This moist and fluffy butter cake is rich and flavorful and topped with a luscious vanilla buttercream. It’s made with everyday simple ingredients and perfect for any occasion. A slice of butter cake with vanilla buttercream on a black plate.

What is butter cake?

A butter cake is a cake that uses butter as a main ingredient and flavor. Most are made with just flour, sugar, eggs, milk, baking soda and/or baking powder, and of course butter. Some butter cakes have a dense texture like a pound cake and some have a fluffy texture like a sponge cake.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Easy to make – Both the cake and buttercream quickly come together in just one bowl each with this easy no-fuss recipe.
  • Perfect taste and texture – The flavor is rich and buttery with a lovely vanilla scent. The texture is a perfect balance between light and dense.
  • Topped with frosting – Everything is better with frosting, including butter cake! It adds another layer of flavor, richness, sweetness, and helps keep the cake moist longer.
  • Versatile and suited for any occasion – This cake is simple enough to make as an everyday snack or tea cake yet delicious enough for a special occasion. You can also double the recipe to make it into a fancy layer cake.

A vanilla snack cake on a black plate.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter – salted or unsalted
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Milk – any kind works
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar

How to make butter cake:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Stir in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Start and end with the flour.
  4. Spread the cake batter out evenly into a greased 8″ baking pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

A picture collage of how to make butter cake.

Expert tips:

  • Butter – Use good-quality butter for the cake and buttercream for the best taste.
  • Room temperature ingredients – Make sure all your ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk are at room temperature. This will ensure a smooth and incorporated batter with minimal mixing.
  • Alternate between the flour mixture and milk – Slowly adding in the flour mixture and milk in stages will prevent shocking the creamed butter mixture. Adding in all the liquid at once will cause the mixture to separate and adding in all the flour at once will cause the batter to be too thick and likely result in overmixing.


The difference between butter cake, pound cake, yellow cake, and sponge cake:

A basic pound cake recipe uses a 1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar versus a butter cake that has similar ingredients but in different ratios. Yellow cake can be made with butter, shortening, or oil and it contains egg yolks to give it its signature yellow color. Sponge cakes are foam cakes made without leaving agents. 

Does butter cake need to be refrigerated?

If properly stored, butter cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. Any longer than that it should be refrigerated.

Can I add berries to the cake?

Yes, you can add 1-2 cups of berries or any mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts to the cake.

What butter is best?

I find a good-quality European-style butter is best. But really, any butter works.

A slice of vanilla butter cake on a black plate with a piece missing.

You might also like:

Did you make this recipe? Please kindly leave a comment with your star rating below.

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Moist Butter Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 servings
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American


This moist and fluffy butter cake is rich and flavorful and topped with a luscious vanilla buttercream. It’s made with everyday simple ingredients and perfect for any occasion.


Butter cake

  • 1/2 cup (114g) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, room temperature

Easy buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (114g) butter, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the milk. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. Finish with the remaining flour and mix until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter out evenly into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the buttercream, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl for 2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of milk and beat until smooth.
  6. Add another tablespoon of milk if needed to reach a spreadable consistency. Spread over cooled cake.


Leftover cake can be tightly covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days.

The unfrosted butter cake can be tightly double-wrapped in saran wrap or aluminum foil and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the counter. Prepare and top with the buttercream before serving.

Recipe from Sweetest Menu.