texture. It’s a classic buttermilk cake and one that you will make over and over again. It’s perfectly paired with a chocolate buttercream frosting or made into a bundt cake with a dusting of powdered sugar. This is a foolproof recipe that works every time!
4.67 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Cook Time: 30 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 444kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Buttermilk Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Chocolate Frosting (recipe

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate bar, chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Buttermilk Cake

  • Preheat and Prepare – Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the cake pans. You can use a 10 x 2 pan or two 8 x 2 round cake pans. Add parchment paper to the bottom, butter, and add a little flour for easy removal. You can also prepare the ingredients.
    ingredients in bowls to make a buttermilk cake
  • Sift – Using a sieve or a sifter, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. If you don’t have a way to sift, simply add the ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently whisk them together using a fork. This will incorporate air and lighten the ingredients.
    sifting cake flour
  • Combine – In a liquid measuring cup combine the buttermilk, oil, and eggs.
  • Beat – In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar n medium-high speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in one egg at a time
    adding sugar into butter in an electric mixer
  • Alternate Dry Ingredients and Wet Ingredients – Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts. Beat until smooth and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
    buttermilk cake batter
  • Bake – Depending on the pan, this cake will bake for 25 – 35 minutes. The 10 x 2 will take about 25 minutes and the two rounds will take 30-35 minutes to bake.
    cake batter in a sheet pan
  • Cool – Let the cake cool while you make the frosting,
    buttermilk sheet cake

Quick Chocolate Frosting

  • Chop the chocolate and cube the butter.
  • In a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a small saucepan, warm the chocolate and butter until it’s melted. 
    melting chocolate and butter
  • Add in the coffee and vanilla extract. 
    adding in coffee to chocolate mixture
  • Pour the melted chocolate into a bowl with powdered sugar. The chocolate mixture might look a little curdled, but it's okay. It will smooth out.
    making chocolate frosting with powdered sugar and melted chocolate
  • Using a spatula fold the mixture until it’s smooth. 
    smooth chocolate frosting
  • Frost the cooled cake using a spatula.
    chocolate frosting
  • Decorate with edible flowers or sprinkles.
    a buttermilk cake with chocolate frosting

Notes

Tips for Making Buttermilk Cake
  • For best results, make sure the ingredients are all at room temperature.
  • Baking time will vary. Check the cake by inserting a toothpick into the center. When it comes out clean, the cake is done
  • Know the difference between cultured buttermilk (grocery-store variety) and traditional buttermilk.
  • Use quality ingredients when baking.
How to Store
Storing buttermilk is pretty simple. You can store it in the fridge or freeze it
To store your sweet treat in the fridge, make sure you wrap it up tightly. This will preserve moisture and ensure a tender cake.
How to Freeze 
Wrap the cake in plastic as soon as it cools. Storing the cake in the freezer will help keep the moisture content in, and it’s how professional bakers store their goods as well.
The cake will thaw pretty quickly, so that’s good news for anyone that wants to consume it out of the freezer. The frozen cake also makes a great base for icing.
Recipe is adapted from Joy of Cooking 

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 543IU | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg
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homemade buttermilk cake

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3 thoughts on “The Best Buttermilk Cake Recipe ”

  1. 5 stars
    Wow – great recipe. easy to make and so delicious. My family loved it. Definitely making your. recipe again soon.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    So moist and it has the perfect texture. I made it for dessert and also enjoyed a cup with my morning coffee!

    Reply

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