My youngest son recently got married. The wedding and the reception were beautiful and the simple wedding cake inspired a recipe of my own: Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting!
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Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting topped with hydrangea on a cake plate

The Wedding and Reception:

The wedding was held in Newport Beach CA and was followed by a dreamy reception under an oak tree canopy in a friend’s backyard. Celebrate Invitations and Florals created the most beautiful floral arch and hung one hundred floating tea lights from a 400 year old oak tree creating a dream like ambiance. The joy, love and beauty were captured by Greg Emmett Baker Photography:

A bride and groom hugging and smilingA bride and groom standing under an arch with a palm tree in the backgroundA bride and groom standing arm in arm under an arch

A bride and groom kissing under an oak tree with handing candles

A grrom bending his bride back and kissing her while wedding guests hold sparklers

The Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

I love the simplicity of this triple layer cake! Because buttermilk cakes have such great body, flavor and texture I have several versions of this cake on my blog and each is just lovely. Even though this cake is made from scratch, it has few ingredients and is very easy to make. The vanilla flavor comes from my favorite vanilla paste from Madagascar.

Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting on a cake plate with a slice of cake on a small dish

The Frosting:

This is a ‘semi naked cake’ meaning the frosting is light on the sides leaving the cake somewhat exposed. To get this look I frost the first layer lightly, adding a little more frosting around the edges. Then I repeat with the second layer. Last I frost the top somewhat generously and use what is left to lightly frost the sides, scraping off extra frosting.

An aerial view of Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting set on a cake plate surrounded by flowers

The Decorations:

I am not a big cake decorator, I go for quick and easy. For this cake I literally went into the backyard, clipped a small succulent out of one of my pots and snapped a hydrangea off a neighbors plant (I asked first I swear) and then placed a small circle of parchment on top of the cake and set the foliage on it.

Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting with a slice removed set on a cake plate and topped with flowers

Make This Cake Gluten Free and Just as Good!

If you are fine eating gluten, have at it! But if you are one of my gluten free followers, I have two wonderful suggestions to make this cake gluten free but just as good: King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour is fabulous and found in most grocery stores. Jovial Gluten Free Pastry Flour is also wonderful and the grains in this flour are soaked for easy digestion!

The Recipe: Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

What you need: three 8″ non stick cake tinsvanilla paste (optional but I like it better than extract) a hand mixer or stand mixer.

Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting!
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

A beautiful, simple, triple layer cake with cream cheese frosting perfect for the family or any celebration! You will  need three non stick 8" cake tins.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy dessert recipe, holiday recipe, party recipe
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Linda Spiker
For the cake:
  • cups all-purpose flour (see my suggestions for gluten free flours above)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks) room temp plus 1 tablespoon for preparing pans
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, or baking oil of your choice
  • 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon extract
  • 6 large eggs, room temp
  • 1⅓ cup cultured buttermilk, room temp
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature and soft
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temp
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Cake Prep:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in center position
Prep pans:
  1.  Use a paper towel to wipe the bottom and sides of non stick pans with butter. Lightly coat with flour. Set aside.

The Cake:
  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
  2. Place butter, coconut oil (or other baking oil), sugar and vanilla in mixer and mix until well combined
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions
  4. Alternate adding flour mixture with buttermilk until well combined, mix for one more minute
  5. Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared pans, tap pans firmly on counter to take out any bubbles
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  7. Allow cakes to cool, gently remove cakes from pans and then frost
The Frosting:
  1. Place butter, cream cheese, vanilla paste or extract into a bowl and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated. Add buttermilk if needed.
  2. To get the "semi naked"  look, I frost the first layer lightly, adding a little more frosting around the edges of cake. Then I place the second cake layer and repeat. Last I frost the top layer somewhat generously and use what is left to lightly frost the sides, scraping off extra frosting.
  3. Top with your choice of decoration and serve



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