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large slice of vanilla cake on a white plate

Moist Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk cake, vanilla buttermilk cake, vanilla cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 466kcal
Author: Kara @I Scream for Buttercream
This moist vanilla buttermilk cake is a favorite. It's easy and bakes in a 13x9 inch pan, topped with a yummy glaze that soaks in making the cake super moist and tasty.
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For the cake:

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (full fat is best, but low fat will work as well)
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) (room temperature - do not microwave)

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar (dark or light brown sugar, I used light)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or grease a 13x9 inch glass pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well and set aside. In another bowl, add the buttermilk, whole eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Whisk well and set aside.
  • Cut the room temperature butter up into pieces (if not already done). Add in the butter pieces slowly to the flour mixture while you mix on medium speed. (You can use a hand mixer as well.) Once all the butter is added, mix until the flour mixture becomes crumbly and resembles sand.
  • Add in half the liquid mixture and mix on medium speed, just until incorporated. Add in the last half of the liquid mixture and mix only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just until all the ingredients are mixed well. Only mix for about 10 seconds or so. Mixing for a minute or more is too long and can cause a dense or tough cake.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
  • Cake is done when it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out with a few moist crumbs. (You do not have to wait until the toothpick comes out clean as that can over-bake your cake. Just make sure there is no raw batter on the toothpick and a few moist crumbs are fine.)
  • Once the cake is baked, set on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes, then poke holes into the cake with a skewer and cover with the warm glaze. Let the cake sit for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

For the glaze:

  • Once the cake is out of the oven, make the glaze. (You want the cake to still be warm when you pour the glaze on it, so don't let the cake cool completely.)
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low/medium heat. When the butter is completely melted, turn off the heat and immediately add in the brown sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add in 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.
  • Set the glaze aside (not in the fridge) until the cake has cooled for about 15 minutes, then poke holes in your still warm cake with skewers, then pour the warm glaze over the warm cake and let it soak in. If the glaze has cooled off a bit, you can turn the burner back on just enough to warm it back up before pouring over your cake.
  • When you pour the glaze over the warm cake, the glaze should still be warm, but not hot.
  • Let set up for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving. This will give the glaze enough time to soak into the cake well.


Make sure to watch the video for any questions on this cake is mixed.
This cake is best served warm.
Store any leftovers covered in the fridge for several days. Warm cake slices in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions about substitutions.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Can you make this into a layer cake? Well yes and no. The cake batter will bake up the same whether baked in a 13x9 inch pan or two, 8" round cake pans. However you may not want to use the glaze if you're making this into a layer cake because it will make the cake layers very very soft and may not lift out of your cake pans properly. You may want to try a buttercream recipe here: Vanilla Buttercream


Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg