The Ultimate Butter Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

The ultimate classic butter cake recipe with buttercream frosting… a moist and fluffy cake that’s perfect for birthdays, school lunch boxes, cake stall fundraisers or morning tea. 

A butter cake on a cake plate covered in pink buttercream.

A classic butter cake recipe is a baking essential! Just like our chocolate mud cake recipe, white chocolate mud cake, basic chocolate cake and simple vanilla cupcakes, this recipe is perfect for birthdays, celebrations… or just a simple afternoon tea!

A slice of white cake with pink icing being removed from the entire cake.

Basic Butter Cake Ingredients

The ingredients that make up a traditional butter cake recipe are:

  • unsalted butter – it’s best to use unsalted butter as you can then control the amount of salt you add to the cake. However, you can use salted butter if you prefer (and omit the extra salt)
  • caster sugarotherwise known as superfine or ultra-fine sugar. This is a very fine sugar (much finer than granulated sugar) that dissolves when creamed together with the butter. 
  • pinch of salt – this adds to the overall flavour of the cake (however, please omit if you use salted butter)
  • vanilla extract 
  • eggs – I recommend using large eggs that are approximately 55-60 grams per egg
  • self-raising flour – also known as self-rising flour. If you don’t have self-raising flour, you can make your own by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to every 1 cup of plain flour and sifting together. 

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the recipe card with ingredient quantities and the method.

The ingredients for a basic butter cake recipe.

Tips For Making A Moist & Fluffy Butter Cake

The ultimate butter cake should be deliciously moist and fluffy! Here’s my top tips for baking a beautiful and light butter cake:

  • Make sure you use butter (not margarine) as butter contains more fat which keeps cakes moist when baked.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together thoroughly as this allows air to enter the ingredients. Adding as much air as possible results in a light and fluffy cake. Beat the cream and butter for approximately 5 minutes. 

Beaters mixing butter and sugar together.

  • Add the eggs slowly (one at a time) and beat thoroughly between each addition (again, this is to encourage as much air as possible to enter the mixture). 

Creamed butter and sugar with eggs in a mixing bowl.

White cake batter in a bowl.

  • To ensure a light and fluffy cake it’s important not to over-mix the mixture once the self-raising flour has been added. Turn off your stand-mixer, beaters or Thermomix and simply fold the flour gently through with a spatula. 

Flour being stirred through cake mixture.

White cake mixture in a mixing bowl.

  • When baking your cake, ensure that you start checking if it’s ready approximately 10 minutes before the recipe states (all ovens are very different so it’s best to check earlier as an overcooked cake will be dry). The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Once your cake has baked, store it in an airtight container at room temperature (storing cakes in the fridge will dry them out). 

A piece of white cake covered in pale pink buttercream on a white plate.

How To Make Buttercream Icing

If you need just one icing or frosting recipe in your baking repertoire, it’s buttercream! It’s such a simple recipe that’s perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

To make creamy buttercream, all you need is: butter, icing sugar mixture (see my tips below), milk and vanilla extract – scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and the method.

The ingredients for buttercream frosting.

Tips For Making Buttercream With Beaters Or A Stand-Mixer

Whether you’re using hand-held beaters or a stand-mixer, it couldn’t be easer to make homemade buttercream.

  • It’s important to beat the butter until it’s completely pale, soft and creamy – this will take approximately 5 minutes. Stop every minute or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  • Sift the icing sugar mixture to avoid any lumps
  • Beat through the icing sugar mixture, milk and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
  • Add 1-2 drops of food colouring if you would like your buttercream to be coloured. 

Tips For Making Buttercream In A Thermomix

It’s so easy to make buttercream in a Thermomix! Just add the ingredients and mix!

  • Mix the icing sugar on Speed 9 for 10 seconds (MC on) as this will remove any lumps.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix on Speed 4. Stop after 10 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and creamy. 
  • Add 1-2 drops of food colouring if you would like your buttercream to be coloured. 

How To Store Buttercream

Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. However, it is best consumed within 1 week. 

If your buttercream has been used to decorate a cake, the cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

Pink buttercream icing in a bowl.

Common Questions About Baking A Butter Cake

Can I use salted butter?

I recommend using unsalted butter as you can control the amount of salt in the cake. However, if you choose to use salted butter, ensure you omit the extra pinch of salt in the ingredients list. 

I don’t have self-raising flour! What else can I use?

No problem! You can make your own self-raising flour by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to every 1 cup of plain flour. 

What is icing sugar mixture? Is it different from pure icing sugar?

Icing sugar mixture has a little bit of cornflour added to it which stops it from getting lumps. Icing sugar mixture sets softer than pure icing sugar (which sets hard!). I recommend using icing sugar mixture when making buttercream as it results in a smooth, soft, creamy and spreadable frosting. 

How will I know if the cake is ready?

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Start testing the cake approximately 10 minutes before the recipe states to avoid over-cooking. 

How long can I store a butter cake for?

