Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

I spend a lot of time thinking about how cooking and baking has evolved over the years. (I know that is a weird thing to ponder)

Would my Grandma approve of this generation of convenience cooking? She had 5 kids, of course she would take advantage of quick and easy recipes. So long as it still tasted good.

I’m positive my Grandma would still make her cakes from scratch. Does boxed cake mix taste good? Sure it does. But, do you know what tastes better?… This Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch.

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

I consciously kept this cake plain. First, I wanted the vanilla flavor to shine. Second, this cake can be enjoyed as is. Or dress it up however you want. Top with fresh fruit, edible flowers or sprinkles. This cake is the perfect starting point for your unique creation.

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

I wanted to highlight Rodelle Reserve Vanilla in a classic recipe for the modern day. Rodelle Reserve uses the best in historical techniques and modern technology to make the best vanilla available with the purest of ingredients and a vintage feel.

Sometimes it is worth a little extra time and effort to get the best. Rodelle Reserve was aged for 6 months in French Oak barrels to enrich the vanilla flavors and soften the harsher alcohol flavor that all extracts inherently have.

That is how my Grandma used to bake, with quality ingredients and lots of love. (of course)

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

This cake is timeless but will not take you all day to make!

Get your bottle of Rodelle Reserve now! Only 1600 bottle are available!

The imported Italian bottles were screen printed, and each bottle contains a gourmet Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean. No one bottle will ever be the same!


Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

So this one’s for Grandma. I think she would approve.

Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!

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Bake a cake just like Grandma used to with this Vintage Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch. A delicate layer cake topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting!
Buttermilk Vanilla Cake Recipe From Scratch
Author: WonkyWonderful
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Unbleached Cake Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1ΒΌ Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Rodelle Reserve Vanilla
  • 1Β½ Cups Unsalted Butter - softened
  • 6 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Rodelle Reserve Vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons Buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 375Β°F
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet while alternately adding buttermilk.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. Divide batter between 2 (8") round cake pans that have been generously greased with butter or shortening.
  7. Bake 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer cakes to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Scrape the sides in between each addition. Mix for 30 seconds between each sugar addition.
  3. Add vanilla and buttermilk.
  4. Mix on medium/high speed for 4-5 minutes. Frosting will be light and creamy.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting your cake. Whip once more before frosting cake.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Eet Smakelijk

Rodelle Reserve

I am proud to be a brand ambassador partner with Rodelle. I receive free product as part of my brand ambassadorship. All opinions are 100% genuine.


  1. margaret says:

    Is there an “affordable” version of this vanilla?

  2. Samyuktha says:

    Hi Nicole,

    This cake looks really great. I am a vegetarian. So can’t use eggs for cake. Can you suggest any other ingredient as a replacement for eggs.

  3. Maureen Duncan says:

    This is a perfect cake for me to make for my sons 4 year old birthday party! He wants a white cake with white frosting and strawberries on top. I can’t wait!

  4. Shanellie says:

    So simple! What is the shelf life of this cake recipe?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I would refrigerate the cake and eat it within 3-4 days. It probably will not go bad at 4 days but it will get stale. You could always try freezing pieces.

  5. Archana says:

    Hi can I use plain flour instead of cake flour?Pls suggest

  6. Kaitlyn Thibodeau says:

    I only have 2 9″ cake pans…. Do you know what I can do with the recipe to accommodate this?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Kaitlyn! The 9″ pans are just slightly larger than the pans I used. I would probably just follow the recipe, use the 9″ pans and watch closely during the last 10 minutes of baking. The cake layers will be a little thinner and the cooking time may have to be adjusted slightly. Enjoy!

  7. Dis cake was da bomb yo! dough wasn’t 2 fluffy when me and my bros put it in too pans, but they ate that sh*t like it was a plate of dumplings on Chinese New Year! Thanks fo dat recepie yo!

  8. Wow this cake was really good! I look forward to making it in the future!?

  9. Hi, will this recipe make a 9″x13″ cake ok? I want to use this as a base for a tres leche. Thank you!


    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Nikky! I have only made this as a layer cake. But I imagine it will work for a 9×13. The baking time may vary so watch closely.

  10. I just made this cake for my grandparent’s birthday party tomorrow, I’m hoping everyone loves it! I’ll post feedback after the party. Thanks!

