This classic Southern Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake is a summer tradition. Its rich, moist, buttery with the most tender crumb thanks to addition of tangy buttermilk. This elegant summertime staple will surely be the star of the show.
I don’t know about any one else, but pound cakes are my love language. There’s something magical about butter, sugar, flour, and eggs coming together to create a rich, buttery, decadent slice of heaven. Add a little buttermilk and you really have something special. This classic vanilla buttermilk pound cake is a Southern delicacy. Not a summer would go by without this cake gracing my family’s table. Often served with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream because no other flavor will do. To really understand the beauty of this cake, one has to look at the wonder that is buttermilk.
What is buttermilk
Firstly, buttermilk is and always will be a staple in the Southern kitchen. This rich, tangy, thick liquid does it all!! Its versatility allows it to not only be used in sweet and savory dishes, but it also serves as a refreshing beverage. Traditionally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter from cultured cream. The liquid was left to sit for a period of time to allow the cream and milk to separate. The result? the formation of cultures that develop naturally when cream is left at room temperature for a long period of time. Cultures allowed the buttermilk to be used for a longer period of time than milk.
Today, buttermilk is no longer the by-product of cultured cream. Instead, cultures are added to fresh pasteurized milk. Although the method of making buttermilk has changed, you can still rely on thick, creamy goodness that not only gives you the most tender cake, but also, has a multitude of benefits!!
- Lasts long in the fridge, even after the best by date!!
- Its good for you!! Probiotics and active cultures help improve gut health
- Helps leaven baked goods
- It’s packed with protein
Ingredients for Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake
You only need nine ingredients!!
- Butter – To give you that richness you know and love
- Granulated sugar – Granulated sugar will help to sweeten your cake to perfection and also add moisture
- Eggs – You only need four, make sure they are at room temperature
- Vanilla extract – To provide that rich, classic vanilla flavor. I mean you can’t have a cake without pure vanilla extract!!
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk is the star of this cake. Not only does it add moisture to ensure a tender crumb, but it also provides the most luxurious texture. I recommend whole buttermilk for this recipe
- Flour – Make sure you sift all your dry ingredients together. You want to make sure you distribute all your dry ingredients and get rid of any of those clumps
- Baking powder and baking soda – We use both baking powder and baking soda to help leaven this cake and ensure a good rise!!
- Salt – We use salt to balance out the sweetness
Tips for making the BEST pound cake
I feel like I can wax poetic all day long about buttermilk but now its time to get down to what you’ve all been waiting for, the cake. We have already established that buttermilk will help give you the most tender crumb. But there are other factors that need to be followed to ensure you get that perfect slice every time.
- Always make sure you start with room temperature ingredients!! This is the number one rule in baking period!!
- Make sure you cream your butter and sugar for the appropriate amount of time. This allows air bubbles to be incorporated into the mixture which will help leaven your batter. Your butter should increase in volume and become pale.
- Make sure you add your eggs one at a time and beat until they are incorporated.
- When adding flour, mix only until combined. Meaning stop when you no longer see white streaks!! You don’t want to over mix your batter.
- After incorporating the last batch of flour, I like to take a large spatula and do at least 5 strokes by hand to make sure everything is incorporated. You don’t want to see flour at the bottom of your mixing bowl!!
- Generously grease your pan. You want your cake to slide out smoothly and not stick to the pan. I love this Nordic Ware Heavyweight Angel Food Cake Pan
- After pouring your batter into your pan, drop it a few inches from the kitchen counter to get rid of any air bubbles and to distribute your batter evenly.
- Only allow your cake to rest in the tube pan for 10 minutes. You don’t want it sticking to the pan. I mean I would eat it but still, you want that beautiful finish so you can show it off!!
How to serve Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake
First of all, there’s no wrong way to dress up this cake. Berries with whipped cream are always a good idea. My favorite will always and forever be ice cream. There’s nothing better than slightly melted ice cream and a huge piece of cake to soak it up!! Or you can always go old school and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a glaze. Either way you choose I guarantee it will be good!!
How to store
This cake is its best at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 5 days. Make sure to store in a cool location. Honestly, I don’t think it will last that long but if it does, you can always freeze it!! Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap then foil. Place in a freezer friendly bag for up to three months. Make sure to defrost before eating.
Summer is fleeting. So make this cake. Make it for yourself, make it for those you love!!
Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake
- Stand Mixer
- 1 Cup unsalted butter, softened 2 sticks
- 2 Cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs large
- 1 Cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Cups sifted all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
To make the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 10-inch tube pan with baking spray with flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream softened butter and granulated sugar at medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy, stopping to scape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition
- Add vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift again
- Add flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Be sure not to over mix!! Pour batter into prepared greased 10-inch tube pan.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Or until cake tester comes out clean and cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert and remove from pan. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar or glaze if desired.