A butter cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days (it’s also fine to leave a butter cake frosted with buttercream at room temperature for 3 days). 

Alternatively you can freeze an un-iced butter cake for up to 2 months (wrap in plastic wrap and then cover in two layers of foil). 

Do not store butter cake in the fridge as it will dry out.

A piece of cake with pink icing on a white plate with a gold fork.

Our Most Popular Cake Recipes

If you love our traditional butter cake, then check out some of our other popular cake recipes:

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The Ultimate Butter Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

The ultimate classic butter cake recipe with buttercream frosting... the perfect cake for birthdays, school lunch box treats, cake stall fundraisers or delicious morning teas. 
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: butter cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 serves
Calories: 414kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g unsalted butter softened
  • 200 g caster sugar superfine sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g self raising flour

For the buttercream frosting

  • 185 g butter softened
  • 2 1/4 cups (300g) icing sugar mixture see notes
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop pink food colouring

Instructions

Conventional Method

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan-forced).
  • Grease and line a round 20cm cake tin with baking paper and set aside. 
  • Place the butter, caster sugar, salt and vanilla extract into a bowl. Beat together with a stand-mixer or hand-held beaters until pale and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Slowly add the eggs (one at a time) while continuing to beat through until completely combined. 
  • Sift in the self raising flour and stir with a spoon until just combined (don't over-mix).
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tested with a skewer (see notes). 
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tray for 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, beat the butter in a bowl until pale and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Slowly add the icing sugar mixture, milk, vanilla extract and food colouring and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Spread the buttercream frosting over the cooled cake and serve.
  • Keep any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 

Thermomix Method

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan-forced). Grease and line a round 20cm cake tin with baking paper and set aside. 
  • Place sugar and butter into the TM bowl and and mix for 15 seconds, Speed 5.
  • Add the eggs, salt, vanilla extract and self-raising flour and mix for 15 seconds, Speed 5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula, then mix for a further 10 seconds, Speed 5.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tested with a skewer (see notes). 
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tray for 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, place the icing sugar into the TM bowl and mix for 10 seconds on Speed 9.
  • Add the butter, milk, vanilla extract and food colouring to the bowl. Mix for 30 seconds on Speed 4.
  • Spread the buttercream frosting over the cooled cake and serve.
  • Keep any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 

Notes

RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
Unsalted butter – it’s best to use unsalted butter as you can then control the amount of salt you add to the cake. However, you can use salted butter if you prefer (and omit the extra salt)
Caster sugarotherwise known as superfine or ultra-fine sugar. This is a very fine sugar (much finer than granulated sugar) that dissolves when creamed together with the butter. 
Homemade self-raising flour - if you don’t have self-raising flour, you can make your own by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to every 1 cup of plain flour and sifting together. 
Icing sugar mixture - Icing sugar mixture has a little bit of cornflour added to it which stops it from getting lumps. Icing sugar mixture sets softer than pure icing sugar (which sets hard!). I recommend using icing sugar mixture when making buttercream as it results in a smooth, soft, creamy and spreadable frosting. 
Tips for making buttercream - beat the butter until it’s completely pale, soft and creamy – this will take approximately 5 minutes. Stop every minute or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sift the icing sugar mixture to avoid any lumps. Add 1-2 drops of food colouring if you would like your buttercream to be coloured. 
Tips for making butter cake - use butter (not margarine) as butter contains more fat which keeps cakes moist when baked. Beat the butter and sugar together thoroughly as this allows air to enter the ingredients. Beat the cream and butter for approximately 5 minutes. Beat between each addition of the eggs. Don't beat the mixture once you've added the flour - just gently fold it through with a spoon.
How to check if the cake is cooked - start checking if it’s ready approximately 10 minutes before the recipe states. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
If you find that your cake is browning too much in the oven - simply place a sheet of foil loosely over the top and continue cooking. 
Storing butter cake - A butter cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days (it’s also fine to leave a butter cake frosted with buttercream at room temperature for 3 days).  Alternatively you can freeze an un-iced butter cake for up to 2 months (wrap in plastic wrap and then cover in two layers of foil). Do not store butter cake in the fridge as it will dry out.

Nutrition

Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 661IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
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25 thoughts on “The Ultimate Butter Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting”

  1. Mon says:

    Hi Lucy. Your banana bread receipe worked perfectly. Please tell me why r u using self raising flour ?. Is it mandatory. Can i use plain flour instead?. Is butter cake and vanilla cake same???. Can this receipe work for 8 inch tin and 4 inch tin???. Planning to stack them.

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Mon, oh thank you so much!!!! The self-raising flour is what makes the recipe rise. If you use plain flour, you’ll need to add a rising agent. Yes butter cake and vanilla cake are essentially the same thing! Yes absolutely you can use different sized tins (you’ll need to adjust your cooking time accordingly based on the size of the tin you use). xx

  2. Elle says:

    5 stars
    I’ve tried the recipe and its AMAZING and simple to follow!

    1. Lucy says:

      Thank you so much!!

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