  11. That looks delicious! It would not be safe in my home if I made it! haha!

  12. Clarisa says:

    Hi Nicole, can I use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste instead of the Rodelle Reserve Vanilla:(..? I would LOVE to make this cake for my son’s birthday in a couple and will not receive this in time to make the cake if I order online…Thanks

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Clarisa. Yes, you can absolutely use Vanilla Paste (my favorite ingredient!) or regular vanilla extract. Enjoy!

  13. Clarisa says:

    **Would LOVE to make in a few days I meant to say..lol Or could I use instead regular vanilla extract..??

  14. Hi I made your cake and we both loved it. but I didn’t have cake flour so I googled and used reg all purpose flour and cornstarch. I also just used regular vanilla extract. The cake is moist and vanilla tasting. I had icing that I had in the freezer so that is what I used. My cake layers were only about 1 inch tall so not sure if that is correct or not. I will be making this again over Easter and will use cake flour. I love baking with buttermilk..Just make everything better. Thank you for a great easy cake to make. Andi thewednesdaybaker.blogspot.com

    • Nicole Harris says:

      That is a great tip about the cake flour. Thanks for sharing! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this cake πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Nicole, this looks gorgeous and I will certainly be giving this one a try πŸ™‚

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Thanks Marie! This is definitely a favorite of mine … hopefully yours too πŸ™‚

  16. Michelle says:

    I would like to make this in a sheet pan with half being chocolate and half this white cake. Do you have any idea how I can figure the baking time? I have only done rounds previously and am not sure how to compensate.

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I have only made this specific recipe as a round cake. I have made sheet cakes and I usually bake them at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Let me know if you give it a try and time/temp you cook it at. Thanks!

  17. Alicia says:

    This cake is amazing!! I made it in 6″ rounds and had to adjust the bake time to about 35 minutes. Turned out perfect! Great recipe, thank you!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment about your experience and changes to the recipe. That really helps out others in the future. I’m also so glad you loved it!

  18. Kelly says:

    My cakes did not rise AT ALL! I followed the recipe to a T, so I don’t know where I could have gone wrong. Any ideas??

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Oh No! Baking fails are the worst! If you followed the instructing to a T, the only possibility I can think of is the baking powder. Baking powder can lose it’s effectiveness over time and it needs to be store in a cool dark place. There is a way to test your baking powder: Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 1/2 tsp baking powder. It should bubble and froth up immediately. I hope this helps πŸ™‚

  19. Tracy says:

    Hi I just made this cake and it was amazing. I used vanilla bean paste. Thank you for sharing

  20. lisa says:

    have you ever had a problem with the density from not using any baking soda? I’m looking to try a new vanilla cake recipe also my vanilla cake is coming out brownish can this be caused by using farm fresh eggs?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Lisa. No, I haven’t heard of ant density issues. In fact this cake always turns out super light for me. The eggs could be the culprit. They may be larger than the store eggs. I know that if a cake batter has too many eggs it does cause a density issue and possible the color issue as well.

  21. Any recommendations for using this recipe for making cupcakes or should I be fine to just use as it?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I have not used this recipe for cupcakes and I do not see that any of the commenters have either. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Let me know if you give it a try and if it does work for cupcakes. Thanks!

  22. Barbara says:

    Hi! My name is Barbara from the Bronx (like J. Lo) and I found your recipe through Pinterest. I made your recipe yesterday and I wanted to mention that I did find, like some other commenters, that the cake is not a tall rising cake. Also, you threw me off with the sea salt because I had no idea what kind of sea salt were you referring to. Was it the course kind or fine sea salt kind? Did it matter which one? It came out well in the end with my course sea salt. The frosting was very good and my toddler daughter wanted to eat it by the spoonful. Wonderful recipe. It is a keeper in my book.

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Thanks Barbara! And yes, I need to start using Kosher Salt in my recipes. I think my affinity for sea salt throws people off. Glad you enjoyed πŸ˜€

  23. Is it ok to make it with plain all purpose flour?

  24. Well I tried the recipe this morning and it did not turn out well. I followed the directions and added everything correctly but the cake did not rise at all.

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Lyn. While the cake layers are not supposed to be giant they should have risen for you. The cake flour and baking powder should definitely get a rise. I know that sometimes if my baking powder gets older it affects the rise. That could be a possibility.

  25. Lori says:

    Will this cake hold up to being covered in fondant or is it too light & fluffy?L

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I am not sure. I don’t really have a lot of experience with fondant. This cake is quite delicate so I would guess No.

