This farmhouse cake is an old-fashioned, moist buttermilk cake that’s hearty and filled with apples, oatmeal, raisins and brown sugar, then covered in a rich buttermilk glaze.
It reminds you of a cake your grandma would make and set on a wooden table in an old country house. It just makes you feel like you’re home all warm and cozy.
This is a super filling cake and a recipe your whole family will love. It’s a scratch cake and it’s one of the best buttermilk cakes I’ve had.
It takes a little time, but it’s actually easy to make. The combination of the ingredients plus the oatmeal makes this cake so unique.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Let’s talk about just some of the ingredients in this buttermilk farmhouse cake. (The recipe card close to the end of this post will go into all the ingredients and amounts.)
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: These are added to give the cake some heartiness. You’ll use the regular oats here, not steel cut and not minute oats.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg This recipe calls for cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. The cinnamon is just enough to add a bit of flavor and enhance the oatmeal and the apples and raisins.
Buttermilk: Now don’t worry, your cake will NOT taste like buttermilk. Buttermilk just helps make the cake moist and gives it a good flavor.
Buttermilk will also be used to make the glaze so it’s best to use the real deal here, or the flavor and creaminess just won’t be as good.
Unsalted Butter: Butter just makes cakes so good. It gives cakes so much flavor and helps give moisture. It’s always best to use real butter, not margarine.
Brown Sugar: I love how brown sugar just helps to deepen the flavor a bit and I find it makes the cake a little heartier. You’ll use both brown sugar and granulated sugar for this cake.
Apples, Raisins and Walnuts: You definitely want to add in the fruit because that, in combination with the oats and spices, are what makes this cake so good. You can omit the walnuts if you don’t like nuts though or have allergies. (I totally get that because I’m allergic as well.)
How to make this cake and glaze:
Let’s talk about how to make this rustic farmhouse cake. (The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour a bundt pan very well.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, then set aside.
In another bowl, add the whole eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, buttermilk, softened butter, vegetable oil, packed brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix this very well with a whisk, but don’t worry if your butter clumps up a bit.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on medium just until the ingredients are well incorporated.
Make sure not to mix for a couple of minutes. That’s too long. Stop mixing once the ingredients are well combined. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps.
Add in the chopped apples, raisins and optional walnuts and mix by hand with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for approximately 60-65 minutes.
The cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted into it comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit on a wire rack, in the pan for about 40 minutes.
Next, remove the cake from the pan and it let cool completely on the rack before adding the glaze.
Make sure to let this cake sit in the pan for around 40 minutes before actually removing it or it will stick.
While the cake cools you can make the glaze. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Once it’s melted, turn the heat to low and immediately add in the brown sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir the mixture until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
Turn the heat off and add the confectioner’s sugar and stir well. If it’s clumpy, just keep stirring until most of the clumps are dissolved. The rest will dissolve as it sits for a bit or you can use a whisk to mix them away. If there are a few stray clumps, just pour it through a sifter.
Set the glaze aside (not in the fridge) to cool for about 10 minutes until it thickens and firms up a bit. Make sure to stir it occasionally as it cools down.
Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. If the glaze thickens up too much, you can reheat it a bit.
Allow the glaze to set up a bit before cutting and serving the cake.
Tips & FAQs for Making the Farmhouse Cake:
You’ll want to use the oats that say old-fashioned rolled oats. You don’t want to use the minute oats or steel-cut oats.
Make sure not to pack the flour down into the measuring cup when you’re measuring. Spoon the flour into the cup and level it off, but don’t scoop the flour with the measuring cup as that can end up adding too much flour to the batter and will make the cake dry and/or dense.
It’s best to use real buttermilk if you can get it. That will give your cake and glaze the best texture and flavor. If you absolutely can’t get it, then you can use this substitution, but please be aware that the results may be slightly different than if you’d used real buttermilk.
For every cup of buttermilk called for, add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add in milk to fill the measuring cup to 1 full cup. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using it.
This substitute may or may not work for the glaze.
It’s best to use unsalted butter as you can better control how much salt actually goes into the cake and glaze. Salted butter and unsalted butter have different water contents as well and that will make a difference.
If you can’t get unsalted butter, go ahead and use unsalted but omit any salt that the recipe calls for.
Make sure when measuring the brown sugar that you pack it down into the measuring cup. (Now, don’t do that with your flour…just do that with the brown sugar.)
You can use any apples you like, although I wouldn’t use red delicious as they seem to get a little mealy and mushy when baked. I used Honeycrisp apples for this recipe.
First, make sure the apples are peeled, and then chop them into cubes that are about half-inch in size. This doesn’t need to be exact, but make sure they aren’t chopped in large chunks or they’ll sink to the bottom of the cake.
No, but it does give the cake a good flavor and works well with the apples, cinnamon and oats. If you really don’t like raisins, then you might try cranberries instead.
Yes, you absolutely can omit the nuts.
Be careful not to mix the batter too long. Scratch cakes should not be mixed for minutes at a time, or they can become dense. Stop mixing once the ingredients are well incorporated.
Make sure that the bundt pan is very well greased and floured. This cake is super moist and chunky and will stick to the pan if it’s not greased well and floured.
