Buttermilk Cake

Buttermilk Cake. Photo © Molly Watson
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 1 8x8 cake (6 to 8 servings)
Ratings (5)

Buttermilk Cake is light yet flavorful. A delicate sponge cake made by mixing a few things in a bowl, pouring the mixture in a pan, and baking it up. So along with great flavor, it's also a snap to make. Serve it perfectly simple as it is with coffee or tea. Or dress it up in a lovely way with sweet, delicate berries alongside. Guild the lily with chocolate sauce or ice cream and the like, if you want to go big.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg (optional)
  • 2/3 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup
  • buttermilk

How to Make It

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you want to add some spice, add that to the flour mixture (but know the cake is perfectly lovely without any spice!). Set this dry mixture aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until the mixture turns much lighter in color and very fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl to bring the mixture together again and beat in the egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined, at least 30 seconds.
  1. Add half of the buttermilk and stir to combine. Add half the flour mixture and stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk and flour mixtures until everything is in the bowl making a lovely smooth, if quite thick, batter.
  2. Scrape the batter into an 8- by 8-inch baking pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with a bit of sugar for a prettier crust. Bake until golden and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  3. Let cool on a cooling rack until the cake pulls away from the edges of the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut pieces or slices and serve warm or at room temperature.

*Out of buttermilk but really want to make this simple cake? Make a fake but servicable buttermilk by adding 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar in 1/2 cup of milk and letting it sit out for 10 to 15 minutes. It won't be real buttermilk, obviously, but it will have the thickness and tang needed for this cake. Alternatively, use plain, unsweetened yogurt for a yummy yogurt cake. It will be a tad heavier, but just as delicious.