  26. sabrina says:

    Absolutely a winner! Delicate and fluffy and so damn irresistible by all who tried it!
    Thank You

  27. Elizabeth Anne says:

    Is this super moist? Because I only like cake that is super moist, not dry and cakey. If not, I’ll pass on making it.
    Elizabeth Anne

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I would not describe this cake as super moist. Although it is not dry either. It is a delicate cakey texture.

  28. Marie says:

    While a lot of my family and friends define themselves as “chocoholics,,” I am definitely a “vanillaholic.” That said, I made this cake recently and it is perfect for me. Even my chocoholic friends liked it. I used kosher salt instead of sea salt and regular vanilla extract (adding about 1/2 tsp. extra.) It was .as good as you reported it to be! We were six people and there was NONE LEFT at the end of the evening!!! I am going to make it again and freeze slices just for me!!

    PS—This frosting recipe is perfect for this cake! I can’t imagine this cake with any other.

  29. ShirleyBerry says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I baked this last nite but when I cut it today I find the cake was dense. Not like yours fluffy. My frosting was gritty too. However, the taste was good though. I am only sad because of the texture. Do not know where did I go wrong. Could it be I used the mixer to mix the flour ? I did not over mix and was on low. Or am I suppose to gold using just spatula ?
    Wanted to show you the pictures but not able to attach here though.

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Oh no, Shirley. A density issue could be a few possible issues. Older baking powder can affect the rise and texture, using cake flour creates a lighter texture and if perhaps you used xlrg eggs that could create a more dense texture. Using a mixer shouldn’t be an issue as long as it is not overly mixed.

  30. Hi! Love this recipe!!! Does the cake need to be refrigerated? I made the cake this AM for tonight and was just curious… I understand it should be if you have leftovers after the first day but was curious about same day. Thank you for sharing this DELICIOUS, easy-to-follow recipe!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      This cake should deb fine left out for the day as long as your house isn’t super hot. You wouldn’t want the frosting to start dripping off the cake! Enjoy πŸ˜€

  31. I made this as a sheet cake and it was delicious! My daughter wants me to make it for school but as cupcakes. I’m worried that it is not dense enough to hold up as cupcake. I did use xlarge eggs and may do that again for cupcakes. Anyone else try it as cupcakes?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      So glad to hear it, Anne. I have not tried this recipe for cupcakes and do not see any commenters that have either. This cake is quite delicate so I’m not sure how well it will do for cupcakes. Let me know if you give it a try.

  32. How come your the buttercream on your photos are so White? When I make the buttercream they turn out light yellow colour

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hmmm, as it only has 4 ingredients perhaps the butter I used is lighter than your preferred brand. Butter can vary in color depending on brand. Also, if you beat the butter a little longer it can lighten up a bit πŸ™‚

    • Beat the butter like hell. 5, 6, 8 minutes. Butter doesn’t over whip although if you live in a hot place the friction from the mixer can melt it, which is no problem, just stick it in the ref for 15 minutes, if you feel that its too close to room temp. then continue whipping after it gets a little cold. (I always beat my butter cold)

  33. Elizabeth says:

    Great Recipe!!! Made a Gluten Free Version wOrange Flavoring- layers were light fluffy and Great Taste…. Great Find Thank You!!!

  34. Angela braybrook says:

    I have this cake in the oven now but was wondering if I can freeze cakes for three days and then frost. Will they keep OK in the freezer if I triple wrap?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Sorry I missed your comment. I would think that the cake would freeze fine although I have not tried. Let me know if you gave it a try. Thanks!

  35. Peggy Murphy says:

    I’m planning on making this recipe for Thanksgiving day (after turkey dinner):). It looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it, sent my husband out for cake flour. Our entire family enjoys sweets and desserts!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I hope everyone enjoys! This is one of my most popular dessert recipes because it is simple and delicious. Happy Thanksgiving!

  36. Kasonya says:

    I baked this cake for my very picky daughter’s 20th birthday. She didn’t really want a cake, but was sooo glad that I baked this cake for her after she tasted it! The entire family said it was the best bday cake I’ve ever baked. (Thanks Nicole!) It was so moist, tender, & fluffy. The buttermilk gave it a nice contrast to the perfectly balanced sweetness. The cake recipe is definitely professional baker’s quality!!!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      So happy to hear that you all enjoyed this cake! I adapted this recipe from a vintage cake recipe and those ladies sure did know how to make a simple yet classic cake back in the day. πŸ™‚

  37. Mildred L Adams says:

    Made this cake for my grandbabies and they loved it thank you very much

  38. Regina Worth says:

    Have you ever double the recipe? I have to make this for a crowd and was thinking of doubling and using 3 – 9 inch pans instead. I know they would take longer to bake, buy I just wanted a larger cake.

