Vanilla Buttermilk Cake topped with fresh strawberries
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
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  • 1 cup – unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups – granulated sugar
  • 6 – large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups – Swans Down Cake Flour
  • 1 tablespoon – baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon – kosher salt
  • 1 cup – whole buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons – vanilla extract
  • Vanilla-Buttermilk Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: fresh raspberries, fresh mint

Vanilla-Buttermilk Frosting-

  • 1¼ cups – unsalted butter, softened
  • 2¼ pounds – confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup – whole buttermilk
  • 1¼ teaspoons  – vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon – kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (9-inch) round deep cake pans with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, and spray pans again.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, whisk together Swans Down® Cake Flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Stir one-fourth of egg whites into batter. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Vanilla-Buttermilk Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with raspberries and mint, if desired.

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

Vanilla-Buttermilk Frosting-

Make sure butter is softened at room temperature. In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sifted confectioners’ sugar and enough buttermilk to achieve a spreadable consistency. Beat in vanilla and salt.

Makes about 6 cups

  • Colleen says:

    I have only 8″ cake pans. Do I need to adjust the recipe or will it work in 8″ pans? Thank you.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Colleen, You may need to use 3 8-inch pans. Make sure to only fill the pans 2/3 of the way full. If you only have 2 pans you can make a few cupcakes with the remaining batter. Happy baking!

  • Nina says:

    With eggs priceswhat they are today, if the recipe calls for 6 eggs. Is it ok if l use 4

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Nina, We know! We feel the pain of rising price of eggs in our Kitchen as well. Eggs help to form the structure of the cake, adds flavor and also adds moisture since they are made primarily of water. Unfortunately we haven’t tested this recipe with only using 4 eggs so can not make a recommendation here. If you try it, come back and let us know how it turned out. Happy baking!

  • Jaquitta says:

    Hi, I only have salted butter , is it OK to use?

  • Lillian McClain says:

    I can remember my mom using swans cake flour to do her baking I was about 12 years old and I used to watch her as she would bake her cakes but I tell you they were delicious my mother is no longer here and I have to go over the tradition of doing the baking now in I still use the swan cake flour it’s the best in my book.

  • Shani Cobb says:

    Can you make this as a 9×13 sheet pan cake?

  • Shannon says:

    Is this sifted or unsigned flour measurements? Do you happen to have this (or any) recipe in grams? Thanks!

  • Frank Austin says:

    I made this cake tonight 12- 15- 21 and it turned out perfectly I even used you all’s chocolate ganache recipe for the frosting delicious

  • Alicia Summerlin says:

    I have a question, I only use Swans cake flour and my cakes comes out with small black spots on them. I don’t know why?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Alicia, I’ve forwarded your information to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will be reaching out. Happy Baking!

  • Justme says:

    I’ve been a baker for years and had a terrible finish. I coated the pans thoroughly but still had bad sticking. Cake was so soft it was crumbling and the bottom layer fell flat. The icing way WAY too sweet, with chucks of kosher salt. Won’t try again.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Rhonda, We are so sorry that you did not have a good experience with this recipe. I’ve forwarded your info on to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone should be reaching out

  • Gloria mclellan says:

    i’m going to bake this cake for a friends birthday

  • Lisa Trass says:

    would this go well with caramel frosting

    • Swans Down says:

      This cake has a wonderful vanilla flavor profile that would certainly pair well with a caramel frosting. Let us know if you try it.

  • Ada says:

    We love the Whipping Cream Pound Cake recipe on bottom of cake flour box. Why does the crust on top of the cake always separate and break? Ada

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ada, we love to hear from our happy consumers! The #1 reason for the crust separating and breaking is overbeating batter. Beating on low speed until just blended is a Swans Down recommendation.

  • Erica says:

    What is a cupcake recipe for the vanilla and the chocolate cake? My cupcakes keep getting stuck to the liners every time

  • Carol T Schilling says:

    For Stephanie Joseph: I have a copy of a booklet called “learn to bake…you’ll love it!” from General Foods published 1947 that has a recipe for “Swans Down White Cake” on page 59. I got the booklet on eBay. Perhaps this is the recipe you are looking for.

  • Lee says:

    What are the measurements in cups for the powdered sugar? Is it 2 1/4 pounds or cups of confectioners sugar?

  • suzanne ingram hodges says:

    i have a six sided swans flour pan what recipe will be the best for my pan

  • Tina back says:

    Can I make a 13×9” cake with the 1234 recipe?

  • Stephanie Joseph says:

    Is the recipe that my aunt made for a swans down white cake in the 40′ s on this site? I loved it.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Stephanie, we’re not sure if this is the cake your aunt made, but we love hearing about cake recipes passing down from generation to generation, and we’d love to see you find this recipe. If you’re on social media (for instance, our Facebook page), or know someone who is, maybe you can ask our community of Swans Down fans if they remember such a cake from the 1940s. We’ll be on the lookout for it, too. Happy baking!

  • Better Baker says:

    Rebecca – the ingredient list says to separate, meaning egg whites from yolks. First half of directions says to add EGG YOLKS one at a time into the butter mixture. The second half of the recipe says to beat EGG WHITES until stiff peaks form. Add in 1/4 of it to your batter and then fold in all of it. What are you reading?

  • Jenn says:

    Angela, it may have been because your butter was too cold for your frosting. Also, it could be your powdered sugar wasn’t sifted. I hope your next batch is perfect!

  • Angela says:

    Why was my icing not smooth and rather lumpy.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Angela, we agree with Jenn’s reply to your comment: Make sure the butter is softened and at room temperature, and that the confectioners sugar is sifted, and you should have a smooth, creamy frosting. Happy baking!

  • Rebecca eaker says:

    RECIPE HAS TWO SETSOF DIRECTIONS FOR EGG WHITES… one at a time OR whip first to peaks, mix in 1/4 of the whites and fold the rest in… which is it? I did it the first way recipe lists and cake fell … not sure if that’s why

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Rebecca, the egg whites and yolks will be separated. You will be adding the yolks into the butter mixture one at a time, and you will be beating the egg whites and then folding them into the batter. Hope this helps, and happy baking!

  • Lori klanke says:

    I live at 7000’ elevation my question is how much or less water and oil is needed and how much more flour and what type. What is the rule of thumb for all cakes. Thank you.
    Thank you,

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