For more tips on how to prepare pans, see this post: How to Get Cakes to Release from Pans
This cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
Make sure to leave the cake in the pan for around 40 minutes before trying to remove the cake. If you try to turn the cake out of the pan too soon, it will fall apart on you. This cake has lots of fruit and oats and therefore needs time to set up.
You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes the confectioner’s sugar lumps up when it’s added to the other ingredients. Just keep stirring and as it heats, most of that will dissolve.
You can also stir it with a whisk and that helps. If there are still a few lumps left, just strain the glaze through a strainer and it will be just fine.
This cake can be made ahead of time and frozen if desired. Let the baked cake cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw, place the wrapped cake on the counter at room temperature and let thaw completely, then remove the wrapping. Once defrosted, add the glaze.
This cake can be left at room temperature for about a day, but store any leftovers, well covered, in the fridge for up to 3-4 more days.
This cake is best served at room temperature or warm. To serve leftovers, cut a slice and microwave it for about 10-15 seconds, or let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
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***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Farmhouse Cake (Old Fashioned, Hearty, Buttermilk Cake)
For the cake:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut or quick oats)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups chopped and peeled apples (Honeycrisp apples were used. Chop apples small)
- 1 cup raisins
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional, make sure these are chopped small)
For the buttermilk glaze:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan very well.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add the whole eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, buttermilk, softened butter, vegetable oil, packed brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix very well with a whisk. Don't worry if the butter clumps up a bit.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on medium just until the ingredients are well incorporated. Be careful not to mix too long. Mixing for over a minute is too long and can produce a dense cake. Stop mixing once the ingredients are well combined. It's okay if there are a few small lumps.
- Add the chopped apples, raisins and optional walnuts and mix by hand with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
- Pour into the prepared bundt pan an bake for approximately 60-65 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpic inserted into the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let sit on a wire rack, in the pan for about 40 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Make sure to let this cake sit in the pan for around 40 minutes before removing it or it will stick and potentially fall apart.
For the glaze:
- Once the cake has cooled to almost room temperature, make the glaze.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- When the butter is completely melted, turn the heat to low and immediately add the brown sugar, vanilla and buttermilk.
- Stir until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
- Turn the heat off and add the confectioner's sugar and stir well. If it's clumpy, just keep stirring until most of the clumps are dissolved. The rest will dissolve as it sits for a bit or use a whisk to break up the clumps. If there are a few stray clumps, pour the mixture through a strainer.
- Set the glaze aside at room temperature (not in the fridge) to cool for about 10 minutes until it thickens and firms up a bit. Make sure to stir it occasionally as it cools down. It will crystallize a bit, but that's okay. Stirring it occasionally helps with this.
- Spoon the glaze over the cake. If the glaze thickens up too much, you can heat it for a short time in the microwave, but only for a few seconds.
- Let the glaze set and firm up on the cake for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Made this cake almost exactly as directed (see notes at the end), except I did not frost it. My husband said it was hands-down the best cake he’s ever had in his life. The whole thing was gone in a day. I think the frosting would be good, but absolutely not necessary. I did follow instructions to let it cool in the pan for 40 minutes, it was still warm for the first slice but it didn’t crumble. Minor changes – I used regular Quaker Oat (from Costco) as that’s what I had on hand. I’m baking at altitude, about 5,500 feet, so I reduced the white sugar by about 1/4 cup. I covered the cake lightly with foil for the last ten minutes or so of baking to prevent over browning. Absolutely the most delicious cake we’ve ever had and we’ll be making it again!
Ariel, what a wonderful review…thank you so much! I’m so glad you guys loved it and thank you for the high altitude adjustments…that will help others I’m sure. This cake is one of my favorites and I’m so glad to know others love it as well. 🙂
This is a delicious recipe! I tweaked it a bit, using Penzeys Baking Spice instead of cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. I used Honey Crisp apples, a mixture of yellow raisins and dried cranberries, a mixture of toasted walnuts and pecans and cut back a couple of tablespoons on the brown and white sugars, which didn’t detract from the flavor. For the frosting, I substituted 2 tablespoons of maple sugar for the brown sugar and added about 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring, which complements the cake very nicely. It’s very tasty the next day too!
Wonderful substitutions and additions! That sounds so good! So glad you liked it 🙂
Just served this to friends and everyone loved it. The flavors were perfect. Also, the cake was so moist and was great for the beginning of Fall. My kitchen smelled so good while the cake was baking.
Kathy, I’m so glad everyone liked it! Thanks for the great review. 🙂
How will this cake do to be baked as a sheet cake?
Hi Nancy, do you mean about the size of a 13×9 inch cake? If so, it might work okay. I think it would probably bake much quicker in that size pan, since it’s not as deep as a bundt pan, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on it past about 30 minutes or so. An actual sheet cake is really large and thin and I don’t think this would work for that, but it might be fine in a 13×9-inch cake pan.
all I have is quick oats so thats what I be using and would add choc chips and leave out the nuts and maybe the raisins
I haven’t tried it that way, but hopefully it will turn out great for you.
ok thanks could you chips for the raisins
Hi Doris, yes, you can use chocolate chips instead of raisins.