Buttermilk Cake

Buttermilk Cake

There are literally hundreds of versions of coffee cakes and pound cakes available for your indulgence, each rich and dense and most delicious in its own right.  Donna Zotter’s grandmother made hers with buttermilk.  Quite unsuspectingly, the flavor, though rich, was delivered on a lighter, airy platform.  It was divine.  Of course, 1 ½ sticks of butter didn’t hurt!

This cake works as a perfect base for a multitude of sauces, cream fillings, and toppings.  It is delightful with strawberries, or strawberries and blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.  Sweetened whipped cream or Lemon Curd is luscious between the cake layers, especially when blueberries or blackberries are hidden between the layers of filling!

This recipe can easily be doubled, and it freezes like a dream, so you can always create an impressive dessert.  Try cutting out individual rounds and toasting or grilling the cake pieces for an added textural and flavor dimension.  This dessert is especially delicious when served with Blueberry Lavender Syrup.

Serves 8


1 3/4 cups cake flour (self-rising)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
12 Tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round (or square) cake pans and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.  The mixture should be light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the egg mixture, alternating one to the other in about 3 additions.  Mix on low speed until well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake about 25 minutes, until the cakes spring back when pressed with a finger, or when a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.  If the cakes are browning unevenly, rotate the pans during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Remove from the oven and cool the cakes 10 minutes in the pans.  Carefully turn out the cakes onto a baking rack and allow to cool.


Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a round biscuit cutter to cut out rounds from the cakes and use in individual servings.  Or, proceed using the two cakes as layers for a layer cake.

[Chef’s Note – The cake can be prepared, wrapped tightly in cling film and refrigerated up to 1 day.]

Recipe and photo by Donna Marie Zotter