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I have not doubled the recipe. Let me know if you decide to try and how it turns out. Happy New Year!

      • Regina Worth says:

        First, I made your cake and did not double it, the reason being that I was asked to also bake a marble cake. Two cakes would be enough for the crowd. So instead of doubling your cake I made it as is. It is delicious, moist, and so favorable. It will now be my go-to vanilla cake.

        Because of the love of lemon in my family, I made a lemon filling. I cut the cake to get four layers and filled it with just a “schmear” of filling. Then I made a cream cheese frosting (another favorite) that was lemon flavored. It was a hit. The cake held its own and I can see that it can stand up to any kind of frosting or filling. Thank you! I have been searching for years for a vanilla cake that wasn’t so dry that you needed to have coffee with it just to get it down. Just perfect.

        Happy New Year to you too!

        • Nicole Harris says:

          Oh, that all sounds amazing! I love all the different ways you have made this cake.

  39. Made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday and it was a big hit so thank you!! I did have a terrible frosting fail though. I thought I followed the directions but I definitely went wrong somewhere haha. It was super thick, stiff and wouldn’t stick to the cake! I had to run to the store last minute to buy frosting! Any tips for making the perfect frosting??

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Hi Jess! I actually just made this frosting for my daughters birthday cake. You do have to whip the heck out of it to get it light and fluffy. It does start out thick and stiff. If you ever make this again I would suggest just whipping it longer and you can also add milk or cream by the teaspoon to thin the frosting a bit. πŸ™‚

  40. Hi there,
    can I make this in a square pan? I will not able to transport a round cake- thanks so much!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Sorry for my delayed response, Ami. I have never made this cake in a square pan. But I’m sure it would be fine. Cooking time may be a bit different is all.

  41. I am not a good baker. I can make sturdy breads, pound cakes, nut flour dense cakes, but not fine cake flour cakes.
    I made this one for St. Valentine’s Day, and it turned out. Put fresh raspberries atop my heart shaped version (yes, that did change the baking time a bit..lol). Awesome taste, great recipe, one even I could execute decently.

    Thank you!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Oh, that sounds gorgeous! I’m so happy to hear that this cake worked out for you. Sounds like you are a good baker to me πŸ™‚

  42. Jean Basua says:

    Loved the cake BUT, too salty with sea salt. Cut the salt in half and it’s perfect. The icing was very good!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Awesome! Thanks for the tip for those that may want a little less salt. I like my salt πŸ™‚

  43. Stephanie says:

    Stumbled upon this recipe…I’ve not had luck with vanilla cakes from my standard bakers/sites, and buttermilk is one of my baking weaknesses. So glad I found it! Great taste and texture and easy enough that my 4 year old can help.

    Fun variant: one time making it, at the end, I added an ounce of freeze dried strawberries that I had run through the food predecessor. Best strawberry cake I’ve had in a long time! Made it into tiny cupcakes and my husband’s co-workers raved.

  44. Taylor Turner says:

    Can I cover this cake in fondant with 2 tiers ?

    And do you have to use that kind of vanilla extract ?

    • Nicole Harris says:

      I have never used fondant so I can’t say for sure. I’m more of a slap cakes together and frost it messy type of gal πŸ™‚

  45. LINDA says:


  46. Kaitlyn says:

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe! About how tall would you guess your layers were? I can’t decide if mine didn’t rise enough or if I’m overthinking it!


  47. Tammy says:

    I baked this cake lastnight and mine did not rise either. My baking powder was active. I’m wondering if were using buttermilk in this recipe if we should add a tsp of baking soda to help the rising process. My cake layers were only one inch tall. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try this recipe again!

    • Nicole Harris says:

      Let me know if you try adding a little baking soda. Perhaps that will help those that are having issues with the rise. Thanks for your feedback!

  48. Mary Allison says:

    Well, I haven’t event purchased a bottle of wine that expensive. It’s $46 on Amazon. I think I will make this cake with vanilla paste and double it up. I have always thought buttermilk is the key to very moist cakes. I will make it this weekend and let you know.

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